Tag Archives: UN

“Open covenants, openly arrived at” That whishing sound is Woodrow Wilson, for the nth time turning in his grave, as Pres. Obama defies the World War I president’s cardinal point in the search of “a permanent peace”. The leaks picked up by visiting Congressmen to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna inform us that there are secret “protocols” to the announced agreement Obama has slipped through with the mullahs in Tehran. Like so much that has already been rationalized about the “deal”, some of our pseudo-sophisticate talking heads claim that is always the way with such undertakings. But they add – although we are still not sure what they are exactly – these new secret dimensions add to a vague and failed effort to block Tehran from developing intercontinental weapons of mass destruction. That, we remind our readers, was the original intent announced so many times by members of the Obama Administration. Instead, at best and we are giving everyone concerned the benefit of the doubt, we have an agreement that would permit Iran to have all the makings of a nuclear weapon and its delivery system to these very shores. But out of the goodness of their heart and a system of international inspection, they would not choose to actually make a weapon – at least for a decade or so. It is hard to exaggerate the failings of this so-called agreement: • There is a long history of the Tehran mullahs hiding developments from the international community. Especially when the UN IAEA has had lackluster chairmen, it has been ignorant of Tehran’s violations of its signature to non-proliferation agreements. In fact, our first knowledge of their uranium activities came to us from the Persian exile community, some 17 years after they had begun, not from the UN body. • Despite their denials, by their own quotations, spokesmen for the Administration have contradicted their earlier claims that any agreement would leave the mullahs open to immediate inspection at any time. Under what purports to be the agreement – is this too covered by other secret protocols? – we would now get inspection rights after we asked them and gave them up to 24 days to destroy any evidence. • What really upsets us, however, is all this talk of what happens a decade or more from now. Would anyone really try to make any prediction about the Middle East a few months from now, much less a few years, on the basis of what has gone passed us in the last few months, not to say years? • Certainly by releasing the mullahs from the economic sanctions Washington so laboriously put together and the flood of trade, capital and technology which will now flow to them, Iran’s situation vis-à-vis the U.S. and its regional neighbors will be completely changed in a matter of months. To talk about “snap-back” sanctions which would be put into place if and when they were found to violating the terms of the “deal”, is equally ludicrous. • Obama’s reliance on the UN is therefore in every sense nonsensical. Going there for an endorsement of the “deal” before the Congress has had a chance to examine it – with or without the newly discovered secret protocols – was an affront to the American people’s representatives. The UN imprimatur on the “deal” in no way strengthens it. Would the UN Security Council – given the Russian and Chinese veto over its long history of inadequacies in international emergencies – really act in the face of flagrant violations of the covenant the Five + 1 have now made with the mullahs under American leadership? Remembering Wilson’s admonitions, which like so much the idealistic if largely unsuccessful President did not achieve at the end of The Great War, we may again be facing a terrible dilemma: Obama has made the prestige of the international organization now as part of the “deal” he has wangled with the mullahs. In addition to the domestic political calculations — particularly Democratic — Senators and Congressmen must make, they must also now decide if the American legislative branch is to take on a confrontation with the UN. That smacks all too much of Wilson’s failure to persuade the U.S. even to accept membership much less the leadership of his proposal for international government, the League of Nations. And that, alas! contributed mightily to the long series of misadventures of the 1930s when American chose “isolationalism” and then “neutrality” and then, finally, plunged into World War II. Just as Obama has led the U.S. and the rest of the world into this Iranian disaster, it now behooves the greatest statesmanship on the part of the Congress to retrieve any part of the situation for peace and stability. sws-07-23-15


“Open covenants, openly arrived at”
That whishing sound is Woodrow Wilson, for the nth time turning in his grave, as Pres. Obama defies the World War I president’s cardinal point in the search of “a permanent peace”.
The leaks picked up by visiting Congressmen to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna inform us that there are secret “protocols” to the announced agreement Obama has slipped through with the mullahs in Tehran. Like so much that has already been rationalized about the “deal”, some of our pseudo-sophisticate talking heads claim that is always the way with such undertakings.
But they add – although we are still not sure what they are exactly – these new secret dimensions add to a vague and failed effort to block Tehran from developing intercontinental weapons of mass destruction. That, we remind our readers, was the original intent announced so many times by members of the Obama Administration.
Instead, at best and we are giving everyone concerned the benefit of the doubt, we have an agreement that would permit Iran to have all the makings of a nuclear weapon and its delivery system to these very shores. But out of the goodness of their heart and a system of international inspection, they would not choose to actually make a weapon – at least for a decade or so.
It is hard to exaggerate the failings of this so-called agreement:
• There is a long history of the Tehran mullahs hiding developments from the international community. Especially when the UN IAEA has had lackluster chairmen, it has been ignorant of Tehran’s violations of its signature to non-proliferation agreements. In fact, our first knowledge of their uranium activities came to us from the Persian exile community, some 17 years after they had begun, not from the UN body.
• Despite their denials, by their own quotations, spokesmen for the Administration have contradicted their earlier claims that any agreement would leave the mullahs open to immediate inspection at any time. Under what purports to be the agreement – is this too covered by other secret protocols? – we would now get inspection rights after we asked them and gave them up to 24 days to destroy any evidence.
• What really upsets us, however, is all this talk of what happens a decade or more from now. Would anyone really try to make any prediction about the Middle East a few months from now, much less a few years, on the basis of what has gone passed us in the last few months, not to say years?
• Certainly by releasing the mullahs from the economic sanctions Washington so laboriously put together and the flood of trade, capital and technology which will now flow to them, Iran’s situation vis-à-vis the U.S. and its regional neighbors will be completely changed in a matter of months. To talk about “snap-back” sanctions which would be put into place if and when they were found to violating the terms of the “deal”, is equally ludicrous.
• Obama’s reliance on the UN is therefore in every sense nonsensical. Going there for an endorsement of the “deal” before the Congress has had a chance to examine it – with or without the newly discovered secret protocols – was an affront to the American people’s representatives. The UN imprimatur on the “deal” in no way strengthens it. Would the UN Security Council – given the Russian and Chinese veto over its long history of inadequacies in international emergencies – really act in the face of flagrant violations of the covenant the Five + 1 have now made with the mullahs under American leadership?
Remembering Wilson’s admonitions, which like so much the idealistic if largely unsuccessful President did not achieve at the end of The Great War, we may again be facing a terrible dilemma: Obama has made the prestige of the international organization now as part of the “deal” he has wangled with the mullahs. In addition to the domestic political calculations — particularly Democratic — Senators and Congressmen must make, they must also now decide if the American legislative branch is to take on a confrontation with the UN.
That smacks all too much of Wilson’s failure to persuade the U.S. even to accept membership much less the leadership of his proposal for international government, the League of Nations. And that, alas! contributed mightily to the long series of misadventures of the 1930s when American chose “isolationalism” and then “neutrality” and then, finally, plunged into World War II.
Just as Obama has led the U.S. and the rest of the world into this Iranian disaster, it now behooves the greatest statesmanship on the part of the Congress to retrieve any part of the situation for peace and stability.
sws-07-23-15

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Get in line, UN
We are not in that fanatical group of UN-haters who blame most of the world’s ills on the international conclave. In a world of perennial crisis, increasingly rapid communications and shortened distances, there certainly needs to be an international forum for open-ended discussion, and perhaps, when adequately safeguarded, a base for combined multinational action.
But we do have our list, a quite long one, of criticisms. And we have waited long years for another stalwart American UN representative such as the late Jeane Kirkpatrick who tried, not all that successfully as it turn out, to bring Washington pressure for some reform to the body.
We also remember that it is the US [and its ally Japan] who pick up by far the largest part of the tab for the organizations’ long list of growing activities around the world. {For example, in 2014-15 its estimated $7 billion for military costs for “peacekeeping” around the world, Washington and Tokyo picked up more than 40%, and that will increase now that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has received permission from the Japanese parliament to join multilateral overseas military operations.]
At a time of straitened resources for the U.S. government, we ought to go checking out the accounting. It’s hard to know just how much the American taxpayer actually gives the UN and its affiliated organizations. The nominal American contributions come from the State Department and AID [U.S. Agency for International Development]. But literally hundreds of millions of dollars are paid into UN activities by various American government agencies, including the Department of Agriculture to the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Fund, the Department of Energy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services to the World Health Organization.
Congress has asked for an accounting of these funds but only once, for 2010, did it get a full scoresheet. That was for FY 2010 when payments exceeded $7.691 billion, and to give you an idea of what is happening, that figure was some $1.3 billion higher than FY 2009.
But what has raised our hackles and ignited the whole question again is Pres. Obama’s outrageous announcement that he will short-circuit the U.S. Congress and go to the UN Security Council for an endorsement of his “deal” with Iran. Given the fact that Russia and China both hold seats with vetoes on the Council, and that both are all too eager to begin dipping into the billions which will accrue to Iran if Obama’s “deal” is accepted and sanctions are lifted, that is adding insult to injury.
The Congress, which by the most specific terms of the U.S. Constitution has the authority to approve all treaties negotiated by the President, has voted to take a 60-day look at the “deal”. .It’s a quibble for the White House to insist the Iran deal is an “executive agreement” and not a treaty, and to call up precedents to bolster their case. The fact is that it is “a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries” for which the Constitution specifically requires Senate confirmation. And no one has argued that it is less than critical to the conduct of American policy in one of the most volatile areas of the world.
It is no secret that many in the Congress see Obama’s agreement to permit Iran to become “a threshold nuclear state”, that is one capable of producing weapons of mass destruction but agreeing to forebearance, at least for a limited time. Nor has it escaped them that at the last moment, the U.S. side threw in a lifting of sanctions on missile technology and weaponry, something both Russia and China are all too anxious to sell to Iran’s growing capacity to launch interncontinental ballistics missiles, even at the U.S.
Obama says his critics have no alternative, except military intervention and he became president pledging to take the U.S. out of wars in the Middle East, not to initiate a new one. That line of argument may again be as debatable as his prognostications about what future presidents would face years from now in a region where alliances are changing by the month..
But all of this should be argued and presented to the American people’s representatives. Its discussion should certainly not be short-circuited by the President’s going to the UN first.
Nothing would so inflame the politically aware in the U.S. body politic than such action. It is probably the best way to undermine further any credibility of the UN in the minds of the American people. We hope the President will back off this disastrous maneuver.
sws-07-19-15