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Friday, April 18, 2003
I fart in your general direction
Isn't the world of diplomacy wonderful? Nothing is ever accomplished, but people agree to pretend that something has been. For instance, the United Nations' approach to Cuba:
The United Nations' top human rights body kept up the pressure on Cuba over its rights record today by urging the communist state to accept a visit by a U.N. envoy to probe alleged abuses.
Ah, yes. That pressure must be overwhelming. They "urged" Cuba to -- well, not to actually do anything about human rights. They urged Cuba to talk to their envoy. Boy, that'll scare Fidel Castro. Especially when coupled with their bold decision to reject an attempt to even criticize him:
But the 53-state Human Rights Commission spurned a tougher resolution from Costa Rica, backed by Washington and the European Union, demanding freedom for about 75 dissidents recently given lengthy jail terms.
In what way, exactly, would that be "tougher?" Have we learned nothing from Iraq? The Fourth Infantry Division is tough. The 101st Airborne is tough. United Nations resolutions are not. Not even if they "demand" things.

But wait, there's more:
Knowing all of this, a bloc of African nations, led by Libya, this year's chairman of the commission, nevertheless defeated the attempt to maintain a U.N. human rights monitoring presence in [Sudan].

But this is not the only outrage perpetuated at this year's meeting of the Commission on Human Rights, surely one of the most hypocritical on record. At this session, the commission also voted against putting Zimbabwe on its list of countries requiring special observation, against making any special mention of the human rights violations in Chechnya and against an amendment that condemned Cuba for jailing dissidents. No resolutions were proposed this year on the treatment of dissidents in China.
And apparently they never got around to liberating Iraq, either. Hey, when even the Washington Post is suggesting that the U.S. may not want to be a part of the organization, you know how pointless that organization must be:
Although many found it disturbing last year when the United States failed to win election to membership on the commission, this year's experience should cause U.S. diplomats to wonder whether our presence there does more harm than good. If the commission is going to continue to act against the interests of the world's weak and persecuted, we ought not to lend it any further credibility.
But how could the commission do otherwise? That Libya is chair of the committee is well-known and outrageous. But other members include Algeria, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. These countries have no basis for condemning any other country's human rights record, let alone for taking action. Nor would they want to do so; it's not in their interests to set that precedent. Which is yet another reason why the UN is worthless.

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