Memory Lane

Wretchard at the Belmont Club takes us down memory lane:

When Hitler's troops reoccupied the Rhineland in violation of its treaty obligations to restore German dignity, stormtroopers parading before the Reichschancellery sang “for today we own Germany and tomorrow the entire world.” The echo of that refrain reverberates in the United Nations.

Why is there an echo? Because the UN funded a bunch of things for the Palestinians, including banners that read “Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow.”

The irony is exact. The French Left remained passive in what Churchill called the last moment in which Second World War could have been prevented. Instead it allowed that Hitler had a legitimate grievance and met him with renunciations of militarism and expressions of understanding. For what, they asked, could be more German than the Rhineland? One could have rhetorically asked whether a Nazi Rhineland was the same thing.

One can only hope that this victory of a million Palestinians over 8500 Israeli settlers does not embolden them, but with banners like the one above, it must be a false hope. Muslim extremists in the region want nothing more than to eradicate the Israeli state.

I was recently polled by Zogby and answered a lot of questions about the UN. As is typical in political surveys, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the answers offered in the survey. I, for one, welcome the irritant John Bolton will be at the UN, because perhaps it has a chance to make a pearl.

I believe the role of the UN is to grease the wheels of international agreement, nothing more. Zogby's possible answers for the role of the UN, which I don't recall well anymore, were about humanitarianism, military intervention, sanctions and the like. It is when the UN does these other things, like manage Oil for Food, the Bosnian conflict, the IAEA, or push gun control, that it falls flat. The Security Council, in particular, is lousy. I feel the Security Council is an anachronism of the balance of superpowers, and should not have the power to commit the member nations of the UN to anything. Clearly there's no teeth in such agreements, so why do we go through the motions. The UN does not govern its member nations, no matter how much people wish it were true that it did.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Aug 18 2005 07:54 AM

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