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June 08, 2006

Speaking Truth to (super)Power
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Given John Bolton's purple-faced comments about Malloch Brown's podium rumpus at the Power and Superpower conference (see Suzanne's post below) you'd almost think that Malloch Brown said something really offensive--like the organization was so worthless that it could  lose 10 stories and nobody would notice! 

Bolton's threatening response are the words of a bully. He's like those kids in junior high who would steal your lunch money--and still beat you up. At least where I went to junior high (in Farmington, New Mexico) the shocking behavior got old, the fear got tiresome and underneath the smiles and cafeteria banter, everyone loathed the bullies, suspected every motive and tried hard not to be assigned to their homework team.

Brown was just pointing out the obvious political angle (something that very few of the SPI conference speakers did, unfortunately) That our self-centeredness over the past five years has cost us lots of political capital with our friends and handed us years of damage control with our challengers.  It appears that we not only need better intelligence from our national security agencies, we need more emotional intelligence from our political appointees.  Re-cap on Emotional Intelligence: Relationships are vital for life achievement. Understanding and relating well with others is often more important than run of the mill smarts because self-awareness and the ability to build lasting meaningful relationships are fundamental keys to success.  All the public diplomacy gimmicks and flackery in the world will never overcome this basic fact. 

The administration's squandered political capital is splattered all over the place these days.

This is a problem only indirectly acknowledge by administration officials (like Karen Hughes having a revelation at the Council on Foreign Relations that our policies must match our rhetoric)   At the conference, Michele Flournoy made a great point on the Use of Force panel:  how this administration has taken the long-standing right of pre-emptive self defense (in the face of an imminent danger) and twisted it so that force is acceptable as prevention in the face of a gathering threat. If Iraq is Exhibit A of this policy, you'd think that heavy revisions are in order. Not so.

Here are four relatively progressive initiatives  taken by our government over the past year that may well be squandered because this bully mandate drowns out the kind of cooperation (like bipartisan support and allies) that you need to actually make progress.

Department of Defense Directive 3000.05 Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction, National Security Presidential Directive appointing the State Department  as lead agency for Stability Operations, the portions of the Quadrennial Defense Review that give execution plans on Building Partnership Capacity, Irregular Warfare and Stategic Communications, Transformational Diplomacy within State and the Agency for Intl Development (AID)

Maybe the new Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who seems to have lots of emotional intelligence, could use some of it to explain a really basic economics term to the Bush team: Opportunity Cost: it's the benefits you miss out on when you choose one course of action over the alternatives. Its how economists value choices. In human relations terms, its that people aren't stupid and because of that you almost never can have your cake and eat it too. Well, the opportunity cost of being a bully is the diminishment of every American national security objective that requires cooperation, trust and goodwill from Hearts and Minds to public diplomacy to UN reform.


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Bullies in junior high school. Emotional intelligence. Right.

That's a message to take to the American people: John Bolton's being mean to the UN! Which prospective Democratic Presidential candidate do you think will be the first to give a speech with that theme? Hillary Clinton? Joe Biden? How about Wesley Clark?

After all this time Democrats still talk about foreign and national security policy as if their only audience was people just like themselves.

The U.N. Should Share the Fate of the League of Nations

Once again, the U.N. proves that it is nothing more than a power thirsty organization that wants to reign in the U.S. to serve its own purpose. The U.N. consistently squanders U.S. wealth and shows no appreciation. Mr. Annan's so-called reforms are a joke and do not address the real issues that matter most.

The United States and the global community can address modern issues without U.N. interferrance. U.N. 'dues' would be better spent on HIV research, training counter-terrorist forces, etc. Despite its propaganda, the U.N. does not legitimize U.S. foreign policy.

It is time to put the U.N. to rest. There are many reasons that the U.N. failed. Chief among them, their lack of standards for membership. Their refusal to expel member nations like Iran, thinking instead that "honey & sugar" and no stick is the best approach.

What are some real reforms that the U.N. can make besides the worthless reforms being proposed by the U.N.'s worst UNSG ever? For one, the U.N. should revoke the membership of all nations that have not ratified the UDHR. The U.N. should also revoke the membership of nations like Iran & Iraq, and the U.N. should apology, repudiate, and correct the statement by its UNSG that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal.

We do not need the U.N. stealing credit for work done by Americans. We do not need the U.N., we do not need to reform it, we do not need to replace it. The best option for Americans is to eliminate it, granting the U.N. more power now will only embolden future UNSG's to seek more power later.

(Iraq being referred to as when under Saddam's regime)

What about the Millennium Summit in 2000? I would say the UN did some real good for the world there. The Millennium Goals were agreed to by the US and 188 other countries, and provide for a viable end to extreme global poverty. Interestingly enough, it's actually the US who is trying to back out of the Millennium Goals in a major way. We're currently only giving .2% of the .7% we promised at the Millennium summit and again in the Monterrey consensus. The UN came up with a working, reasonable plan to end poverty, stop AIDS, provide for education, and so on. The UN does not need to be put to rest. It needs to be mobilized to be a positive force in the world. To the extent that America stands as an obstacle to the achievement of global stability and peace, it is rightly criticized.

The Millenium Goals can be achieved without the U.N. The U.N. can not end poverty, it can only take credit for work done by member nations. The U.N. can not stop AIDS. If the U.N. were interested in ending AIDS they would tell the U.S. to direct funding for the U.N. bureaucracy towards AIDS research instead.

And it is not the U.N.'s place to 'educate' people. I took part in the U.N.'s "education" and I don't want my children to take part in any of it. U.N. education misleads our children, as it misled me, and it has no place in the real world. I do not want my children celebrating U.N. day, I do not want them exposed to the U.N.'s fake propaganda. The U.N. needs to stop propagandizing the American people and start spreading values in the terrorist countries. Because while our children are being trained to love these terrorist nations by a U.N. that has inherited the flaws of the League of Nations, those same nations are indoctrinating their children to hate our own. The U.N. is 22nd Century organization that has no business being prominently displayed. The U.S. is *not* an obstacle in global peace & stability, the U.N. *is* and it is exactly that type of attitude that proves more than anything else that the U.N. has no business continuing to exist.

If the U.N. wants to help the U.S. and the world, the first thing it can do is to step down and disband. There is no such thing as a "united" nations organization. And pseudo-U.N. nationalism should be erradicated before its 'beautiful lies' are allowed to infect future generations.

Scott, are you Bolton's speechwriter by any chance? I could name quite a few international treaties that the USA hasn't ratified (CEDAW)that if we did would blaze a trail for human rights, better governments and Rule of Law the world over..counter-terrorist measures that you seem to care about. The USA could have been, since the 1980's, monitoring international curriculum and textbooks through UNESCO except some conservatives threw a tantrum and pulled out, right when we needed to be at the table. Please spare me the hysterics. We are a great nation, not a nation of quitters.

Lorelei, you quit that great nation when you started placing the interests of the UN over the interests of the US. The UN does not serve US interests, it serves UN interests.

"It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world." -George Washington

Lorelei, you are a quitter. Not the critics of the U.N.

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