December 12, 2006

The Swamp In Midtown Manhattan

In case anyone out there still believes the United Nations is anything more than a swamp of third-world dictators and greedy bureaucrats, occupying valuable real estate in the heart of midtown Manhattan, below is an excellent reminder.

Why American taxpayers fund, much less tolerate this disgrace of an institution, is a mystery to us.

Editorial of The New York Sun |  December 12, 2006

Annan's L'Envoi

The skivvy around the United Nations is that when Secretary-General Annan makes his final remarks to the Security Council on the Middle East today, he is going to let Iran and Syria off the hook and seek to blame Israel for the woes of the region. This is the gist of what was picked up and reported on the Sun's online edition yesterday by our Daniel Freedman, who reckons it will be a telling moment for Mr. Annan.

"Will he finally recognize what America, and even Europe, have recognized - that the election of the terrorist group Hamas into government is the greatest barrier to peace?" Mr. Freedman writes. "Or will he throw out the usual ‘blame Israel for the occupation' line that he's all too familiar with? Will he condemn Iran and Syria for their interference in the Palestinian Arab controlled territories, Lebanon, and Iraq, and urge them to end their support for terrorism? Or will he pretend that America's liberation of Iraq and Israel's anti-terrorist actions are to blame for all the region's problems?"

The portents are not encouraging, if one judges by Mr. Annan's American l'envoi, delivered yesterday in an address at the Truman Presidential Library. It can best be described with the word bizarre. Here is a man who, by his own account, came to America nearly 50 years ago to study in Minnesota. He then spent something like 44 years in or close to the United Nations, rising to the top of an organization that has been funded, through thick and thin, by the ordinary American taxpayer, who underwrites the United Nations to the tune of $5.3 billion a year.

Mr. Annan was given the leadership of the world body with the backing of America and, despite the eruption on his watch of the worst scandals in the history of the world body, was kept in office by the acquiescence of America. Our taxpayers have helped underwrite a luxurious residence for him. He won the Nobel Prize for work funded by America. Yet he has chosen to depart his office with a bitter diatribe directed at the very country at whose table he for so long supped.

The gist of Mr. Annan's criticism is that America has disappointed the world by failing to live up to its own ideals. That notion in and of itself is not all that outrageous. America has always set itself the highest of goals, and it has always fallen short. America, however, has landed much higher up the hill of its ideals than the United Nations has landed on the mountain of its own ideals. That's a context in which Mr. Annan's choosing to take such a high profile parting shot at America takes on a sinister, political tone.

The fact is that Mr. Annan's tenure at the United Nations will be remembered less for his achievements than for the failures with which he has been associated - Rwanda, Sbrenica, the sex-for-food scandal of the peace-keepers, the oil-for-food scandals, the implication of the secretary-general's own son and some of his closest cronies in the oil-for-food scandal, the failure in Lebanon, the failure in Syria, the failure in Darfur, the failure of the reform of the human rights commission. The list is extraordinary.

It adds up to a circumstance that one would have thought might have given the secretary-general a sense of humility. Instead he is now going to move to a new and even more controversial role, at least if Turtle Bay gossip is to be believed. This gossip reckons that George Soros, who has likened the president of America to Hitler, is going to be pumping what Anne Bayefsky of calls an "infusion of cash" - and what we hear could be as much as $200 million - into Kofi Annan's charitable enterprises. Mr. Annan's deputy, Mark Malloch Brown, may be involved.

If that turns out to be the case, it will be a scandal in its own right. It is no small thing that Messrs. Annan and Malloch Brown broke with U.N. tradition and succumbed to the temptation to enter the American political fray on the tab of the American taxpayer. Mr. Annan did this with his endorsement, albeit a backhanded one that he denies, of Senator Kerry. Mr. Malloch Brown with a broadside against the Bush administration that Ambassador Bolton warned him was one of the worst errors of judgment he'd seen at the United Nations. The United Nations will be a long time recovering from this, if it can recover at all, which is most tragic of all the elements of Mr. Annan's long farewell.

Original article here.


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