Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank you, Portugal,... have done us a favour. General Lewis MacKenzie pens a brilliant rebuke of the United Nations Security Council.
"Permit me to preface my following comments with a few words to bear in mind while I vent: Somalia, Rwanda, Srebrenica, Kosovo, Darfur, Sierra Leone, North Korea, Iraq, Iran -- you get the picture."
"They decided to call themselves the Permanent Five (Perm 5), agreed they would not fight each other in the future, gave themselves a veto over matters dealing with international peace and security that might draw them into a conflict -- and in the fine print, also over issues of procedure within the Security Council. In other words, they would decide who would share the seats in that hallowed chamber, for how long (two years seemed like a good solution before the upstart rotating members got too much influence) and how votes would be conducted, while they sat back with the ability to shut down any council decision with their almighty single veto.

Did I just hear an echo, "Darfur" and a veto by China with its oil investments and operations in Sudan?

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, symbolizing the end of the Cold War, the Perm 5 were sound asleep in spite of warnings from commanders of UN peacekeeping missions in the field that the paradigm had changed and touchy-feely, lightly armed peacekeeping missions merely perpetuated various conflicts' status quo.

When one of their field commanders suggested that it was pointless calling the UN after 5 p.m. New York time as there was no one there to take the call at the decision-making level (unintentionally smearing the many UN staff working around the clock), the UN knee-jerk reaction was to establish a 24-7 "situation room" with absolutely no decision-making capability."
"Try as I might, no one at their headquarters in Manhattan could tell me how many Security Council meetings were called outside the cocktail hour at the UN during the past 65 years. In the absence of empirical evidence, I confidently assume I have enough fingers to count them.

In the end, we owe Portugal a favour for wrestling that final inglorious seat from our hesitant hands. Fortunately, port trumps maple syrup."
Wait a minute. Did he just say peacekeeping missions are useless? Don't tell that to our latte sipping "war is not the answer" - "Canada's proper role in the world is peacekeeping" crowd. They may have a emotional breakdown. God forbid, they may even spew their lattes and cocktails all over each other.

Previous. Previouser.

You know. In the real world, in well run organizations, it's customary to sit down once in a while and assess whether or not things are working the way they were intended to work and make adjustments, if necessary. I really think Canuckistanis need to do that now. Lester Pearson had what seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hasn't really worked out that well, has it.  Perhaps it's human nature. But isn't it time we quit congratulating ourselves for inventing the idea of United Nations Peacekeeping Missions? The Pearson family can keep the medal.  After all, no one can anticipate what will happen in the future, and at least it was awarded for something actually accomplished, not like that other one.

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