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07 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

UN - We Shred Better So Pay Us Please

Michelle Malkin, who I'm still at bit annoyed about for her shrillness re the Wapping Liar, finds a better target today in the person of Mark Malloch-Brown, who, according to the NY Slimes, has been bitching about US criticism of the UN. Lest it be forgotten Mr Malloch-Brown is best known for his document shredding techniques and his ability to misdirect enquiries about Mercedes Benz imports to Ghana. [Disclosure of minor interest: Mr Malloch Brown is (unfortunately) a fellow alumnus of Magdalene and, even more unfortunately, an honorary fellow of the place - something that I would have hassled the master about had he repaired to the bar after the last Magdalene Association do.]

However, perhaps due to his "first class degree" (in chutzpah?), Mr Malloch Brown seems to think that he's a jolly smart fellow and that the UN is filled with smart people like him so would we stop criticising it. Criticism, you see, means that many st00pid gullible Americans from "flyoverstan" think that the UN should be junked when actually it does all sorts of wonderful things like paying Mr Malloch Brown's salary and pension. What I found most laughable about his reported comments is this bit:

The speech reflected frustration in Mr. Annan's office with a looming crisis over the United Nations budget, which, under a six-month gap agreed to under pressure from Washington in December, will pay the bills only until the end of June.

The deal was struck to link budget approval with achievement of significant management reforms, and Mr. Bolton made frequent mention of Congressional impatience with the United Nations and legislation that would authorize Washington to start withholding its dues. The United States is the largest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 percent of its budget.

"In recent years the enormously divisive issue of Iraq and the big stick of financial withholding have come to define an unhappy marriage," Mr. Malloch Brown said.

He noted that the the United Nations was fielding 18 peacekeeping operations abroad at lower cost and higher effectiveness than "comparable U.S. operations." Yet, he said, that fact has been ignored or underplayed by policy makers and opinion shapers in Washington.

Firstly let us look at the budget and governance issue. Even ignoring the Oil for Food scam, the UN is well known for budgetary waste and for the peculiar idea that all governments are equal so that we see countries like Saudi Arabia or Sudan on Human Rights panels and Iran on disarmament ones. I don't say that America is perfect but it seems entitled to require better accounting when the UN does things like propose to renovate its HQ for the price of an entirely new building and reform of an institution that seems to prefer secrecy wherever possible sounds like a good goal too.

Then there is 'the United Nations was fielding 18 peacekeeping operations abroad at lower cost and higher effectiveness than "comparable U.S. operations."' Excuse me while I laugh. The UN operations include East Timor (UN appointees try to disguise their culpability in massacres), Congo and Haiti (UN peacekeepers do Sex for Food and more) and so on. I agree with him that the US cannot and should not go alone but not going alone does not require using the UN, and indeed in most cases the US seems to do better when it leads an ad hoc coalition rather than getting the UN involved.

UpdateVia Daniel Drezner a link to the actual text which is fisked in the adjacent post

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