Thursday, December 09, 2004

Look at It This Way

Max Boot in the L.A. Times tries to make the U.N. scandals relevant to Blue Staters:

Imagine if U.S. troops were accused of sexually exploiting children in impoverished nations. Imagine if a U.S. Cabinet secretary were accused of groping a female subordinate, whose complaint was then swatted aside by the president. Imagine if the head of a U.S. government agency and the president's own offspring stood accused of complicity in the biggest embezzlement racket in history.

Those would be pretty big stories, no? Above-the-fold, top-of-the-newscast stories. Yet the United Nations has been mired in all these scandals and until just recently hardly anybody outside the right-wing blogosphere has noticed.


Flawed as it is, the U.N. does some useful things, ranging from providing cover for the decision to launch the 1991 Gulf War to issuing an influential 2003 report on the failings of the Arab world. The United States should try to make use of it when possible. Leaving the U.N., as some on the right suggest, is unrealistic. But it will never live up to the grandiose expectations of its starry-eyed supporters unless they get mad enough to demand real change. So far there's no sign of that happening.