Friday, September 25, 2009

The United Nations Serves A Purpose After All

I'm going to take a small side road away from my conservative friends and suggest that the United Nations does indeed serve a purpose. Yesterday's performances demonstrated that fact, in spades. I'm not sure it's worth the billions of dollars we burn supporting it, but then how can you put a genuine value on great theater? Or maybe I should say comic opera. The greatest collection of comedy stars since they broke up the Hollywood Studio System was gathered yesterday in one grand forum that was seen by the entire world.

Sadly, one of the poorest performances of the day was put on by the American president. Obama droned, spouted platitudes, spoke of American unilateralism, and looked far too serious for the silly non-message he was conveying. "Lookey--where would Earth be without this great planet of ours?" And he let us all down by failing to do his well-known levitation routine while raising his arms to heaven to establish the connection. Since we see the president at least once a day, every day, his performance was at best mundane. It's impossible to forget what he looks like, what he sounds like, and how very sincere he is in his own beliefs. So his General Assembly speech didn't have any surprises, we've heard it from him approximately 250 times over the past nine months.

But the rest. Ah, the rest were absolutely sublime. Venezuelan President-for-Life Hugo Chavez told us that the smell of sulphur left behind by President Bush had finally dissipated and had been replaced by the gentle zephyrs of hope which trail behind President Obama. And then he told the United States that it's making a good start, but it has to move faster on socialism (and possibly the one-man, one-vote, one-time concept). Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threw a few flowers at Obama, and then went into his holocaust-denying schtick. That produced a highlight of the day--the mass walkout of all the friends of Israel, including all the delegates from the Anglosphere. He went on about how the huge nation of the Zionists was oppressing and murdering the entire tiny Arab and Muslim world. So naturally, Israel has to be wiped off the map.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated "satisfaction" with Obama's speech. That is also known as "damning with faint praise." He then went on to channel lawyer Joseph Welch at the Army-McCarthy hearings by looking out disgustedly at the General Assembly, shaking his head, and saying: "Have you no shame? Have you no decency?" I didn't think Obama's speech was that bad. Oh, wait, he was referring to the body allowing the frothing-at-the-beard Ahmadinejad to speak at all. "To those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say . . . what a mistake. What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations." Beside being very moving, it was also a refreshing change from the usual speakers condemning the United Nations for allowing Israel and the United States to survive.

But no report on the opening session would be complete without a full and fair discussion of the featured speaker, Moammar Qaddafi (please don't correct my spelling, this guy has changed the spelling three times himself). At the end of his speech, it looked like he had just run out of gas on his mission to out-talk Fidel Castro (who set the record for yapping for four hours and twenty minutes). But he did manage to out-crazy Castro. Much of he said was rambling, incoherent, and garbled (even his Arabic translators were having trouble understanding him).

Unlike the others, Qaddafi was effusive in his praise for Obama. After pausing for a bit, he decided it wasn't enough. So he wished out loud that Obama could be America's president forever (all the rest of the guys had to settle for president-for-life). Maybe Qaddafi was buying into the divinity thing for Obama, but I don't think Mohammed or Allah would be too pleased.

After references to the "King of Kings of Africa," and referring to Obama as "our son," he went on to lecture on the JFK assassination, the Martin Luther King assassination, and the origins of swine flu (created in a military lab, or a private pharmaceutical lab, he couldn't decide which). Then he asked the very telling question: "What's next? Fish flu?" What a wit. And for a change of pace, he spent much of the speech excoriating the United Nations itself. Mostly he was ticked off at the Security Council which had declared him a terrorist and his nation a rogue nation a couple of decades back. So he called it "the terrorist council." And to punctuate the thought, he said "now, brothers, there is no respect for the United Nations, no regard for the General Assembly" while tearing off a corner of the U.N. Charter to wave around.

Onward and upward. Next target--Europe. He had gotten his accountants to make a careful calculation, and he had determined that Europe owed the Africans 7.7 trillion dollars for its former colonization of the dark continent. And if they don't pay, "the Africans will go get the money themselves." After 90 exhaustive minutes, Qaddafi probably just forgot to mention the Lockerbie plane bombing, 270 dead passengers, and the triumphal return home of the bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.

So--why do I think the U.N. is still important? Every cuckoo who showed us what they really are, and what they really stand for is why I think it. We need to be reminded that these people are not simply pictures from Reuters and AP, exotically sitting in faraway lands, just trying to get along. Each of the vile dictators and oppressors who spoke put himself in our living rooms--up close, and personal. And that is an important thing. We need to see who the enemies are, not just of America, but of everything that is right and decent. We need, as Admiral Yamamoto is attributed with saying, to be an awakened sleeping giant, filled with a terrible resolve.

But I saved Qaddafi for last for a reason. He messed with the United States a few times too often when we still had real leaders. His adopted daughter got blown up by a bomb in 1986 after Qaddafi sponsored several terrorist attacks resulting in American retaliation. For most of the 90s, Qaddafi's country was under international sanctions for refusal to turn over two of the Lockerbie bombers to American or international courts. But in 2003, apparently after hints that the Bush administration might consider Libya to be the next American target for rooting out terrorist havens, he turned over the bombers and renounced his nation's nuclear ambitions.

Since 2003, Qaddafi has been flying under the radar, pretty much ignored by Americans and the American press. He convinced the liberal/left in America that his abandoning of Libya's nuclear plans was strictly humanitarian peace-making. And the New York Times gladly gave him editorial space to make the claim. His fellow dictators didn't believe the conversion, but they certainly believed the deception was working. He was elected head of the African Union and was touted as a great unifier. The Western press bought it hook, line and sinker. They saw a "road to Damascus" conversion in his 2003 actions, and were determined to promote it, but not too loudly. Qaddafi's public redemption continued unabated.

Now look at the effect it has had in Africa. Before 2003, democratic leaders in Africa were free to speak for their nations opposing Qaddafi and his murderous policies. After 2003, no so much. Very recently, Kenya's Prime Minister was interviewed by The New Republic. Raila Odinga offered a very strong critique of the African Union and the dictators involved in unrest on the continent. But when asked how he thought Qaddafi, as head of the AU, could possibly play a constructive role in promoting human rights, he responded that leaders like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe deserve condemnation but don't get it because most of the other leaders don't want their own human rights violations exposed in the process. The New Republic writer pressed the issue by reminding Odinga that he had asked specifically about Qaddafi.

Odinga is the leader of a nearly-western style democracy, and seems genuinely disgusted with the African dictators. But when pressed on Qaddafi, he replied simply: "I don't want to comment on the head of a state which has got a diplomatic relationship with Kenya." It was OK to go after Mugabe and others, but Qaddafi's redemption had reached such a point that even a good man could not bring himself to criticize Qaddafi's ongoing brutal suppression of his own people and attempts to undermine neighboring countries, particularly Chad.

So the Qaddafi U.N. speech served a very useful purpose. There is buzz all over Africa about "the crazy man." And neutral Americans who either didn't know or had forgotten that Qaddafi is a dangerous lunatic were treated to Moammar at his best. All the conservative talk about Qaddafi wasn't worth one minute out of the 90 minutes that Qaddafi used to prove he is stark, staring, nuts and doesn't deserve to sit on an international body, let alone lead anything. Sadly, today (this was written on Thursday) he is sitting in the Security Council a mere five seats away from the American president who is still basking in the glow of his own brilliance and too distracted to know there's a loony in the room.

So I agree with the idea of keeping the United Nations functioning. But I also agree with Qaddafi who thinks it should be moved out of New York. His reasons are somewhat different from mine. He is just angry that it "felt like he was in Guantanamo Detention Center, cut off from the outside world." Mostly he was ticked off that nobody would give him space to set up his gigantic tents and camp out with his multiple female assistants. But the guy with the visage borrowed from Leatherface, and clothes borrowed from Scarlett O'Hara has a point.

My suggestion is Antarctica, where the dictators can go outside the building and strut around with the emperor penguins. The annual dues should be modified as well. Every country, including the United States, should pay $4.98 annually toward the advancement and improvement of the body. All enforcement powers and peace-keeping operations should be terminated immediately. The Security Council should be abolished, and the General Assembly should be renamed "The Generally Crazy Debating Society." Hell, I'd be willing to have the United States double its dues to $9.96 annually just to be able to watch that perpetual TV soap opera about an international lunatic asylum.

23 comments:

rlaWTX said...

"The Generally Crazy Debating Society" -- Love it!!!

and those dues are right about on the nose!

thanks for putting the UN in perspective...

AndrewPrice said...

I like the idea of moving the UN to Libya. Talk about two groups that deserve each other!

LawHawkSF said...

rlaWTX: Always glad to please. I thought of putting them at the North Pole, but the polar bears wouldn't like those tents warming up the ice and destroying their habitat. Also, Santa Claus would have to move his workshop, and our boiler room elves would go into open revolt.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: Libya won't accept it. It's the only chance they get to send Qaddafi out of the country to do his routines elsewhere. Even Libyans have their limits.

Tennessee Jed said...

Humor aside, those are some pretty good suggestions about where to relocate it (Tora Bora might work as well.) While the suggested dues fairly represent the worth of the U.N., might I also suggest, in these recessionary times, a bargain junior membership valued at half price?

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: You just gave me an idea. Why don't we secede from the United States and form the Sovereign Internet State of Commentarama? We can then get one of those junior memberships, and in no time we'll be as important as Trinidad/Tobago, Nauru, Sau Tome/Principe and Palau. I nominate Andrew for President-for-Life, and I'll be the UN Ambassador since I'm excellent at long-winded speeches that mean absolutely nothing (but they make you feel good).

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--I just had an idea too. If we move the UN to Antarctica, will the emperor penguins demand to join? And my next question is, will this make it easier to freeze the assets of terrorists? (And yes I did say assets).

Joel Farnham said...

I think the UN building should be put on the side of an active Volcano.

Writer X said...

Crazy theatre is right. And every year it gets worse and more obvious that the UN is so unbelievably worthless. What can these guys do next year to top this year? My only regret this year was that future Weight Watchers spokesman, Hugo "Bozo" Chavez, wasn't more colorful. The lovefest with Obama was too predictable.

Thanks for all the laughs, LawHawk.

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: What, and vaporize all those great speakers? We'd have to go back to watching re-runs of I Love Lucy. LOL

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

What do you have against I Love Lucy reruns? Discrimination!! That's what it is!

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: Ya know, we could just put all those pieces together (edited for length, of course) and it would be a hundred times as funny as any routine Saturday Night Live has put together since its inception.

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: Lucy's great, but her jokes don't need explanation, her physical comedy was intentional, and she didn't need Martian-speaking interpreters to tell us what she said.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

You are making my points. Are you arguing for my side?:-)

StanH said...

Move them to “Disney World.” Kind of like the “Hall of Presidents,” but different. Come to think of it I still like to go to Disney …scratch that Antarctica would be cool. Perhaps let then bring weapons on the floor that could interesting?

LawHawkSF said...

StanH; Sadly, however much it might belong in Fantasyland, if we move the UN to Disneyland or Disney World, then we would still have to move that to Antarctica. Anything closer than 3,000 miles away is too close.

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: It would certainly be an improvement. Everybody in the chamber dressed in tuxedos or tails, with the ambassador from Penguinia leading the parade. The nation of Commentarama will comply with the dress rules, except the jackets will be dark blue, the shirts white, and the ties red.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: What would we call the exhibit, "The Hall of Hesitants?" Maybe "The Hall of Miscreants." Ah, I have it: "The Hall of Dissonance."

StanH said...

“The Hall of Dissonance!” Eureka, they’ll come from miles around to watch …well whatever in the hell it is that they do. I do think weapons would be good as well, if Qudaffi goes on a bit long, “POW!” ..end of speech. LOL!

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: We'll have a better way by then. When Qaddafi runs over his allotted fifteen minutes, he'll have a "Titanic moment." Plenty of large chunks of ice in Antarctica, and the State of Commentarama will own its own berg launcher.

StanH said...

Death by iceberg, I like it. Once they’ve been converted into Popsicles the dignitaries can then adorn the august UN building like gargoyles on a medieval church, You can hear the little tykes now, “Mommy look, …there’s Momar(?).”

CalFederalist said...

Or we could push up the space program and move the UN to the moon. While someone like Qaddafi was speaking, we could have huge lights on the moon flash "Ignore This Message!"

LawHawkSF said...

CalFederalist: And the delegates could dine on green cheese.

StanH: It would look just like the evil queen's ice palace in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. And Qaddafi could borrow her outfits for the speech, at least before we launch.

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