Friday, April 14, 2006

The ineffectual, inefficient United Nations.

To some, especially 'of the left' the UN is legitimacy in the international context. 'The authorities', the top tier of annointed government and organisation. To them, ideologically the tip top of the pyramid of structured, endorsed power. To them, something that should become, if not becoming, a sort of federal world government.

But if that is what it aims to be, should we not expect to see more successful outcomes from them? The Balkans, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia. None of these trouble spots have benefitted from UN involvement.
And the latest example I saw of UN 'efficiency' was the Tsunami aid effort. The utter disparity between what that region needed, and what the UN was able to do was glaringly evident. As 'Diplomad' put it;

'...UPDATE: More on "The UNcredibles": WFP (World Food Program) has "arrived" in the capital with an "assessment and coordination team." The following is no joke; no Diplomad attempt to be funny or clever: The team has spent the day and will likely spend a few more setting up their "coordination and opcenter" at a local five-star hotel. And their number one concern, even before phones, fax and copy machines? Arranging for the hotel to provide 24hr catering service. USAID folks already are cracking jokes about "The UN Sheraton." Meanwhile, our military and civilians, working with the super Aussies, continue to keep the C-130 air bridge of supplies flowing and the choppers flying, and keep on saving lives -- and without 24hr catering services from any five-star hotel . . . . The contrast grows more stark every minute....".

Britain's Clare Short objected to the US/Australian/NZ effort, saying;
"...only the UN had the "moral authority" to lead the relief work....".

Great, people in desperate need can wait, just as long as your ideologies are appeased huh?

The UN, and indeed, the EU, are these days looking increasingly bad as vehicles for providing progress in humanity's cause, and we need to hold the actual reality of how they operate against their theory and ideology. Bluntly, they don't deliver, while places like Australia, the US, and the Anglosphere in general do.

The UN agenda, I'd argue, reflects it's makeup. Most of the governments of the world are not what we in the west view as free, legitimate, democratic results of their populace's undoubted choice and best hope. The dictatorships, kleptocracies, theocracies and general basket cases that make up the UN general assembly influence the UN's aggregate 'flavour'. Which shouldn't surprise us when it turns out as someting less than ideal.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Our flag

While I advocate an Australian republic (in my view we are effectively one now - the British monarch has no effective say in how we govern ourselves), I don't advocate a change in our flag.

I found this wonderful piece of poetry here (I'm unable to find who the author was/is)

Our flag bears the stars that shine at night
In our southern sky of blue
And there's a little old flag in the corner
That is part of our heritage too,
It's the English, the Scots and the Irish
Who were sent to the end of the earth
The rogues and the schemers, the doers and dreamers
Who gave modern Australia birth.
And you who are shouting to change it
You don't seem to understand
It's the flag of our laws and language
Not the flag of some far away land
Though, there's plenty who'll tell if you ask them
How when Europe was plunged into night
How that little old flag in the corner
Was a symbol of freedom and light.
It don't mean we owe our allegiance
To some forgotten imperial dream
We've got the stars to show where we're going
And the old flag to show where we've been
It's only an old piece of bunting
It's only an old coloured rag
But there's thousands who died for its honor
And fell in defence of our flag.