Commentary Magazine


All Thumbs at the UN

What happens when an American president with three months left in office speaks to a worse-than-useless international body? Today, George W. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly, an organization 50 years past its expiration date, and declared, “The United Nations is an organization of extraordinary potential.”

Hasn’t the UN realized its potential by now? An incomplete inventory of UN accomplishments includes: allowing for the slaughter of 800,000 innocents in Rwanda, criminalizing Zionism, permitting a few hundred thousand more innocents to perish in Sudan, promoting global anti-Semitism and racism, appointing Nazis and other assorted monsters to positions of moral authority, leveling the playing field so that democracies and tyrannies are made equal, stealing the food out of millions of Iraqis mouths so that diplomats can get rich, prohibiting humanitarian intervention in the name of multilateralism, giving a public platform to autocrats, and international veto power to war criminals.

If the UN has any more untapped potential, I’m not sure the world could endure it. At this point, the UN should hold an “extraordinary” fire sale and leave the potential to real estate visionaries who can make use of that Manhattan riverfront property.

Today, as Bush spoke of the “noble pledge” of the UN Charter and the need for international bodies to work together to combat extremists who “reject the words of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or any standard of conscience or morality,” one such extremist–Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad–sat in the audience and gave the thumbs-down sign to the cameras. Other honored guests reacted to Bush’s speech differently. Netherlands Ambassador Frank Majoor said of Bush’s change toward more collaborative language: “It’s been sort of a gradual shift, but a very welcome one.” That Bush was able to polish his image in the eyes of a Dutch diplomat surely makes the disrespect of the Iranian president worth it, no?

And when Iran achieves its goal of attaining nuclear weapons in the next year or so, it will be thumbs-up from Ahmadinejad, thumbs-down from Mr. Majoor, a bunch of panicked looks directed America’s way, and another traffic jam in Manhattan to allow for the praise of the UN and its noble pledge.

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