Skip to comments.Bolton's sin is telling truth about system (STEYN TAKES THEM TO THE WOODSHED!!)
Posted on 05/15/2005 3:24:38 AM PDT by finnigan2
Remember the tsunami? Big story, 300,000 dead; America and other rich countries too "stingy" in their response; government ministers from every capital on earth announcing on CNN every 10 minutes more and more millions and gazillions. It was in all the papers for a week or two, but not a lot of water under the bridge since then, and as a result this interesting statistic may not have caught your eye:
Five hundred containers, representing one-quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on Dec. 26, are still sitting on the dock in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed.
At the Indonesian port of Medan, 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock.
Four months ago, did you chip in to the tsunami relief effort? Did your company? A Scottish subsidiary of the Body Shop donated a 40-foot container of "Lemon Squidgit" and other premium soap, which arrived at Medan in January and has languished there ever since because of "incomplete paperwork,'' according to Indonesian customs officials.
Well, those soapy Scots were winging it -- like so many of us, eager to help but too naive to understand that, no matter the scale of devastation visited upon a hapless developing nation, its obstructionist bureaucracy will emerge from the rubble unscathed. Yet, among the exhaustive examples of wasted Western generosity unearthed by the Financial Times, what struck me was not the free-lancers but the permanent floating crap game of international high-rollers who couldn't penetrate the labyrinth of Indonesian paperwork.
Diageo sent eight 20-foot containers of drinking water via the Red Cross. "We sent it directly to the Red Cross in order to get around the red tape," explained its Sydney office. It arrived in Medan in January and it's still there. The Indonesian Red Cross lost the paperwork.
UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, sent 14 ambulances to Indonesia, and they took two months to clear customs. Terrible as it was in its awesome fury, the tsunami was in the end transnational business as usual.
Which brings me to the John Bolton nomination process, which is taking so long you'd think the U.S. Senate was run by Indonesian customs inspectors. Writing of near-Ambassador Bolton's difficulty getting his paperwork stamped by the Foreign Relations Committee, National Review's Cliff May observed that "the real debate is between those who think the U.N. needs reform -- and those who think the U.S. needs reform.''
Very true. Sen. George Voinovich, one of those "maverick Republicans" the press goes goo-goo over, seems to believe, as Cliff May puts it, "that the problem is more American 'unilateralism' than U.N. corruption, immorality, anti-Americanism and ineptitude."
On the face of it, this shouldn't be a difficult choice, even for as uncurious a squish as Voinovich. Whatever one feels about it, the United States manages to function. The U.N. apparatus doesn't. Indeed, the United States does the U.N.'s job better than the U.N. does. The part of the tsunami aid operation that worked was the first few days, when America, Australia and a handful of other nations improvised instant and effective emergency relief operations that did things like, you know, save lives, rescue people, restore water supply, etc. Then the poseurs of the transnational bureaucracy took over, held press conferences demanding that stingy Westerners needed to give more and more and more, and the usual incompetence and corruption followed.
But none of that matters. As the grotesque charade Voinovich and his Democrat chums have inflicted on us demonstrates, all that the so-called "multilateralists" require is that we be polite and deferential to the transnational establishment regardless of how useless it is. What matters in global diplomacy is that you pledge support rather than give any. Thus, Bolton would have no problem getting nominated as U.N. ambassador if he were more like Paul Martin.
Who? Well, he's prime minister of Canada. And in January, after the tsunami hit, he flew into Sri Lanka to pledge millions and millions and millions in aid. Not like that heartless George W. Bush back at the ranch in Texas. Why, Prime Minister Martin walked along the ravaged coast of Kalumnai and was, reported Canada's CTV network, "visibly shaken." President Bush might well have been shaken, but he wasn't visible, and in the international compassion league, that's what counts. So Martin boldly committed Canada to giving $425 million to tsunami relief. "Mr. Paul Martin Has Set A Great Example For The Rest Of The World Leaders!" raved the LankaWeb news service.
You know how much of that $425 million has been spent so far? Fifty thousand dollars -- Canadian. That's about 40 grand in U.S. dollars. The rest isn't tied up in Indonesian bureaucracy, it's back in Ottawa. But, unlike horrible "unilateralist" America, Canada enjoys a reputation as the perfect global citizen, renowned for its commitment to the U.N. and multilateralism. And on the beaches of Sri Lanka, that and a buck'll get you a strawberry daiquiri. Canada's contribution to tsunami relief is objectively useless and rhetorically fraudulent.
This is the way the transnational jet-set works when the entire world is in complete agreement and acting in perfect harmony. Unlike more "controversial" issues like the mass slaughter in Sudan, no Security Council member is pro-tsunami. And yet even when the entire planet is on the same side, the 24/7 lavishly funded U.N. humanitarian infrastructure can't get its act together.
When rent-a-quote senators claim to be pro-U.N. or multilateralist, the tsunami operation is what they have in mind -- that when something bad happens the United States should commit to working through the approved transnational bureaucracies and throw even more "resources" at them, even though nothing will happen (Sri Lanka), millions will be stolen (Oil for Food), children will get raped (U.N. peacekeeping operations) and hundreds of thousands will die (Sudan).
John Bolton's sin is to have spoken the truth about the international system rather than the myths to which photo-oppers like the Canadian prime minister defer. As a consequence, he's being treated like a container of Western aid being processed by Indonesian customs. Customs Inspector Joe Biden and Junior Clerk Voinovich spent two months trying to come up with reasons why Bolton's paperwork is inadequate and demanding to know why he hasn't filled out his RU1-2. An RU1-2 is the official international bureaucrat's form reassuring the global community that he'll continue to peddle all the polite fictions, no matter how self-evidently risible they are. John Bolton isn't one, too. That's why we need him.
IM-1. RU1-2? ICU8-1-2.
Steymenian genius on display.
"Canada's contribution to tsunami relief is objectively useless and rhetorically fraudulent. "
That's the Liberals in a nutshell.
I suspect a whole lot of money is sitting in pockets where it doesn't belong.
Are the liberals the nut, or the empty shell? hehehe.
Does your username mean Cat eats Radio Frequency Modulation? It's pretty original.
I'm glad Steyn is highlighting the pathetic response of the international aid community to the Tsumani. This should be an explosive issue, Worldwide. Millions of people gave out of care and compassion, and the transnational busybody class hoovered up the money and is using it for what they will. Meanwhile, the victims of the Tsunami are left to put their lives back together as best they can, ignored except for photo ops for the international elite.
Let the cleansing begin.
"Meanwhile, the victims of the Tsunami are left to put their lives back together as best they can, ignored except for photo ops for the international elite."
- I suspect that the real reason that containers of water, medicines, soap, tents and even ambulances sit on Indonesian docks is not due to official incompetence but rather they are awaiting the day when world attention shifts away and they can quietly disappear onto the black market. After all, in Indonesia as in all parts of the far east, massive corruption is not only tolerated but accepted.
When US, British, and American C-130s were deemed "too effective" in the eyes of the Muslim Indonesian government during the opening days of the Tsunami disaster--the government acted, and acted quickly.
The immediately denied all diplomatic clearances to the relief aircraft flying in medicine, doctors, rescue equipment, water, food, and shelter and reissued the aircraft on those slot times during nighttime operations.
The west had committed the "sin" of showing up their Muslim betters. Al Jazera reporters even complained to high ranking Indonesian officials that the infidels were appearing on Internationale television with their aircraft, and it had to stop.
No, I am not making this up.
I meant to say US, British, and Australian aircraft above. The Aussies were amazing.
But his "RU1-2" is filled out!
I believe most Americans realised after watching the Red Cross and their actions during 911 that a lot of what they charitably donated would be stolen or wasted. However I had no idea of thescope of theft and just plain waste in the Tsunami donations. Amazing thet containersaare still being held up. We all know most of that will be stolen. Of course even the Charities involved will not admit this is happening as it would surely slow donations in future disasters. I know for me , count me out .
Bolton is accused of doing what the Democrats accuse Bush of not doing before 9/11. Demanding better intelligence.
With democrats your damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Just unbelievable about Canada! I wonder when the mainstream media will report this story.
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