Friday, February 08, 2008


North Korea & The UN

Working together

New York Philharmonic music director Lorin Maazel had this to say just prior to a trip to North Korea:
"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw bricks, should they?" Mr. Maazel told the Associated Press. "Is our standing as a country — the United States — is our reputation all that clean when it comes to prisoners and the way they are treated? Have we set an example that should be emulated all over the world? If we can answer that question honestly, I think we can then stop being judgmental about the errors made by others."
Perhaps some enterprising reporter could ask him if North Korea's gulagags are one such error.

Why is it that some people demand the US must be perfect before it directs any criticism at anyone else? I wish they'd hold themselves to the same standard.

Better still, hold the UN to that standard. According to a report the from Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, North Korea has used the United Nations Development Program in North Korea to transfer money to its diplomatic missions in violation of UN rules and international financial regulations:
Why did the North Koreans go to such lengths to get the money abroad? The subcommittee asked North Korea, which replied in a meeting with Senate investigators last week. "After seeking instructions from their government in Pyongyang," the report says, North Korean diplomats explained that the transactions took place shortly after President Bush's "axis of evil" speech and their government expected that sanctions against North Korea would be tightened. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified the UNDP account as a "more secure channel to fund their embassies abroad." Indeed.

The subcommittee also discovered violations involving U.N. funds. Specifically, it found that the UNDP transferred money on behalf of Unesco and the World Intellectual Property Organization to a "trading" company in Macau with ties to a North Korean company engaged in weapons sales. The sums were small -- about $52,000 -- but the implications are large. There's no way of knowing how many such transactions occurred -- which is to say, there's no way of knowing how much U.N. money went to fund North Korean weapons activity.
Via Claudia Rosett, who comments:
But for the moment, in view of that disappearing Jay Lefkowitz speech on North Korea, described in the post below, and the findings of this PSI report on how North Korea battened onto the UNDP-related bank account as a handy means of obtaining a “more secure channel” for funneling money around the world without getting caught, can anyone explain how Condi Rice’s trusted envoy to the Six-Party Talks, Chris Hill, could read a report like this and still believe he can cut a viable deal with North Korea about nuclear bombs?

For that matter — since the U.S. provides the lion’s share of the money for the UN, and then has to spend all this time and effort to track down even a portion of the laundered, skimmed and scammed funds — can anyone explain why the UN, the UNDP, or the UN ETC, is necessary to the U.S. in the first place? Wouldn’t it be simpler to not pay the money, therefore not have to do the policing, and instead spend the time, effort and billions looking for ways, and appropriate allies, to genuinely deal with what matters to America?
Rosett's post covering the State Department's relegation of Hill's report to the memory hole is here.

The UN is actually worse that Rosett allows in that it is actively used by our enemies to undermine American interests. Joe Katzman observes:
The U.N. has been a haven of the corrupt and a tool of the hostile for most of its history - dominated by Third-World kleptocrats who demand for themselves what they will not grant their own suffering peoples, bought as required by the Arab League, and played largely for the benefit of the Soviet Bloc. So long as it remained irrelevant to serious politics, it status as a low-cost diplomatic nexus made it worth the triviality of its monetary fees. Belmont Club, who noted that "corruption at the United Nations was only tolerable for so long as it did nothing of consequence," had it exactly right.

Ah, but the U.N. has far grander ambitions now. Lofty ambitions of power untrammeled by its performance, and demonstrably unencumbered by notions of liberty, accountability, or humanitarian concern. Like Marxism before it, however, the U.N.'s dismal record of blood and failure is no mistake, and no accident. Despite apologists' untiring claims to the contrary, its record exist precisely because of its underlying concepts, not in spite of them.

What was once tolerable, is tolerable no more. What was once a simple waste is becoming something rather different: an active threat.

The U.N.'s weapons are theft and paralysis. Against it are arrayed the weapons of accountability and will. As Belmont Club notes above, the hostility is obvious, and the terms of the game crystal clear. Will the U.S. surrender, or prevail? The two sides cannot be bridged; the circle cannot be squared.
As I've said before, I wish more Americans, aside from those who desire surrender, realized this.


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