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May 16, 2005
Annan To US: Don't Forget Our Impotence

Sometimes the United Nations acts as if it wants to provide do-it-yourself satire for websites like Scrappleface and The Onion. Today's example comes from Kofi Annan himself, who warned the Bush administration that any attempt to hold Iran accountable for its violations of the non-proliferation treaty would run into UN Security Council impotence:

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned the Bush administration that the Security Council might deadlock if asked to punish Iran for its nuclear program.

The United States and Britain have called for Iran to be brought before the Security Council if it carries out threats to resume efforts to make nuclear fuel. The United States and Britain believe the fuel could be used for bombs, while Iran contends that it is to generate power. China and Russia, which have strong economic ties to Iran, might veto any push to sanction Iran, Annan suggested in interviews with USA TODAY.

"Action or inaction will have a great impact on future cases and on our efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation," Annan said. A deadlock on Iran, he said, could embolden North Korea and future North Koreas.

In other words, the UN can continue to "promote" nuclear non-proliferation only to the extent that it not be asked to enforce it. Besides being an unintentionally hilarious admission of powerlessness, it also perfectly encapsulates why the current American administration puts so little trust in Turtle Bay and its current leadership.

The US and the EU-3 have worked for years to get Iran to stop producing weapons-grade materials for an energy program they don't need in order to ensure that the Iranian mullahs can't develop a nuclear weapon. The Iranians have resisted all negotiations that work towards keeping them within the limitations of the treaty which they signed and which the UN ultimately enforces. Now that the Iranians have proven intransigent, the US and UK want to refer this to the UN, and the Secretary-General has already thrown in the towel, declaring such a move useless.

This comes as no surprise to either country. The same thing happened in the run-up to the Iraq War. We took the issue to the UN, which refused to do anything about resolving its twelve-year standoff with Saddam Hussein -- twelve years while Hussein committed genocide against the Shi'a, the Kurds, and the Marsh Arabs that opposed his iron-fisted rule. Despite an undeniable and admitted twelve-year record of non-cooperation and non-compliance with UNSC resolutions, including the cease-fire that stopped the Coalition from marching on Baghdad in 1991, the UN chose to do nothing in response.

We know by experience that the UN is incompetent, impotent, and corrupt. It's hilarious that the leader of the organization feels it necessary to publicly warn the Anglosphere of the first two in such a bald manner.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 16, 2005 12:00 PM

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Tracked on May 16, 2005 6:41 PM

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