Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why is Obama seeking the approval of the world's worst man-made disaster - the UN? Is he stealthily seeking his next gig?

America was founded as a country where no citizen would ever have to submit to the will of a king, or any other brand of despot. But hey, that's yesterday's news. President Barack Obama's administration is now submitting its own special selection of domestic policies and laws for review by the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include such tyrannies as Saudi Arabia, Libya, Cuba and China.

Packaged as a 29-page report aiming to create "a more perfect union" in "a more perfect world," this U.S. self-critique was sent by the State Department on Aug. 20 to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, in preparation for a formal review on Nov. 5 by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. A glaring feature of this report is its disparaging mention of Arizona's new immigration law. This is the same law that Attorney General Eric Holder condemned in May without reading, and which the Obama administration is challenging in court. State is presenting this situation for review by the U.N., implying that Arizona is violating human rights with a law that has "generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world."

Gov. Jan Brewer registered her protest in an Aug. 27 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking that the section on Arizona's immigration law be removed from the report. Calling it "downright offensive" that Arizona law be offered up by the federal government for a "human rights" review by such U.N. members as Libya and Cuba, Brewer wrote: "The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a State of the United States to 'review' by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional."

Brewer is dead right about internationalism running amok, and she's probably right that this is unconstitutional. But the problems with this scene go way beyond the federal abuse of Arizona. At the best of times, the U.N. is, in the words of the late Democratic New York Sen. and U.N. ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "a dangerous place." The U.N. is not an honest parliament accountable to some higher law. It is a despot-infested collective that reports erratically to itself; a place of double standards, which routinely delivers to dictatorships a legitimacy they do not deserve, and which they in turn use to heap criticism, without penalty, on the U.N.'s chief sugar daddy, the United States. Any attempt at real oversight or enforcement of integrity at the U.N. has been pretty much a voluntary and thankless task, shouldered almost entirely by the U.S.--when it is has been shouldered at all.

President Obama's approach to the U.N. is bringing us the worst possible variation on these themes. Rather than stand apart on principle where warranted, the Obama administration is increasingly stooping to become one of the gang--hoping for favors in return. Last year Obama overturned the Bush policy of bypassing the Human Rights Council as hopelessly corrupt. Under Obama, the U.S. became a member, promising to work from within. We're now seeing what that means in practice. While gaining stature from the U.S. presence, the Council itself remains stubbornly tainted, recently welcoming Libya to its ranks; sidelining atrocities by some of the world's worst tyrannies while focusing obsessively, as ever, on condemning the democratic state of Israel. But Obama has found a new use for this arrangement. He's trying to enlist the Council to further his domestic agenda, with the State Department attempting an end-run that invites into the U.S. system of checks and balances such voices as those of China, Russia, Cuba and Cameroon; or at best, the pronouncements of Switzerland, Norway and France.

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