Blog Roundup #49

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Secular Blasphemy: “Its credibility bruised by the false intelligence on Iraq’s WMD programmes, the US was unable to fully convince its allies that Iran had nuclear ambitions. Luckily, we should almost say, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to the US’ aid by making thinly veiled threats to the UN General Assembly.”

The Pen: “I liked “The Interpreter” not only because Nicole Kidman looked pretty hot. Given all the problems dogging the United Nations, I still believe in the place and what it can do. I’m an optimist and an idealist.”

Bump in the Beltway: “Amid Warnings, Richer Nations Seek Protection From Bird Flu – As World Health Organization officials repeat warnings about the potential for a deadly bird flu pandemic, wealthier countries are redoubling efforts to buy an experimental vaccine and antiviral drugs in the hopes of protecting their citizens from infection. At the United Nations on Wednesday, President Bush proposed an “international partnership” to combat the disease, and the United States announced last week that it had placed orders for $100 million worth of a promising but technically unlicensed vaccine that is under development by the French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis. “We cannot afford to face the pandemic unprepared,” Lee Jong Wook, the director of the World Health Organization, said Thursday at the United Nations.” This isn’t a bad round-up article. Finally, the American media are beginning to pay attention.”

Democracy Arsenal: “After an embarrassing fizzle of a global summit intended to tackle UN reform, the U.S. and the world organization need to figure out what’s next. Ideas are proliferating: Ivo Daalder at Americans Abroad suggests replacing the global body with a comparable forum whose membership would be limited to longstanding democracies. The Wall Street Journal editorial page wants to put Turtle Bay in trusteeship to be run by Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Before drowning UN HQ into the East River, its worth keeping in mind the many things the UN does well (here’s a list of 10 important ones). But it’s also time for some new thinking on the UN’s shortcomings and what might be done to tackle them. Here are 10 ideas – some serious, some slightly fanciful…”

Informed Comment: “Patrick Cockburn of the Independent now confirms that report based on his own sources, saying that actually between one and two billion dollars were embezzled from the Iraqi ministry of defense under Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan. It was always mysterious where Shaalan came from. He is said to have been a former member of the Baath Party from Hillah in the Shiite south. Ahmad Chalabi alleged that he was a double agent for Saddam in the late 1990s, spying on the dissidents. He then went to the UK. When the US and the UN installed Iyad Allawi as interim “prime minister” on June 28, 2004, Shaalan became minister of defense.”

Left Coaster: “Congratulations to the Bush Administration, and those inside the administration who argued continuously for negotiations with North Korea, against the hard line thinking of Dick Cheney and John Bolton, on the good news that an agreement was reached late today on a comprehensive preliminary agreement that appears to end Pyongyang’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. Now perhaps the administration can see from this victory the fruits of multilateral pressure, rather than war, and cobble together an international wall of opposition to the saber-rattling from the new nutcases in Iran about their nuclear aims.”

Watchdog316: “Between the years of 1962 and 2000, a 38 year period: Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa; has seen a reduction in glacier content of fifty-five percent. COMPACT, the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation project, put forth by the United Nations Development Program is entering its second phase in efforts to save this natural wonder.”