For some odd reason only Foggy Bottom dwellers will likely comprehend, the Bush Administration has invited the United Nations (UN) to help set the tone for the 2008 elections. How so? According to a UN press release issued last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will visit several U.S. cities to “gather first-hand” information on race issues.
The Senegalese lawyer will “report” his findings to the Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2009, but will likely pepper the media with sound bites at every stop in the Union. Quite frankly, we had no business inviting an official from an international organization, much less the HRC, to the U.S. to probe and poke on a matter that does not concern it. Alright, I guess that makes me a political troglodyte, but ordinary and normal Americans, those that live, work, and play, at least 50 miles from outside the Washington, DC beltway area, do not take kindly to being hectored, observed, or criticized by outsiders, much less UN officials.
The HRC member-nation representatives who sit in “judgment” of the U.S., to name a few, include China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Mexico. With the exception of Mexico, it is a pantheon of human rights abusers, xenophobes, and mostly politically backward countries that are in the Dark Ages when it comes to human rights. It is interesting that no one is really paying attention to this UN sojourn. If this were a Posse Comitatus Act expansion effort by the Bush Administration it would be front page, headline news, a civil rights issue. Armies of ACLU lawyers would be marching to federal courts to sue the government and block the effort. Yet, not so much as a legal whimper when it comes to the UN minders.
As we should have, the U.S. voted against the creation of the HRC; however, while we are not a party to it, U.S. tax-payer dollars are sent to underwrite its expenses. The HRC is the successor entity to the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC). As with the UNHRC, rather than litmus test prospective members for human rights records by using independent reviews done by NGOs and other non-interested parties, the HRC allows representatives from any country to serve.
While the HRC has no substantive powers of any real consequence, the reports, meetings, and other products that it generates can form the basis of misinformation reported as fact by media, academics, and, yes, even U.S. officials and some Members of the U.S. Congress. In the long-run, however, such an entity defeats the very purpose of international law and defense of human rights. Rest assured that unless that system of screening nations to the HRC is revamped, the HRC shall be reconstituted yet again in a few more years.
According to the UN release on the U.S. visit this upcoming week, the UN official will visit several U.S. cities from May 16 through June 6, 2008. Doudou Diène will hold meetings “both at national and local levels, and with members of the legislative and judiciary branches. Discussions will also be held with non-governmental organizations, community members, representatives of political parties, academics and other organizations and individuals working in the field of racism and discrimination.” By the way, Mr. Diène’s views on freedom of speech leave much to be desired.
Just like UN officials or peace keepers had no business in the U.S. during the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, the American political system is sufficiently transparent, open, and free that it does not need a UN Special Rapporteur to poke around our political and legal institutions. You can study it from Turtle Bay if you need to. Rather, they should focus energies and spend tax-payer dollars on visiting places such as Cuba or Saudi Arabia, places with intolerant forms of governments and political systems, thought police, and religious oppressors.
Or Mr. Diène could visit the China, where the Communist Party uses forced human organ harvesting from its political prisoners and then, in turn, sells them to organ donors around the world. And there are several countries in every region of the world it could visit where Christians are terrorized, so much so, that the clergy must remain anonymous and worshipers pray in underground churches. Or, he could start with his native Senegal that despite a child labor ban in the constitution, the country has many problems with children exploitation.
It is no coincidence that this fact-finding mission to the U.S. will end a few months before the nominating conventions. It will also not be the last time that international observers, the media, and other countries will stoke racial issues to try and set the tone for the 2008 elections. And while the Democratic Party officials claim it will not do so, rest assured that they will. As with most things at the UN, there is little transparency about this trip. The Bush Administration should rescind the invitation, but it will not. And the Congress, well, the Democratic majority may be supportive, while Republicans are in no state to do much about it. Either way, let’s hope that these and other such visit are not a new trend of UN activism on U.S. soil.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions; and nothing good will come of these trips. U.S. officials should think twice before cooperating with the UN. Until it gets its own house in order, the UN has no business reporting on American issues. This latest, seemingly benign trip, that will surely be full of diplomatic and pedantic double-speak, will simply focus on old demons fueled by the American left. Since the left is running out of issues to substantiate its existence, it must resort to keeping old issues alive. Even Democrats have to run like Republicans for Congress to get elected. There is a lesson in all of this for the GOP. Are they listening?