Bush ‘Undermining UN with Aid Coalition’

Bush ‘Undermining UN with Aid Coalition’ (Statesman)

United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief following the Asian tsunami disaster. The president has announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world̢۪s response.

But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN. “I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said. “Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme. “It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.” Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters. She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with. “I don’t know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system,” she added.

The backstory: Bush Says America Will Lead Global Relief Effort (WaPo)

President Bush said Wednesday that the United States will spearhead a worldwide effort to provide financial, military and humanitarian assistance to the Asian nations devastated by one of the world’s deadliest natural disasters. Speaking publicly for the first time since Sunday’s Indian Ocean tsunami, Bush told reporters that the United States, India, Japan and Australia are forming an international coalition to provide immediate relief and rescue assistance, as well as longer-term help with rebuilding.

Bush said the initial U.S. pledge of $35 million in direct financial aid is “only the beginning of our help.” Administration officials say Bush will pledge substantially more as damage assessments are completed. In the meantime, the administration has dispatched military personnel and equipment, including seven water-producing ships and one hospital vessel, as well as health experts to help stem the spread of deadly diseases in the flooded areas. “These past few days have brought loss and grief to the world that is beyond comprehension,” Bush said from his Texas ranch. “And together the world will cope with their loss. We will prevail over the destruction.” Bush’s remarks followed several days of criticism that the United States has not been as swift or as generous as other countries in its response. Although administration officials said they had to assess the destruction before making specific commitments, there has been an outpouring of contributions from Americans to private and international aid groups.

Coordination with a handful of top regional players should streamline the effort. The idea that the U.N., an corrupt bureaucracy which has a long history of squandering aid money, is somehow more qualified to spearhead this effort than the United States, India, Japan and Australia is absurd.

Ed Morrissey sums it up nicely:

The notion that the UN has any moral authority, let alone be the sole sanctuary of it, should have been universally dismissed in the Oil-For-Food corruption that Kofi Annan has tried to cover up all year. As I recall, that also started as a massive relief fund for victims of the UN’s unwillingness to give Saddam the boot instead of starving the Iraqi people to death. The Sole Bastion Of Moral Authority managed to put billions of dollars into Saddam’s pockets while enriching the member-states that made sure no one unseated Saddam.

And, while we’re at it, let’s remember that the Paragon Of Moral Virtue at Turtle Bay set up a safe zone for Bosnian Muslims in the city of Srebrenica, encouraging them to seek refuge from marauding and genocidal Serbs. After that, they conveniently stepped aside and allowed the same Serbs to sack Srebrenica without a single UN gun being fired in defense of the refugees — 7,000 of which were slaughtered while the UN ran away.

Don’t forget the up close and personal outreach in Congo that the Secular Saints Of The Order Of Blue Helmets performed to the women and female children. They spread love — in the form of exploiting the females of almost all ages in exchange for food and water, turning the refugee camps into their personal seraglios and worse.

It’s the Clueless Clares of the world who sacrifice the downtrodden of the world to the brutal and incompetent clutches of the UN for the greater purpose of having a single world government. The idea that Short can make this kind of assertion with a straight face shows the depth of corruption on the radical Left. I say bravo to George Bush for bypassing the grifters and rapists of the UN.

Michael J. Totten observes,

The UN has no moral authority. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. But the UN still manages to pull off some decent crisis relief once in a while. If even the UN can do that, surely the US, Japan, India, and Australia can do something, too.

Heh.

Betsy Newmark reminds us that Short’s credibility is rather suspect in its own right.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Europe,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.