Crunching numbers provided by the State Department's annual report on voting patterns in the United Nations, Fred Gedrich concludes that General Assembly member states vote against the United States 75% of the time. So doing, he argues that this voting pattern evidences a chronic anti-Americanism at the United Nations. Alas, he fails to impart a rather significant disclaimer to that figure: it does not include resolutions reached by consensus.
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review devotes Sunday editorial space to Mark Malloch Brown's so-called "hissy-fit" last week. Though the irony is probably lost on the Tribune's editorial board, their brief exposition is Malloch Brown's thoughtful critique of US-UN relations made manifest.
During his speech in New York on Tuesday, Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown gave one of the most astute summaries (pdf) of US-UN relations that I have read in a very long time. It was at once complimentary, prodding and constructive. And as Malloch Brown said at the outset, it was intended as "a sincere and constructive critique of U.S. policy towards the UN by a friend and admirer." Unfortunately, Ambassador John Bolton did not see it that way.
A thoroughly bizarre story appeared in Rupert Murdoch's Australian tabloid, the Herald Sun yesterday. Reporters Rob Taylor and Olivia Rondonuwu suggest that the UN mission in East Timor tried to cover up a May 25 massacre in which 12 unarmed East Timorese police officers were gunned down by a group of renegade Timorse soldiers. The reporters base this claim on a leaked email in which the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in East Timor allegedly instructs UN employees against cooperating with an Australian investigation into the massacre.
In Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, Max Boot revisits the idea of sending mercenaries to Darfur in lieu of U.N. peacekeepers. This is something of a pet idea among a category of foreign policy thinkers in the United States who are generally skeptical about humanitarian interventions, but nonetheless want to "do something" about Darfur. Nikolas Gvosdev, editor of realist journal The National Interest, for example, raised this idea at a Cato Institute event in March.
To Ed Lasky, the Secretary General's decision to evacuate non-essential U.N. personnel from East Timor is proof positive of the U.N.'s inherent fecklessness: "Meant to protect civilians, UN staff have run away from the capital of East Timor after an outbreak of violence... If someone says "boo" to them, they turn tail." Lasky, however, does not bother to mention that those workers who were evacuated from East Timor last week were civil servants who perform important (but in a conflict zone, non-essential) tasks such as HIV/Aids education, civil society training, legal work, and more.