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December 16, 2003
Mark Steyn: Put Nihilism to Good Use

Mark Steyn, in another brilliant column, serves up a damning indictment of the creaky and increasingly sclerotic United Nations:

For months the naysayers have demanded the Americans turn over more power to the Iraqis. Okay, let's start by turning Saddam over to the Iraqis. Whoa, not so fast. The same folks who insisted there was no evidence Saddam was a threat to any countries other than his own and the invasion was an unwarranted interference in Iraqi internal affairs are now saying that Saddam can't be left to the Iraqi people, he has to be turned over to an international tribunal.

You can forget about that. The one consistent feature of the post-9/11 era is the comprehensive failure of the international order. The French use their Security Council veto to protect Saddam. The EU subsidises Palestinian terrorism. The International Atomic Energy Agency provides cover for Iran's nuclear ambitions. The UN summit on racism is an orgy of racism.

The Bush administration's position on Iraq has been consistent throughout the past year: remove Saddam, stabilize the country and its ethnic/religious differences, create the foundation for democracy, and then let the Iraqis run things themselves. The UN position has shifted to whatever it feels is the best position with which to batter the US: Don't remove Saddam. Okay, now that he's fled Baghdad, let us run things. No, wait, it's too dangerous here, we're leaving, the US needs to provide more security. Oops, no, now you need to leave to let the Iraqis run things themselves. Wait, they're not capable of running their own justice system, they need to defer to an international court.

What rubbish, and what fools are those who continue to see this nest of vipers as a credible authority on world events. The UN is one thing, and one thing only: a debating society. It passed up its chance to be anything more when it refused to enforce its own Security Council resolutions regarding Saddam's disarmament and the truce he signed at the end of the first Gulf War. It has become the League of Nations, and anyone who pretends differently is a dupe, and a dangerous one at that.

Steyn sees this, and he sees the solution as well:

I've come to the conclusion that the entire international system needs to be destroyed.

I don't suppose that's a priority of the Bush Administration, or at least not until the second term. But he's in no hurry to return to the Security Council fairyland of make-believe resolutions that never get enforced. On Sunday morning, his speed-call list was restricted to the Coalition of the Willing – the prime ministers of Britain, Australia, Poland, Italy and Spain. He seems to be roughing out the contours of a new club here: dictatorships need not apply, but nor need those democracies that serve as the dictators' front men in polite society (are you listening, Jacques?).

At some point, and it's coming sooner and sooner, Americans will have to confront the fatal paradox of trying to promote democracy and human rights through an organization that is mostly comprised of governments that at best do not share these values, and at worst are constantly working towards their defeat. When that day of reckoning finally arrives, we will rid ourselves of the UN illusion and begin building international alliances and coalitions with nations that share our values and our goals, and save the UN for Toastmaster speeches, diplomatic courtesies, and the occasional food fight. (via Power Line)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 16, 2003 7:53 AM

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Tracked on December 17, 2003 10:38 PM

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