Chicago Sun Times reported Remember the tsunami? Big story, 300,000 dead; America and other rich countries too "stingy" in their response; government ministers from every capital on earth announcing on CNN every 10 minutes more and more millions and gazillions. It was in all the papers for a week or two, but not a lot of water under the bridge since then, and as a result this interesting statistic may not have caught your eye: Five hundred containers, representing one-quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on Dec. 26, are still sitting on the dock in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed. At the Indonesian port of Medan, 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock. Diageo sent eight 20-foot containers of drinking water via the Red Cross. "We sent it directly to the Red Cross in order to get around the red tape," explained its Sydney office. It arrived in Medan in January and it's still there. The Indonesian Red Cross lost the paperwork.
Supplies got there ane were used when the countries, like the US were in charge, but when the UN took over the problems started.Which brings me to the John Bolton nomination process, which is taking so long you'd think the U.S. Senate was run by Indonesian customs inspectors. Writing of near-Ambassador Bolton's difficulty getting his paperwork stamped by the Foreign Relations Committee, National Review's Cliff May observed that "the real debate is between those who think the U.N. needs reform -- and those who think the U.S. needs reform.'' Very true.
I agree, and IMHO it is the UN that needs the reform.Sen. George Voinovich, one of those "maverick Republicans" the press goes goo-goo over, seems to believe, as Cliff May puts it, "that the problem is more American 'unilateralism' than U.N. corruption, immorality, anti-Americanism and ineptitude."
He is a fool.On the face of it, this shouldn't be a difficult choice, even for as uncurious a squish as Voinovich. Whatever one feels about it, the United States manages to function. The U.N. apparatus doesn't. Indeed, the United States does the U.N.'s job better than the U.N. does. The part of the tsunami aid operation that worked was the first few days, when America, Australia and a handful of other nations improvised instant and effective emergency relief operations that did things like, you know, save lives, rescue people, restore water supply, etc.
Absolutely correct.Then the poseurs of the transnational bureaucracy took over, held press conferences demanding that stingy Westerners needed to give more and more and more, and the usual incompetence and corruption followed. But none of that matters. As the grotesque charade Voinovich and his Democrat chums have inflicted on us demonstrates, all that the so-called "multilateralists" require is that we be polite and deferential to the transnational establishment regardless of how useless it is. What matters in global diplomacy is that you pledge support rather than give any.
Totally stupid ideasThus, Bolton would have no problem getting nominated as U.N. ambassador if he were more like Paul Martin. Who? Well, he's prime minister of Canada. And in January, after the tsunami hit, he flew into Sri Lanka to pledge millions and millions and millions in aid. Not like that heartless George W. Bush back at the ranch in Texas. Why, Prime Minister Martin walked along the ravaged coast of Kalumnai and was, reported Canada's CTV network, "visibly shaken." President Bush might well have been shaken, but he wasn't visible, and in the international compassion league, that's what counts. So Martin boldly committed Canada to giving $425 million to tsunami relief. "Mr. Paul Martin Has Set A Great Example For The Rest Of The World Leaders!" raved the LankaWeb news service. You know how much of that $425 million has been spent so far? Fifty thousand dollars -- Canadian. That's about 40 grand in U.S. dollars. The rest isn't tied up in Indonesian bureaucracy, it's back in Ottawa.
Pledge a lot, but provide little.But, unlike horrible "unilateralist" America, Canada enjoys a reputation as the perfect global citizen, renowned for its commitment to the U.N. and multilateralism. And on the beaches of Sri Lanka, that and a buck'll get you a strawberry daiquiri. Canada's contribution to tsunami relief is objectively useless and rhetorically fraudulent. This is the way the transnational jet-set works when the entire world is in complete agreement and acting in perfect harmony. Unlike more "controversial" issues like the mass slaughter in Sudan, no Security Council member is pro-tsunami. And yet even when the entire planet is on the same side, the 24/7 lavishly funded U.N. humanitarian infrastructure can't get its act together. When rent-a-quote senators claim to be pro-U.N. or multilateralist, the tsunami operation is what they have in mind -- that when something bad happens the United States should commit to working through the approved transnational bureaucracies and throw even more "resources" at them, even though nothing will happen (Sri Lanka), millions will be stolen (Oil for Food), children will get raped (U.N. peacekeeping operations) and hundreds of thousands will die (Sudan).
Sounds like the UN to me.John Bolton's sin is to have spoken the truth about the international system rather than the myths to which photo-oppers like the Canadian prime minister defer. As a consequence, he's being treated like a container of Western aid being processed by Indonesian customs. Customs Inspector Joe Biden and Junior Clerk Voinovich spent two months trying to come up with reasons why Bolton's paperwork is inadequate and demanding to know why he hasn't filled out his RU1-2. An RU1-2 is the official international bureaucrat's form reassuring the global community that he'll continue to peddle all the polite fictions, no matter how self-evidently risible they are. John Bolton isn't one, too. That's why we need him.
Robert Clayton Dean: blogged I confess that I didn't give any money to the tsunami relief effort, mostly because it became apparent to me within a few days that there was far more aid on its way to the area than could possibly be put to good use. I prefer that my donations go where they can make a difference. Mark Steyn confirms that I was right not to waste my money (or rather, to give my money to the tranzis to waste). It was apparent to me that the US and Aussie military were doing everything possible to ensure that casualties would be minimized during the immediate crisis. Since long-term relief was being farmed out to the UN, and no fundamental reforms of either the UN or the countries receiving it were contemplated, well, the outcome and effectiveness of the long-term relief program was pretty predictable. The UN was being put in charge, so I sent my charity dollars elsewhere.
Betsy Newmark blogged Mark Steyn hits the nail on the head on why we need someone plain speaking at the United Nations. With apologies to the North Carolina motto, in international diplomacy it seems that the important thing is "to seem rather than to be."