Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The U.S.’s Disorganized Retreat

Out of Iraq, Afghanistan — and the rest of the world.

Each week, the world visibly evolves toward a multipolar system, slowly devising new arrangements as traditional multinational structures atrophy. The United Nations is now an almost universal joke. The annual General Assembly meetings are not the draw they were, and the most publicized appearances are by lunatics, such as Ahmadinejad or Gaddafi. Dag Hammarskjöld and U Thant were among the most famous men in the world when they were secretary general of the U.N.; even Boutros Boutros-Ghali was taken somewhat seriously. Ban Ki-moon is a trivia question.
Despite the supposed cleanup after the oil-for-food disaster under Kofi Annan, in which Saddam Hussein perfected the art of draping the world body in ridicule and infamy, it is still a corrupt shambles, and the peacekeeping operations, once the stuff of vast hopes and pious intentions, is mainly a hard-currency-raising wheeze for contributing countries, who rent out their forces to the faction-heads they are supposed to be pacifying and have the effect, as in the Congo — the largest peacekeeping operation, involving nearly 30,000 peacekeepers — of escalating and brutalizing the internecine conflict. Click here for more.