Thursday, December 30, 2004
On this day:

The Nearsighted Clare Short

The Scotsman: Bush 'Undermining UN with Aid Coalition' By Jamie Lyons
United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief following the Asian tsunami disaster. The president has announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world’s response. But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN. “I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said. “Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme. “It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.” Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters. She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with. “I don’t know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system,” she added.
Translation: You Americans, Japanese, Australians, and Indians are making us U.N. folk LOOK BAD. Stop COOPERATING AND BEING SO GENEROUS. That is the U.N.'s job! Short misses the real issue completely. The greater issue is relieving the suffering of those who survived this tragedy. It is not about helping improve the image of an impotent and corrupt international organization. The U.N. was unable to help children in Iraq, dirtying itself in the Oil for Food scandal, which amounted to billions of dollars diverted to the pockets of Saddam and Kofi Annan. Now with several countries staggering in devastation and trillions of dollars needed to help rebuild entire societies, we're supposed to depend on that same organization? Clare Short must have ice water running in her veins if, at a time of such tremendous death and need, she thinks of the reputation of the U.N.