Skip to comments.UNESCO to U.S.: Drop Dead!
Posted on 10/26/2005 7:00:59 AM PDT by Valin
Last Thursday, the United States was sucker-punched by an international organization. A majority of countries belonging to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to support a joint French and Canadian initiative aimed at making it easier for foreign governments to limit consumer access to American cultural products.
Most newspapers that covered the story portrayed the vote as a humiliation for the United States. (Indeed, the vote wasnt even closeonly the U.S. and Israel dissented.) The International Herald Tribune, for example, blared in its headline, U.S. All but Alone in Opposing UNESCO Cultural Pact. An A.P. story in Newsday trumpeted U.S. Out in Cold in UNESCO Diversity Pact. Our friends at the Sydney Morning Herald looked to Ahnold for inspiration: U.N. Plays Terminator to American Film Industry.
Just one day later, the Toronto-based Globe and Mail ran an opinion piece by Dr. Michael Byers, who holds a Canada research chair in global politics and international law at the University of British Columbia. His op-ed revealed some surprising means by which the Canadian government worked behind the scenes to ensure the UNESCO agreement would pass. He wrote that, as far back as 1997, Sheila Copps, then Canadian heritage minister, had already organized an international network of culture ministers and funded the formation of a parallel non-governmental association [italics added], which subsequently supported the cause of greater cultural protectionism.
This raises some interesting questions. How much did the Canadian government spend on this association? Should it be called non-governmental if a government was intimately involved in its creation? Dr. Byers did not name the association, but he may have been referring to the International Network for Cultural Diversity, a self-described world-wide network of artists and cultural groups that favors increased cultural protectionism.
Moreover, if Canada hadnt funded the formation of this non-governmental association, would the pro-treaty campaign have gotten off the ground? Does this detract at all from the UNESCO treatys legitimacy?
The U.S. earns about $80 billion a year from the export of its popular culture. While certain global, political, and cultural elites may loathe certain elements of this export, the global masses certainly do not. If hatred of U.S. popular culture had any major traction, that $80 billion figure would shrink all on its ownwithout any government intervention or UNESCO treaties. That Canada had to fund a pro-cultural protectionism group to build support for the UNESCO treaty is but one sign of the hate-Hollywood crowds isolation from mainstream global opinion.
That isolation is further manifested in the alliance required to pass the UNESCO treaty. Canada and France had to win over the despotisms of Iran and Zimbabwe, both of which belong to the Canada-based International Network on Cultural Policy. What wonderful (and increasingly predictable) bedfellows.
Respectable supporters of cultural protectionism feigned surprise when they learned that Canada and France couldnt turn down help from the mullahs of Tehran or Robert Mugabe. But theres a lesson here for Ottawa and Paris: when you find yourselves on the same side of an issue as some of the global villages top thugs, you may want to re-think your position.
Canada and France present themselves as models of cultural achievement and openness. How they can strike this pose while limiting consumer access to foreign cultural goods is a mystery. That theyre willing to cozy up to rogue states in order to get the treaty passed is a disgrace.
Neil Hrab was the 2003 Warren T. Brookes Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
What ever our government is paying to support UNESCO should be reduced by the amount American businesses stand to lose from this measure, or, better yet, just be eliminated entirely.
Hey Alec Baldwin, France doesn't want your crappy movies. But move there anyways.
If I'm reading the article correctly, the "Cultural products" are mostly movies and music. On one hand, I want to support American businesses, but OTOH the world is kinda sticking it to Hollywierd. Given the amount of crap that passes for "cultural products" these days, it might be nice to limit them here too....
While they lock our culture out, we are sponsoring and adopting more and more of outsider's culture - and making it a crime to complain.
Did i missed the good news? Baldwin moving to Frogland??? :-)
UNESCO - yet another reason for the United States to get out of the UN, withhold ALL money now going to the UN, evict every single despot in the UN building, then implode the UN building itself!! After all we do for these ingrates, this is the way they thank us!! (rant off)
If the world wants RAP...We are doomed...
But in the interest of fairness,any country that restricts our Hollywood output can expect us to limit their airplanes..TVs...cars....sugar...steel,
Better yet, we should eliminate all funding for any international organization with the letters U & N in it.
Slowly but surely the UN dissolves into fascism and sows the seeds of it's own demise.
By "cultural products" I presume they mean American movies (sorry Johnny Depp, Brad-gelina, George Clooney and Gwyneth Paltrow), American music (sorry Madonna)....and Big Macs?
Looking forward to seeing the euro/asian consumer reaction to replacement culture from Canada! Helllooo Celine Dion!
I guess ending the worldwide sex-slave trading of children will have to wait for more important issues to be settled first by UNESCO
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Bush sign back onto UNESCO as part of his bid to get the UN to support military action in Iraq? If so, Bush was double-suckered.
Talk about irony. The biggest supporters of the UN in the entire US is Hollyweird, now the UN has told them to get lost. I hate to say it, but I love it!
Why? What are they afraid of? That the consumer will prefer "American cultural products" to native culture products? Why are they afraid of this? Could it be that American marketing has hit the mark when it comes to consumer demand, while with "native cultural products" Big Unions, not consumers, are calling the shots? (Ah, yes, nothing like Albanian tennis shoes.)
And...since most US clothing products are made in China, Mexico, etc. isn't this stance against "American cultural products" a kind of back-handed slap at the workers China, Mexico, etc.?
Or could this whole resolution be nothing but a kind of deliberate waspishness, a sort of "Ha! So there! Whatta you gonna do now, Mister Bigshot?" attitude.
And last but not least there's the Versailles mentality of the signers of this resolution. The soft condescension of the aristocrats/anointed acting for the "good" of the great-unwashed of their people. Considering the grown men and women of their countries as little more than children who can not be left to make decisions on their own.