Meanwhile, the United Nations seems to be better at taking credit than taking action. No surprise there. (updated x 2)
says Prof. Reynolds, indeed, pointing at Belmont Club’s post, aptly titled Swine Before Pearls. Belmont Club quotes the UK’s former International Development Secretary Clare Short, who I heard on the radio the other day saying that the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone”. Inclined to the snarky comment as I am, my initial response was “As if the Marshall Plan and the Berlin Airlift weren’t effective”, but wretchard of Belmont Club says it more elloquently,
Leaving the issues of moral authority aside, the operational question is whether the world is better and more efficiently served by the UN organizational model. The real thought experiment that proponents of UN legitimacy must pass is whether they would entrust Paris, not just Kigali to the bureaucrats on the East River. Clare Short is probably perfectly happy to entrust Rwandan lives to the United Nations; whether she would entrust her own to it is another question.
The December 2004 tsunami reminds us that there are catastrophes which cannot be confined to the Third World. In the immediate aftermath of the waves which devastated shorelines throughout the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, a large number of editorial writers dismissed suggestions that natural disasters were Divine punishment visited on mankind. But the notion is not so strange if one substitutes stupidity for sin as the cause of chastisement; because it is tautologically true that catastrophes always punish any unworthiness as a species. By far the greatest conceit of the late 20th century was that the postmodern world would never again suffer the lash of planetary cataclysms; that we were past any tests nature might administer; exempt from the consequences of stupidity. Only an international political class secure in its own invincibility could have thrown such scraps as the UN provides to the people of the Third World and demanded such peremptory obedience of the US, as if it were exempt from the laws of physics; men too precious to perish by fire or water.
As Glenn Reynolds himself said one day on CNBC, “we all would like the UN to be like the United Federation of Planets, but it isn’t.” Michael Toten I’m sure is not alone in asking who gives Ms Short the moral authority to decide.
On the other hand, maybe Ms Short gets her news from the Beeb
There was an interesting, arguably characteristic, contrast in the coverage of fund-raising efforts – in Ben Brown’s report on Kofi Annan and Colin Powell speaking at the UN (broadcast live on Sky News earlier), the clip of Colin Powell was cut as short as possible, completely omitting his mention of the substantial level of personal American donations (in addition to government donations), summed up by Brown with the line that “America is paying its share”
The Beeb is not alone in its bias, as Guido deplores,
What a pity that the world’s left-controlled media cannot see beyond the soundbites, beyond the desire to expose and denigrate anyone who attempts to rise above the herd, and see the vast amount of organisation, the huge effort needed to deploy this aid to where it is needed.
Roberto points out who’s getting the work done:
No helicopters from the United Nations, or France, or Norway, or Spain, or any of those countries beating up on the United States and George Bush. AMERICAN helicopters. Along with AMERICAN medics and AMERICAN ships carrying supplies.
Pres. Bush’s announcement that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world’s response makes perfect sense. And maybe it’ll give people ideas. The Anchoress, for instance,
The UN is a corrupt and ineffective travesty, a facade of compassion wrapped around a stinking cesspool of anti-semitism, graft, bribery, demagoguery, ineptitude, theft and plain FAKERY. This former Democrat is happy as hell that the President is operating around, rather than through this useless body of guttersnipes and phoneys. I used to laugh at conservatives who chanted “US out of the UN.” Now I agree. And I ad: UN out of US.
As Arthur put it, ” I’m sure the UN aid will start coming in, right after the UN finishes solving the Darfur problem.”
Update Jim Lindgren asks, “Does Bush need a Secretary of Symbolism?”
Update 2 Mark makes A Modest Proposal of perfect simplicity.