Friday, 1 June 2012

Diplomacy and genocide, by Kofi Annan

Lord Unctious, the former UN Secretary General, is on stage again emitting pious bleating noises in the next armchair over from Bashir al-Assad, the world’s latest mass murderer. This week he called upon ‘everyone with a gun’ in Syria to put them down, thereby equating the regime’s roving death squads with the people trying to protect civilians being slaughtered. This is entirely consistent with the performance of a world-class do-nothing who stood by as UN chief during both the Rwandan genocide and the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia, yet still gets work. Diplomacy is a marvelous thing.

Annan was incapable of even sounding much of an alarm over Rwanda, and the fact that liberal heartthrob Bill Clinton didn’t want to be bothered by the fate of unimportant African peasants might have had something to do with it. Once it was too late, everyone said they were really, really sorry and agreed that they had certainly exercised bad judgment. So that fixes that.

Meanwhile, the mishandling of the Libyan affair a year ago has limited the UN’s usefulness in this case, and it is a pity that no one can do much while Assad proceeds to slaughter thousands of people. The original UN mandate in Libya was to prevent a similar round of mass murder by Khaddafy, who openly promised it when the eastern part of the country rose up against him. But then NATO took advantage of the green light to actively intervene and overthrow him, which the Russians and Chinese hadn’t signed on for and don’t want to see happen again, and who can blame them given the recent bellicosity directed at Iran.

No one has much moral high ground in this depressing scenario, and although the continuing horror must be weakening the Syrian regime’s support, experts don’t agree on what will happen next. One despairs of the biped race when mass insanity takes over--let it be over soon.

No comments: