Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Whither the UN?

It’s been about a week and a half since the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, and the noble UN’s massive relief effort is nowhere to be found, as noted by Mark Steyn and the Diplomad. (Whoever the Diplomad is, he should be getting some kind of an award for on-the-ground reporting of the real facts of the matter; fisking the ridiculous UN press releases is easy enough, but having eye witnesses to the UN’s colossal failure is invaluable.) Oh sure, they’re out there issuing reports by the truckload, flying over areas in borroed airplanes and nodding grimly at things and assessing. I guess someone has to be out there to confirm that: “Yep, it’s pretty bad down there. Check the box next to ‘very bad conditions’ and fly me home.”

But America, Australia, Israel, Singapore, and Japan took the initiative and immediately deployed to the region. They were out there, saving lives, while the UN held committees to decide which bureaucrats to send to 5-star hotels to haggle over catering services. By the time the UN got one of their vaunted ‘assessment teams’ on site, the US had scrambled entire naval groups to deliver food, water, and medicine to remote villages the UN will never even hear of. Tsunami victims everywhere should thank whatever god they pray to that the USA is the wealthy world superpower, and not the bureaucratic disaster headed by Kofi Anan.

So the UN has proven it can’t deal with dictators and terrorism; it can’t stop genocide or massive human rights violations; and now it can’t materially help victims of a trans-national catastrophe. They’re 0 for 3 in the past 4 years—quite a short time to show you’re a complete failure by your own chartered standards. In the near future, after the tsunami crisis has passed, the obvious question must be asked: why does the world still put up with the UN?


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