Sunday, January 02, 2005

Zing!

On the first day Anthony decided to indulge himself in a rant about a VDH article. And he indulged himself and saw that it was Good. And on the second day, Anthony decided to indulge himself in a rant about the United Nations. And he indulged himself and saw that it was Good. In his humble opinion. And yea, verily did Clare Short emerge to bitcheth about the USA and all his prejudices were thusly confirmed and his argument was made for him.

Former Cabinet minister Clare Short has criticised the US-led tsunami aid coalition, saying the UN should be leading efforts.


I have no strongly held ideological view on this matter. There are arguments for UN leadership and arguments against. On the one hand, the UN can offer a lot by way of co-ordination and a lot by way of experienced staff. On the other hand it is to all intents and purposes an enormous Middle Man. Most of the delivery infrastructure and all of the cash is going to have to be donated by individual member states anyway. So colour me agnostic and utilitarian on this one - whatever works best, go with it. Now is not the time for ideological politics of either a Left or Right wing variety.

She said only the UN had the "moral authority" to lead the relief work....

"Only really the UN can do that job," she told BBC Radio Four's PM programme.

"It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers."

Ms Short said the countries involved could not boast good records on their response to major disasters.

There's a fairly fundamental problem with this line of reasoning and that's that it's bollocks. The UN is emerging from a storm of corruption, financial and otherwise and is staffed by international bureaucrats the calibre of which varies from superb to hopelessly corrupt. It can only operate using funds and logistical support provided by its member states. I doubt that anybody encountering this will be arguing that the USA has no moral authority to adminster aid.

As I say, I am undecided as to which body is best served to administer aid at this stage. It seems to me that we should make any judgement based on results. Clare Short, however, has offered herself up as a case study of the sort of thing I've been talking about by engaging in a load of meaningless boilerplate about "moral authority" and other such whimsical nonsense.

The fact of the matter, of course, is that with Clare Short it has always been in large part about Clare Short. She shares with Tony Benn (don't even begin to commence to think about the possibility of getting me started...) a passion for touting her noisy conscience around the television and radio stations, though in fairness she has perhaps achieved rather more (though if you consider the Bennite accomplishment of keeping the Labour Party in the political wildrness throughout the 1980s an achievement then you might argue the toss...).



4 Comments:

Blogger Rik said...

This is a great blog you have here.
Very interesting to read, so I bookmarked it.
greets:)
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[My blog][avatars and funny stuff]

5:50 PM  
Blogger Rik said...

This is a great blog you have here.
Very interesting to read, so I bookmarked it.
greets:)
------------------------------
[My blog][avatars and funny stuff]

5:52 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Very kind of you to say so. Abuse would have done almost as well, as I think we were all beginning to wonder whether anybody was actually reading, but compliments, well, you've just got yourself into my good books.

Good luck with your exams!

Anthony

6:30 PM  
Blogger Josh Jasper said...

Hmm. It's hard to call a group that includes Lybia, China, Iran and Sudan 'Moral'. It's certainly not more moral than the US. I'm willing to consider that it's better equipped to handle responses to a catastrophe though. God knows someone ought to be a central decision maker, and the US balking at accepting UN orders just show how amazingly petty Bush can be.

2:28 AM  

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