Saturday, June 18, 2005

If you leave it to the State Department, you're plowing in the sea

So speaks the splendid Henry J. Hyde, the Republican representative from Illinois.

The House yesterday voted to withhold half of its dues from the United Nations unless it dramatically changes its bureaucracy, peacekeeping missions and the rules for its human rights organizations.

"When it comes to sanctions against the United Nations for failing to reform, if you leave it to the discretion of the State Department, you're plowing in the sea," said Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chief sponsor of the bill. "Let's begin real reform of the United Nations -- a monumental task, a long road ahead -- let's begin it here and now, June 17, right in this room."

But wait!

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized the bill, saying through a spokesman that with-holding dues is not "a productive route" to reform and could jeopardize his own proposals, expected to be discussed in September.

Just a guess, but maybe Mr. Annan's "own proposals" don't include busting his sorry, corrupt ass.

The bill lists 46 specific steps the U.N. must take, including: establishing an independent oversight board that can review all operations; prohibiting nations the U.N. has condemned for human rights abuses from serving on human rights bodies; and demanding major bureaucratic reforms.

If the secretary of state cannot certify either that 32 conditions have been met by Sept. 31, 2007, or all 46 have been met by the next year, half of U.S. dues would be withheld.

The State Department's opposition to this sensible measure confirms that the bill is a good one. Like the Brit Foreign Office, State has been captured by its "clients" - the mostly nasty states and organizations with which it interfaces.

The Brit Foreign Office is regarded by sound observers (me) as a nest of mildly deviant appeasers. Back in the days when homosexuality was Not OK, it was said to recruit only from the Cambridge colleges which were of that orientation. The Head of the Sub-Saharan Department was known as The African Queen.