Monday, September 28, 2009

Thoughts on the UN General Assembly (Or Three Madmen, A Fool & A Statesman)

I know this is quite a bit late. I had planned to do a full column on it but have decided to shift my focus elsewhere. But I think the 64th UN General Assembly is worth a few words.

The opening of the UN General Assembly will be remembered for five speeches - Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, Iranian "President" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The five most memorable speeches were delivered by three madmen, a fool and a statesman.

While Qaddafi's speech has been deservedly mocked his buffoonish manner threatens to overshadow his unabashed support of terrorism. Let us not forget that Qaddafi welcomed home the Lockerbie bomber, Abelbasset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi with open arms.

The same could be said for Chavez. He can praise Obama as smelling of hope and take shots at Fox News. We should count ourselves lucky. Let us remember that this a man who is forcing TV stations in Venezuela to air more of his speeches. Chavez is also forging a strong alliance with Ahmadinejad.

Canada was smart to skip Ahmadinejad's remarks. They knew what he was going to say. There was no need for an encore. The U.S. delegation would have been wise to follow suit but President Obama is eager for an audience with Ahmadinejad.

President Obama was also eager to distance himself from both President Bush and American exceptionalism. He did so by apologizing for Gitmo and reminding the General Assembly the U.S. had paid its dues to the UN and would also sit on the UN Human Rights Council - a body devoted to condemning Israel while turning a blind eye to egregious violations committed by far more dubious governments.

Obama also promised a world without nuclear weapons but made sure not to hurt the feelings of either Iran or North Korea. The President said, "We respect their rights as members of the community of nations." The fact neither country respects the rights of their own people did not deter Obama a smidgen.

President Obama then presided over the Security Council and passed a resolution calling for the world to be rid of nuclear weapons. He might as well as have drafted a resolution calling upon Australia to rid itself of kangaroos. Less than 24 hours later he, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy told the world that Iran had indeed been concealing a nuclear facility from the IAEA. If that wasn't enough, Iran test fired several medium range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Obama's pie in the sky hit him right in the eye.

Obama's naivete was a contrast to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coherence and eloquence. His speech should be taught to schoolchildren the world over. The image of Netanyahu holding up Nazi documents detailing plans to kill Jews as well as the blueprints of Auschwitz was a powerful refutation of Ahmadinejad.

Netanyahu also put the UN on notice in a way that Obama would never dare:

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging.

Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian delegate walked out as did representatives of several Muslim countries. Other delegations looked at Netanyahu in bewilderment. The UN translators were of no help. He was speaking a language they could not understand.

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