Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Eric Shawn on the Daily Show

Eric Shawn of Fox News, author of the new book The U.N. Exposed: How the United Nations sabotages America's security and fails the world, was the guest on Tuesday's Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Mr. Shawn makes some shocking — shocking, I say! — claims against the United Nations as an institution.

Economic interests guide the policies of some of the member states [of the United Nations Security Council].
Read more...Surely you jest, sir! I am certain that "protecting our int'rests" would never guide the policies of the United States of America in our conduct of foreign policy, both at the United Nations and in one-to-one relations. The United States has only ever acted in the purest of altruism, benevolently bestowing upon all humanity the blessings of our presence. (Slavery, for example, was an opportunity program for residents of the area around the present-day nation of Benin to travel and see another part of the world at the expense of American private enterprises.) It shocks my conscience to think that some other countries do not share our unassailable moral rectitude.

Evidently some people don't accept that the United States is not only a uniquely powerful nation, but also a uniquely righteous nation. What fools are those who doubt the U.S.A.! They need only to look at our own pronouncements on the subject to see what virtuous people we are. What more evidence do they need? I mean, the Bible is adequate evidence that Jesus is the Son of God, and the Qur'an is adequate evidence that Muhammad is the greatest and also the last prophet of Allah, so the fact that every President in my lifetime has ended every single public speech with "God bless America" is adequate proof that America is God's One True Chosen People.

Jon Stewart, for one, wasn't willing to let the snarling rabid dog lie. He pressed Eric Shawn on the point:
Jon Stewart: But doesn't that guide — that's the politics of the world in general. Are you saying that that's crept into the politics of the U.N., or that it's always been there and now it's just being exploited?

Eric Shawn: It's definitely crept in, and it was because of Oil For Food, I think at first, because of Saddam. Saddam violated seventeen resolutions. I think one reason we're at this war is because — I could say, U.N. Bribed, People Died.

JS: You're losing me. You're losing me now.

ES: No, let me say, because they had 17 resolutions that Saddam Hussein did not abide by, because he had billions of dollars of contracts that he handed out to France, Russia, and China through what was called the 661 Committee. All you have to do is look at the minutes and see what they did. In the 661 Committee, Russia, China, and France were always — yes, it's a larger issue, but they were always basically against the British and U.S. attempts to clean it up.

JS: But you could make the same case, that the United States has blocked many of their resolutions for a similar purpose, and similarly corrupt or similar business interests, so I don't know that that's necessarily to suggest that Saddam Hussein violated 17 resolutions — I mean, the United States doesn't hold the U.N. sacrosanct, so the idea that he flouted 17 resolutions seems like ...

ES: The difference is that we are trying to do something about it with reform and hold it accountable now.
Yes, the United States has blocked far more than 17 Security Council resolutions, not to mention ignoring the General Assembly altogether on, oh, let's say "a few occasions," and we sent an ambassador who openly espouses the elimination of the entire United Nations, and we don't accept compulsory judgment of the ICJ and we — just like every other nation on earth — are motivated not only partially but primarily by our own perceived self-interest, but it's not our fault that the Security Council can't get its act together to act in the global self-interest. And what's that about reform and accountability? The United States government is moving itself away from accountability to either the United Nations or the American people. Who in the Bush administration has taken accountability for stating falsely that we had to invade Iraq because we were certain that Saddam had stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Beyond that, there's that persistently whiny quality of the complaint: Those other countries wouldn't do exactly what we told them to, so we just went ahead and gave ourselves the authority to do whatever we think is right. Eric Shawn complains that Russia, China, and France consistently opposed the Anglo-American approach to Iraq, but doesn't even consider the fact that the United States and the United Kingdom consistently opposed the Sino-Franco-Russian approach. He takes the view that the rest of the world gets to choose between doing it our way with us or having our way thrust upon them by force, whether they like it or not.

Maybe, just maybe, the United States should stop sabotaging the United Nations if we want its support in creating a world "with Liberty and Justice for All."

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