Linkity link link, linkity lo!

      3 Comments on Linkity link link, linkity lo!

A couple of quick links related to international relations, and so on...

I don’t actually endorse much of what the anonymous writer of this Salon article is saying about the State Department, but I like this quote: “Powell is leaving. We need to repeat that.” As for the chances of Ms. Rice becoming the next Secretary of State, they don’t seem much higher than those of Mr. Wolfowitz. But then, who else is there?

I happened to hear a Cambridge Forum talk by John Ruggie from February 27, 2002. In it, he argues that it’s a mistake to talk about the UN being good or bad at certain things (such as peacekeeping or setting up elections), or having insufficient resources to do certain things; it would be better to talk about the member nations of the UN. In fact, he says, the UN doesn’t have independent resources, either of money or of troops or even of experts. They are dependent on their member nations, which of course means that they are most dependent on their richest, most powerful, and most expert member nation, in which Your Humble Blogger resides. I think that’s a bit disingenuous, myself, as the UN does have its own deliberative and administrative procedures, which could well render such resources as it has more or less effective, but the greater point is well taken. If the US wants the UN to be able to do such and such a thing, the US can enable it to do it; there is little the US can achieve on its own that it could not do with and through the UN, if it so chose.

Michael Moore, with his usual subtlety, has a collection of soldiers’ letters coming out called Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Letters from the Warzone to Michael Moore. There’s a selection in the Guardian today, and the publisher has another short one. This feeds in to my scenario for a landslide victory for the Senator: the military turns on Our Only President who has (shall we all say it together?) betrayed his supporters by closeting himself with a cabal of incompetent, secretive cronies. We on the left can be shocked by how much worse he is than we expected, but those who voted for him were the most betrayed, and none more so than those serving in the military and their families.

It isn’t foreign policy, but Your Humble Blogger is trying to clear the time to read this series from the Boston Globe on how the legislative process is changing. Yes, legislation is always an ugly business, but, as with sausage, it’s pretty important to keep an eye on it, if you’re going to be the one who ends up eating it.


3 thoughts on “Linkity link link, linkity lo!

  1. irilyth

    It seems to me that the converse of “there is little the US can achieve on its own that it could not do with and through the UN” is also true: There is little the US can achieve through the UN that it could not do on its own. And perhaps more efficiently and effectively; or maybe not, but that’s the argument anyway: That I can invite my whole block to come to the office with me and advise me about my job, but I’ll get more work done if I leave them behind.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this argument, but I do see the point that the UN doesn’t exactly have a great string of successes to their name.

  2. Vardibidian

    I think it’s a question of what tasks are good ones for groups (of nations) and what are not. Your condo association will not help you do your job efficiently, but will help you landscape your neighborhood efficiently (I hope). An interfaith committee is awful for establishing your liturgical ritual (OK, not yours, you), but may be good at setting up seminars and educational outreach, or even bread lines. The US is rotten at setting up elections in our protectorates that the East (near, middle and far) find fair and free; the UN could well be better.
    All of this is affected by tremendous imbalances of resources, of course. Anyway, the first question probably is what we (the US, or just us generally) want the UN to succeed at. And then see if we want to provide them with the resources to do it.

    That’s assuming you don’t simply believe in a world government as a Good Thing in and of itself. I’m sympathetic to that view, in my adolescent Asimovian way, but it certainly hasn’t been sold well.


  3. Vigilante

    It seems sad that we have to remind ourselves that the U.N. can constitute a real asset in the conduct of American foreign policy. Since its inception American presidents has utilized it as arena in which to mobilize favorable opinion, manage coalitions and martial alliances in pursuit of U.S. goals. Now, with this president, the U.N. was stiff-armed from the beginning, and is now being asked to perform as a janitor to clean up Bush’s mess in Iraq. No wonder most of the delegates sat on their hands while our prez, who has embarrassed all of us, assigned this world body the tasks he had in mind for them.

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer. – Camus


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