U.N. irrelevant, inadequate

Voters must consider the grave implications of Kerry’s multilateral foreign-policy vision.

U.N. officials estimate that in the Dafur region of Sudan, as many as 50,000 people have been killed and another 1.5 million are now refugees. More innocent civilians are being raped, murdered and displaced from their homes daily. The United Nations’ weak and ineffectual response to the Sudanese genocide illustrates the contemporary irrelevance of the organization and the inadequacy of a U.N.-based multilateral foreign policy.

On Sept. 18, in response to the failure of the Sudanese government to make verifiable progress toward ensuring the security of civilians in Dafur, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1564. Unfortunately, the resolution does little more than demonstrate the organization’s weakness.

Resolution 1564 expresses “grave concern” over the lack of progress in Sudan, supports “proactive monitoring” of the situation by the African Union and urges all U.N. member nations to help provide the African Union with the necessary financial aid and equipment. Furthermore, the resolution threatens to “consider” imposing economic sanctions in the event Sudan does not comply with the U.N. resolution. Making matters worse, the Chinese, who abstained from the vote, clearly expressed their intent to veto any future U.N. Security Council proposals to impose sanctions.

In translation, the resolution warns the Sudanese government that if it doesn’t take action to prevent the systematic slaughter of innocent civilians within 30 days, the United Nations is going to meet again to “consider” imposing economic sanctions that the Chinese have guaranteed will fail. When the U.N. Security Council is unable to do more than convene a meeting in response to genocide, it is time to re-evaluate the organization’s relevance.

The mass murder in Sudan is just one example of a long list of crises that the United Nations has failed to prevent or even halt. Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia and Saddam Hussein’s continual flouting of the United Nations also come to mind. This is the same organization that recently installed Sudan on the U.N. Human Rights Committee. The United Nations’ track record demonstrates that the international body is no longer a viable means of ensuring collective security. Instead, capable regional coalitions, such as the African Union, should be built up to deal with problems such as Sudan.

Transitioning, the United Nations’ impotent response should also call into question the wisdom of a U.N.-based multilateral foreign policy, a policy President George W. Bush has been criticized for departing from, and a policy that has resonated in Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s foggy foreign-policy vision. Predictably, Kerry has disparaged Bush’s foreign policy as “arrogant” and “unilateral.”

As an initial matter, the liberal labeling of Bush’s military actions as “unilateral” is untrue. To name only a few allies: Britain, Italy, Australia, Turkey and Japan all supported the war in Iraq. The U.S. action in Iraq can only be described as multilateral. The real liberal complaint, then, is that Bush’s action was not multilateral enough. But how much is enough for Kerry, and what is he willing to sacrifice in the name of multilateral support?

While international consensus will always be important and beneficial to U.S. foreign policy in terms of public opinion and military resources, what the left must learn- full-scale international consensus- is often impossible and never a viable end in itself. The blessing of the French, Russians or Germans means nothing if the only thing agreed upon is the time of a future meeting or another vacuous threat. The fact that the U.N. Security Council comes to an agreement does not, in itself, make anyone safer. Instead, in the name of international consensus, security, safety and lives are sacrificed. I am confident the innocent victims in Dafur would say so much.

Thankfully, Sept. 11, 2001, has made the right-thinking part of this country realize national security is the non-negotiable priority of government. Rightfully, Bush has already parted from a U.N.-based foreign policy, unwilling to allow national security to be held hostage by a liberal, idyllic notion of the multilateral ideal. As the presidential election approaches, voters must seriously consider the grave implications of Kerry’s multilateral foreign-policy vision and ask whether it will make the United States safer.

Bryan Freeman welcomes comments at [email protected]