Thursday, October 04, 2007

The UN and Burma

China will oppose any contemplated UN action against Burma.

The U.N. Security Council decided on Thursday to hear a U.N. envoy's report on Myanmar at a public meeting but China said it was opposed to any action by the 15-member body because the junta's crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners was an internal affair. ...

Beijing's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters, "There are problems there in Myanmar but these problems still, we believe, are basically internal. No international-imposed solution can help the situation," Wang said. "We want the government there to handle this issue." ...

In the first official remarks since Gambari's visit earlier this week, [Burmese leader] Than Shwe said he would hold direct talks with Suu Kyi if she publicly agreed to abandon her "obstructive measures" and support for sanctions as well "confrontational positions." He did not elaborate on how the Nobel laureate could meet the demands.

The UN has become a place where totalitarian regimes block any possibility of change by invoking "national dignity" and "noninterference". At the same time the UN insists it is the only "legitimate" venue to discuss political affairs, an assertion with which a large number of "patriots" agree.

With national unilateral action de-legitimized and international inaction guaranteed, the only way forward against the Burmese tyrants appears to be a networked resistance of private individuals in whatever legal ways this can be attempted. This is the bitter fruit of so-called transnationalism: a world paralyzed by the veto of tinpot strongmen; a world where all licitness is vested in an organization which has decided, as a matter of principle, to hoard it and do nothing further. The "international system" is so rotten that perhaps it can no longer be saved. The UN may be beyond reform.

Nothing follows.


Blogger 2164th said...

That is why NATO is the only legitimate international organization capable of taking action on a global scale. A timid cautious lot weighed down by the white man's burden.

10/04/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Rudy Giuliani "urged NATO to admit Australia, India, Israel, Japan and Singapore on Wednesday as part of proposals to combat Islamic extremism." As a trial balloon it seems to have thudded right down to the floor. But I think it is an important idea. Opposition to the UN is often expressed purely in terms of leaving it. But it is far more important to create an alternative center of legitimacy than simply pointing out the putrescence of the United Nations.

Put a can of Campbell Soup up on a platform and sooner or later a million worshippers will prostrate themselves before it. Burn a wooden effigy in the desert and it will get bigger and bigger and attract more and more people. By now it's probably more meaningful to do that than expect the UN to help anyone.

But first one has to set up an alternative icon. Truly the 21st century is the age of religious wars.

10/04/2007 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

The UN may be beyond reform.

Spot on. This seems like such a low-hanging fruit for any votr-chasing politican -- lead the call to "Mend it or End it".

The founders of the UN were none too bright. What they should have done instead -- and what the US could do after withdrawing from the UN and tossing it out the country -- would be to start the United Democracies. Countries that do not meet democratic standards may join as dues-paying observers with no vote.

The hall might be a little empty on the first day when the US President addresses the newly-founded United Democracies, and the usual suspects will be aghast as always. But that will be the cream on the cake -- hearing the whiners proclaim "United Democracies Bad! United Nations Good!"

10/04/2007 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Mission creep. NATO was conceived as a system of collective defense against the Soviet Union. Now with the demise of global communism it is being asked to be the world's policeman and nose around in another civil war in Southeast Asia. What it ought to be doing is keeping an eye on Putin.

10/04/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Once upon a time, I took political philosophy and American government courses from the same professor; he would sit on the riser at a table in front of the class with his hands folded in his lap and for the hour to hour and a half only his head, eyes and mouth would move.

One theme across all his courses was "The first, and only inviolable, imperative of any bureaucracy is to preserve itself."

10/04/2007 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

time to start a boycott the olympics 2008

shame, humiliation and of course, public distain for chinese goods..

let's start right after the 4th quarter christmas sales

10/04/2007 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

Murdering scores of monks and students doesn't provoke enough outrage to get past the usual jaw-jaw. Darfur is a similar China-vetoed humanitarian disaster.

10/04/2007 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

The UN does not exist. Neither does NATO.

Provocative. But true.

Did the Roman Empire exist in meaningful form after Atilla? Or even after Alaric? No. But for more than a hundred years, the Roman Senate met after the death of the last Emperor, Romulus Augustus.

The UN was let's be honest stillborn. NATO died probably around the 1960's when European defense spending cratered. Yet people cling to it.

Like Medieval Kings wanting something more than merely a kingship, and styling themselves Holy Roman Emperors. The dream of Rome probably still survives to this day in Europe in twisted, EUnuch form (they even boast of being an empire).

Outside the US there is no effective military power in NATO. Britain's Royal Surrender Navy is already smaller than the Belgian Coast Guard and Brown plans to cut it in half. The British Army is barely competent by US standards and has about 12,000 effective fighting men. The Crips and Bloods could probably muster out more fighting men.

What we have is the demise of the nation-state, except the US, and the rule of guns. Whoever has the most rules. This is already the case in Europe where most of the cities are ruled by Muslim gangs. Expect the Europeans to follow suit if they have not already to defend their turf.

There is all that "stuff" just there for the taking. Australia must be a tempting target for Indonesians wanting land, slaves, money. Who will stop them? Same for Morocco and Spain. Being rich and fat and defenseless next to lean and hungry neighbors with a taste and talent for killing is never happy.

The only "solution" Wretchard is league of nations with like interests: the US, Japan, Australia, India, who arm themselves as much as possible and use their arms (particularly air and naval power) to order their parts of the world as they see fit.

One of the biggest problems the West has is the memory, historically speaking of the Roman Empire and the dream of sublimating all conflicts by constructing a "nicer" one (with far less crucifixions, please!)

10/04/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

it's time to form the BLO?

get those monks to start blowing up chinese pizza shops?

take a page from the most successful undeserving people on the planet, the retarded palestinians

use murder and chaos

10/04/2007 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Apart from the fact that it's illegal, one problem I have with advocating a campaign of terrorism against the Chinese or the Burmese government is that we will sooner or later wind up killing innocents. It's so easy to go down that road; so righteous at first.

It was to avoid the need for private justice, that is to say revenge, that men formed governments and adopted foreign policy. In order to constitute an arm that could properly and legally chastise the bad guys of the world. That is theoretically the role of the United Nations. But in the cruellest kind of joke it has evolved into the exact opposite: the defender of tyranny.

But maybe the time has come to agitate -- no longer for reform -- but for an alternative. The UN has covered itself with unexpungeable shame.

10/05/2007 12:16:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

WiO: it's time to form the BLO?

get those monks to start blowing up chinese pizza shops?

Won't work. The opponents of the pallies love life, even the life of their enemy. The opponents of the Burmese monks love only power.

10/05/2007 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The "Chinese" are again at the game of Empire. Call them on it. Call them exactly what they are. Keep at it until it sticks to them like unwashable genital odor.

Btw, WiO is correct. It's only through violence that you'll really expose the face of the "Chinese".

10/05/2007 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard wrote:

"In order to constitute an arm that could properly and legally chastise the bad guys of the world. That is theoretically the role of the United Nations."

I think you are mistaken here. The UN was created primarily to try to prevent nations from warring on each other; to prevent another world war. Thus was enshrined the immutable concept of Sovereignty. The ICC was designed to go after the 'bad guys' but y'all hate that idea now don't you?

10/05/2007 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

What's totally crazy is that the Bush administration is trying to ram through congress the Law OF the Sea Treaty that will set up secretive unaccountable UN bodies with taxing authority over the half of the planet in international waters. Who knows they might want to tax fish caught in international waters. The big tax bonanza will come in 10 years or so when the technology improves to where its profitable to mine the billions of metal nodules that sit on the deep ocean floor.

Silly fools don't know that the UN will use all its money to under mine the power legitimacy & authority of the nation state--starting with the USA.

10/05/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Now that you've referenced Burning Man, shall we look for Camp Belmont Club next year on the playa?

10/05/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Would it be that we could invoke "national dignity" and "noninterference" when it comes to the UN's gun control, environmental and other meddlesome initiatives which infringe upon sovereignty.

10/05/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

ash writes: "The ICC was designed to go after the 'bad guys' but y'all hate that idea now don't you?"

It's not the idea, Ash.

It's the inevitable subversion of these international institutions, like the UN Human Rights Commission, by ideologues, bullies and hustlers.

It's the way our spineless leadership classes stand aside repeatedly and allow it to happen.

It's the way those who place the most faith in such institutions are routinely (always) betrayed.

It's the cheap grandstanding and moral showboating of corrupt and toothless bureaucrats who risk nothing by indicting those who subsidize them, knowing full well that they would cow in silence were their benefactors China, North Korea or Iran.

The ICC? There are enough ex-Soviet era commissars puttering around Europe to keep the court busy for decades.

10/05/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Alaska Paul said...

The UN has become nothing but a tool for despots, bureaucrats, and other hangers-on to have power and to push their own nefarious agendas without any accountability. Hell, the UN cannot even investigate and clean up its multi-billion dollar scandal over the Oil for Palaces Program.

The structure of the UN is fundamentally flawed, and the UN ought to be bypassed and left to die on the vine, like the Japanese bases on Truk and Rabaul in WW2.

I propose that a coalition of willing democracies be formed, ad hoc, to work together on issues and projects vital to their well being. When the project or issue is completed or settled, then the group dissolves, like a sunset clause. If this is not done, the groups become a bureacracy that just expands its mandate and sucks up resources. Groups like this can be formed by treaty or agreement between the willing parties. Other countries can join on an as-needed basis. The main thing is that we do not need to develop a whole organization of parasites, like the present UN.

10/05/2007 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

whiskey_199 said...

"The only "solution" Wretchard is league of nations with like interests: the US, Japan, Australia, India, who arm themselves as much as possible and use their arms (particularly air and naval power) to order their parts of the world as they see fit."

The United Nations was based upon the alliance of World War II's victors. We're heading towards a historical repeat of 24 October 1929 to 10 August 1945, i.e. the sequence of events that started with the Great Depression and ended with the surrender of Japan. Assuming we survive, we'll form an international alliance with the other survivors. Hopefully this new alliance will be better than the UN or the League of Nations.

10/05/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Phoenix_Blogger said...

I would suggest the “coalition of the willing” starting with the Anglo-sphere, Japan and Poland would be a good place to start. These are countries that anted up against the UN’s wishes, seeing the threat of terrorism and Saddam and the upside of supporting the US internationally. I suspect India would also look favorably on getting in on the ground floor of such an institution given the alternative of continuing to wait for a permanent seat on the security council.
I would also postulate that it would serve the US interests to not leave the UN until the lights were out. We do still have our veto and might need to use it judiciously, if only to protect any new democratic institution from the children running the UN.
The immediate corollary to any such institution would be something along the lines of the Warsaw pact that would be initiated by China and those opposing US interests. In effect the world would be split into three camps with the EU potentially going the way of Switzerland, with a few but important exceptions like Britain and Poland. The US needs to bait any such institution with most favored nation status for its members, perhaps free trade agreements would be enticing for some countries to make the change.

10/05/2007 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Julius Caesar's accounts of his travels in gaul included a description of the wicker man which was a form of human sacrifice. A giant man made of sticks & straw would built. Then sacrificial victims would be tied to the effigy and burned alive by the druids.

no human sacrifice today but its easy to see how something like a giant comet strike or mega volcano might precipitate human sacrifice among those devote to the burning man.

Historically, that's Jesus great accomplishment. He abolished human sacrifice. Everybody the world over --did it.

He was able to abolish the ancient sacrificial system because he himself was, finally, a sufficient sacrifice. That is, he is God's own son. Fully God--as well as fully Man.

Let go of Jesus and the old ways will return in time.

10/05/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Charles: Historically, that's Jesus great accomplishment. He abolished human sacrifice. Everybody the world over --did it.

Except in Texas, where they have sacrificed about 400 humans since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

10/05/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, callously sacrificed murderers to our insatiable Justice god.

10/05/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...


That argument cuts both ways, you know. Death penalty opponents often say that it's better for a killer to go free than an innocent person to be sentenced to death. The obvious implication being that it's okay for the killer to kill more people, a necessary sacrifice to the gods of justice.

When it comes to the death penalty, whichever side you take, you can't avoid a rationalization for human sacrifice.

10/05/2007 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk said...


That's all good except for the stay-in-the-UN part. Surely you must know how much we could hasten the day of their lights going out by withdrawing ourselves and our financial contributions?

10/05/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Charles: Historically, that's Jesus great accomplishment. He abolished human sacrifice. Everybody the world over --did it.
Teresita said...
Except in Texas, where they have sacrificed about 400 humans since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
when you confuse the lawful execution of murderers with human sacrifice you have the moral system of a homosexual.

that is to say the culture of death.

sadly, that's the way they think in europe. its a shame

10/05/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Phoenix_Blogger said...

Kirk, that is a valid point regarding our financial contribution to the UN, but for all real purposes we wouldn't want to have the UN moved to Hong Kong and defer a mantle of what ever shred of respectibility remains to the UN under Chinese domination. Better for any future opponents to start from scratch. A slow death of the UN while a new organization founded by democratic members would found its legs would serve our purposes better allowing any major UN move against the new fledgling organization or its members to be vetoed by the US or the UK.

Charles: Your comment regarding homosexual morals says a lot about your was that plank

10/05/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Christopher Hitchens writes a moving tribute to a great American.
- Hewitt

10/05/2007 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Human sacrifice was found among the agricultural/garden farming peoples. You don't find it among the hunter/fisher/gatherer. Where the shaman prevailed, it was the vision quest. Where the community relied on the annual cycle of earth food production, the grisly rite came to be.

10/05/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

bobalharb is correct. Hunter-Gatherer societies are inherently violent and anarchy-driven. Anyone who doesn't like something can stick a spear in his neighbor and take off. No property means as close to absolute freedom of action as possible for humanity.

Of course that absolute freedom has it's costs -- mostly starvation when the game is not around. In some ways Wretchard's conjecture of people being afraid of that freedom (of the hunter-gatherers) being echoed today in places like Brussels or Ann Arbor is absolutely spot on.

10/05/2007 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

The story of Abraham and Isaac reflects a turning away from human sacrifice in Jewish life,long before Jesus.
The cycle of food production was understood as a reflection of a primordial self sacrifice of a divinty, in the food growing societies. From death, comes life. This is still reflected in the New Testiment--unless a grain falls to the ground and dies...

The hunter/gatherer societies were not inherently violent. They couldn't afford to be. But they did bump up against others, and themselves.

10/05/2007 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

The game animals themselves were the sacrifice in hunting societies. They poured out of eternity into the field of time and space, self given for the benefit of the hunters. Who killed and ate them, sending them back on their way from whence they came. Recycle. Repeat.

10/05/2007 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Phoenix_Blogger said...
Charles: Your comment regarding homosexual morals says a lot about your was that plank
My thinking on these matters was changed by bernal diaz. He was Cortez's lieutenant. Diaz wrote the conquest of New Spain

The book was first translated into English in the 1980's. I read it about 15 years ago. Everyone knows about the human sacrifice practiced by the Aztecs. What's not generally told is that the Aztec priests were homosexuals. They would "act up" right in front of Cortes and his men.

Cortez's reaction was just the same as Moses--who found that the Caananites practiced human sacrifice and homosexuality in the priesthood.

The two practices go hand in hand.

When you hear liberal women assume that women and homosexuals are are natural allies in the "war of the sexes"--remember that nothing could be further from the truth. Homosexuals are bitter enemies to the interests of heterosexual women. This is easily proved. In the Scandinavian countries that legalized homosexual marriage--the marriage rate of heterosexuals collapsed while the marriage rate for homosexuals remained the same;

Now of course for this argument to hold water you have to believe that marriage is in the interests of women.

10/05/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...


before this argument goes too far afield it would be helpful to mention what Burma has in common with North Korea is that they are both totally screwed up and they are both client states of the Chinese PLA (People Liberation Army.)

If the Burmese gentleman had said he wished he could wake up and be Indian--he would have been more sensible since what Burma and India have in common is a heterogeneous population. India too was in the grip of communists up until 1990 . They initiated a bunch of reforms and now they're growing like gang busters. they have an enormous middle class.

10/05/2007 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Amazon connection for "Conqest of New Spain."

10/05/2007 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Phoenix_Blogger said...

I appreciate your effort to explain your reasoning, but aren't you going from a micro event to draw macro conclusions? Is your premise that somehow homosexuality leads to a desire for human sacrifice? Putting aside the fact that Cortez was no saint and not above ascribing all sorts of "biblical" evils on his enemies as justification for his actions, the Aztecs were a different culture and in one sense the practice of human sacrifice and religion can be found a lot closer to home then the Aztecs, without attaching homosexuality to it. I just don't see the connection if it exists as being in any way causal.
Regarding the legalization of same sex unions and its impact on the number of heterosexual marriages in Europe, I have found that the significance of being married is of decreasing importance in some European countries. Not sure about Scandinavia, but England has seen the same trend at least in attitude from my own observations that you describe. The legalization of same sex marriages in England has only been around since 2004, but the trend of decreasing marriages and increased childbirth outside wedlock started well before that date
(England marriage trends)”

In fact, by your own statistics, with the number of same sex unions remaining constant, while traditional marriages continue to fall, couldn’t the case be made that same sex unions are arguable the last line of defense for marriage in Europe as heterosexuals appear to not want to get hitched. Regardless there doesn’t appear to be a causal relationship between the decrease in traditional marriages and the number of same sex unions in Europe outside of the initial legalization of same sex unions. Basically, of course the number of same sex unions will go up after it is legalized, but the decreasing trend of heterosexual marriages has only continued and isn’t directly related as it was pre-existing.
I would like to jump to the heart of the matter, your supporting article postulates, “Allowing marriage to be defined as anything other than between one man and one woman lowers the value of marriage in the eyes of society. If marriage is nothing more than a legal partnership, then it is ultimately meaningless
(Ban on Same Sex Marriage)”

Why do allowing same sex unions damage the significance I as an individual attach to marriage? For the record, father of three, and married for 18 years and counting. Isn’t the whole idea of same sex unions basically about individuals who respect the idea of commitment to one individual for life seeking the ultimate expression of that? How does that lessen my marriage? I don’t think it does. I guess I just dig in my heels when I see people trying to place limits on freedoms. Having said that I was sad to see the Catholic Charities of Boston make its decision to give up placing children in need of help for fear they would have to place them in a loving family that might have two dads or two moms. That just seems wrong. Maybe an exemption on religious grounds would have been appropriate as the real victims are the children and despite the arguments from both sides, I don’t think anyone wants that.
I know we’ve taken this thread off target and I apologize. Please drop me an email if you’d like to debate further.

10/06/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...


sounds like you have a vested interest in your arguments.

The sudden immense power that homosexuals have attained to in western culture coincides with Roe-V-Wade in the USA and the equivalent rule changes in Europe. Is it coincidence or causality. Both abortion and homosexuality inhabit the same moral universe. Conservative christians generally view abortion as child sacrifice.

10/07/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

Thank you for helping. FREE Burma!!!

Bush slammed the UN and the rulers of Myanmar in his UN speech last week. The only country that has any influence over Myanmar is China, and they can't and won't push too hard. There is too much Oil & Gas there that they need.

The UN must do something, but they never use military force to fight.
That is a huge problem.

Illegal drug and ruby fortunes are a BIG part of this too.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
complete narco states

criminals in power
loving the corrupt drug war

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
shoot peaceful protesters

calling for democracy
which you must never allow

absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
keep trying communism

you can never KILL too much
pursuing Utopia...


10/07/2007 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Phoenix_Blogger said...

Charles, of course I have a vested interest. Is that an ad homin attack? I always wanted to be subject of one. :)
Seriously I think it is pretty clear we both have vested interests. Mine is an interest in supporting personal freedoms. Infringement on freedoms is generally a big one here in the United States. Of course society sets limits to our freedoms for the good of the many, but I don't think banning same sex unions fits that definition. If a couple I don't know get a tax break and live together, it just doesn't harm me or my family. Our differences arise I think from the definition of harm.
I also support the second amendment and don't own a gun. Regarding Roe vs. Wade, it was bad caselaw.
Cheers Mate
Happily married and very Het :)

10/08/2007 07:32:00 AM  

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