Tuesday, June 15, 2004

"Three crises, and the need for American leadership"

Harvard Gazette: Kofi Annan urges multilateralism

Let's not get into how I came upon this article, but Kofi Annan's speech at Harvard's commencement exercises reminds us, along with how great our country is, about the true nature of multilateralism:

"It is in the interest of every country to have international rules and to abide by them," Annan said. "And such a system can only work if, in devising and applying the rules, the legitimate interests and points of view of different countries are accommodated, and decisions are reached collectively. That is the essence of multilateralism, and the founding principle of the United Nations. All great American leaders have understood this."

His three crises:

  1. Collective security.
    1. Terrorism- In trying to bridge the gap between the 2 sides of the Iraq debate, he's appointed a distinguised panel to submit a report on when pre-emptive action might be necessary and how it should be undertaken.
    2. Genocide- The need for a collective will to act with strength and urgency to prevent another Rwanda in present day Sudan: "In the Darfur region in western Sudan, for example, thousands of villages have been burnt and more than a million people forced from their homes. In all, about 1.3 million people need immediate assistance."
  2. Global solidarity
    1. Strengthening weakened fundamental committments to improving drinking water, education, infant and maternal mortality and AIDs
    2. He alluded to Afghanistan's miserable conditions contributing to its harboring of terrorists
  3. Prejudice and intolerance
    1. Christian, Jewish, Muslim relations (of note: "And we must not allow Christians in the Muslim world to be treated as if their religion somehow made them a fifth column of western imperialism. It is in times of fear and anger, even more than in times of peace and tranquillity, that you need universal human rights, and a spirit of mutual respect."
    2. This includes you Ann Coulter! Some of her favorite airline marketing slogans: "'The Friendly Skies – Unless You're an Arab"
      "You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin – Not So Fast, Mohammed!'"

He also suggests that the US should, as it has in the past 50 years, lead by wielding moral authority, not merely brute force. Anyone who has forgotten the spirit of the UN should definitely read this article or the speech in full, here.

1 comment:

The Sicilian said...

I'll have to agree that much can be learned from America. The Founding Fathers had a very clear perception of human rights and freedom.
I have never thought that the fundamentals of the UN are a good idea. They bleed over to far into socialism.That's just my perception.