By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
The United Nations has a problem-it has a loaded gun aimed at Iraq, but somehow all the organization can do is shoot itself in the foot.
Consider for example last month’s selection of Libya to chair the U.N.’s committee on human rights. Each region of the world gets a turn to nominate a country, and this year was Africa’s year. Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi used his money, influence and power to bribe and blackmail other African countries into nominating his.
Qaddafi still knows the power of money, even as he runs a country that restricts its free trade.
Lest you’ve forgotten, Libya sponsored one of the most notorious acts of terrorism in the 1980s, the bombing of PanAm Flight 103, then refused to hand over the suspects. Dissidents are tortured and killed in Libya, which now speaks for the U.N. on human rights.
The rotating chair on the committee for disarmament falls to Iraq this year. The same Iraq that is obviously not disarming, not laying down its weapons, not paying any attention to the United Nations’ own resolutions.
After such a highly publicized, highly convincing speech by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the U.N. stands at a crossroads created by its own stubborn pacifism. Stubborn pacifism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s what got the U.N. here nonetheless.
The Security Council is divided between the yes-men (U.S. and Britain), the vocal opposition (Russia, China) and the staunch antagonist (France). As long as France opposes war, it will not happen with U.N. approval.
But France is beginning to reconsider. Not because of any shift in principles, mind you. Those principles have remained the same for decades: whatever keeps France in the same league as the lone superpower and her allies.
If the U.N. loses credibility, then France loses credibility. The Security Council is the only place France has the same power as the U.S. And if the U.S. goes forward with popular support from the American public, from the moderate Islamic countries (Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar) and from the majority of Eastern Europe, France will have no choice but to fall in line. Because the only thing more reprehensible to that country than perceived American imperialism is being inferior to America itself.
In economy, military and respect, France has never recovered from the embarrassment of World War II. And the French opposition to war is moving the U.N. quickly in the same direction-one of obsolescence, insincerity and irrelevance.