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Anti-Idiotarian Coalition/United Blogging Nation?
May 2, 2002 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Anti-Idiotarian Coalition/United Blogging Nation? It seems all this talk of UN bias has has some bloggers so frustrated and angry that they feel it's time to band together as a political force, and the beginnings of a movement are taking shape. Legal actions, media attention, and even a full fledged political party are all ideas that have been bandied about. They already have a couple of legal eagles and prominent blogging figures offering services/resources. All they need now are t-shirts. Oh wait, they have those too. One Nation, under Blog...
posted by mikhail (15 comments total)

 
They need a slogan. How about:

Get US out! of the United Nations.

Oh wait, that's already taken.
posted by feckless at 1:55 PM on May 2, 2002


boy, Ben Franklin would be proud.


foggy bog
floggy blog
boggy flog
i predict that someone is creating a random generator...as we type...
posted by clavdivs at 1:59 PM on May 2, 2002


You have to admire the staunch resistance to the facts among the "anti-idiotarian" crowd. They'll banish an organization that through UNICEF and many other efforts has saved the lives of millions, simply because they don't like the fact that an organization of world governments doesn't always like what the U.S. and its allies are doing. One of them even brags that he took donations for UNICEF as a kid and pocketed the money! The comparison to the Birchers is apt.
posted by rcade at 2:20 PM on May 2, 2002


That movement's taking shape about like my movements after a night of unfiltered microbrew.
posted by chino at 2:32 PM on May 2, 2002


Reactionary dilettantes unite!
posted by raaka at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2002


Wow. What a hateful group of people. So much bile you'd need a protective suit.

Hey, y'all have had a metafilter thread devoted to this. Better watch out for the bitter pacifists.

Oh, they so fun-ny. At least they get to throw their money away on a thankfully fruitless mission.
posted by riviera at 3:21 PM on May 2, 2002


What's sad, Rogers, is that an organization that has done good has pissed away so much credibility with insanely biased "racism" conferences and bully pulpits on "human rights" from the likes of Syria. Heck, even Jesse Helms had reconciled himself after years of stubbornness. But even those who shared the general perception that the UN probably did more good on balance and remained unconcerned either way because the UN's business didn't seem to have all that much to do with our own have been dismayed to see it work to actively frustrate American foreign policy since 9/11, while continuing with its habitual coddling of the Saddams and other assorted despots and clowns. It's really not surprising that people are mad at it, even if they don't understand the subtleties and complexities of such a vast and unstructured body.

One should ask a reasonable question: Is the existence of all the other parts necessary for the existence of one? Is the UN of UNICEF the same UN as the parts that most annoy people, John Birchers or more reasonable? I don't think it's necessarily so -- quite apart from the different funding mechanisms of the component parts and the associated NGOs like WHO. UNICEF could still exist without the UN.

That said, of course this is a quixotic little movement. It's not going to happen, largely because despite its faults the US still finds plenty of use for the UN, particularly through the Security Council's influence in world policy, and in time the anger will pass. More to the point, if the UN didn't exist, somebody would have to invent it -- there's clearly a niche filled by having such a world body and if it were to disappear tomorrow it would rise again in some other form.

The ideas sometimes put forth by UN critics of a real "club for democracy" have some merit, although the experience since the end of the Cold War has been that democracy has largely spread without much prodding at all. Unfortunately, many of the holdouts are Arab and Muslim nations -- and almost universally these "anti-democracies" are bitterly opposed to Israel. For reasons of political division and demographics their voice in UN bodies is many times Israel's, as well. Yet UN regional policy could almost be written in these decidedly autocratic capitals.

The real tragedy is that a UN with credibility could be even more useful. As in the lgf link, the obsession, the fifty years' involvement, with the question of Israel and Palestine has distorted the mission and moral clarity of at least particular component parts of the UN.

Compare, for instructiveness's sake, the stubbornly sober criticisms of the Jenin action by Human Rights Watch. They refused to give in to the early propaganda, and as such when they say they may have reason to point out specific things that Israel did wrong there, they will be listened to. By contrast, the UN's chief negotiator Terje Roed-Larssen, despite his long years in the region and his reputation gained from setting up the Oslo accords, almost immediately began using words like "massacre" and "atrocity" and spent several more days trying to pretend he hadn't. Now, some can say that Israel's intransigence and lockdown almost begged for that sort of reaction, but Larssen ought to have known better. Maybe he doesn't care about his reputation in Israel and the US, but he should be aware that taking sides so overtly will probably mean he should expect to be sidelined down the road. He certainly didn't seem to think that keeping the trust of both sides was his job; he became an advocate.

I think, after five decades, we can say that the UN's Middle East policy has been an abject failure. Worst of all, this failure tragically puts at risk the rest of the organization -- and yes, all the good it does.
posted by dhartung at 4:35 PM on May 2, 2002


Maybe he doesn't care about his reputation in Israel and the US, but he should be aware that taking sides so overtly will probably mean he should expect to be sidelined down the road.

I think, after five decades, we can say that the UN's Middle East policy has been an abject failure. Worst of all, this failure tragically puts at risk the rest of the organization -- and yes, all the good it does.

Change a few details and you're talking about the US.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:40 PM on May 2, 2002


Compare, for instructiveness's sake, the stubbornly sober criticisms of the Jenin action by Human Rights Watch

Excellent point, however something tells me the constiuency behind the neo-anti-UN feelings isn't going to give much credence to Human Rights Watch either.

However I would take issue with the idea that the UN's MidEast policy has been an 'abject failure,' at least more or less so than any other group's attempts. Virtually every country in the world (including the United States and a sizable chunk of Israel) has agreed with the principal conclusions of the UN, which is that a Palestinian state must be established in something close to the 1967 borders. The failing of the UN is not in its policy, which is accepted just about everywhere except for the US congress, but in implementation. The simple fact is that the UN does not have the power to enforce resolutions without the support of the United States. Even though in theory the US supports Resolution 242, the political will is not there to enforce it with sanctions or military action.

So, in my opinion to say that UN Middle East policy, which at its heart is the world's policy, is a failure isn't quite accurate. The failure rests with implementation of the policy, not the policy itself. And this will always be the UN's problem.
posted by cell divide at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2002


Massive overestimation of influence. Massive.
posted by blissbat at 6:35 PM on May 2, 2002


What's sad, Rogers, is that an organization that has done good has pissed away so much credibility with insanely biased "racism" conferences and bully pulpits on "human rights" from the likes of Syria.

Why should we expect an organization of world governments to always be credible, when so much of the world is run by dictators and other non-representative despots?

Of course some things are going to come from parts of the UN that we disagree with. But on the whole, the importance of the UN as an established framework for world dialogue, cooperation, health care, and peace-keeping is as important today as it was when the group was founded in 1945. So much good comes from the UN that I think it would be tragic isolationist lunacy to give up on it today.

I don't recognize the UN as it has always been portrayed by the rabid right wing in my lifetime. I see the one envisioned by Harold Stassen and 1,400 others, who deserve a great deal of credit for avoiding World War III when many people believed it was inevitable.

Stassen spent the last years of his life continuing to speak up for the UN: "I think people are more and more realizing we do need a United Nations, and I think we need a better one when you think in terms of what the next 40 or 50 years might bring," he said in a C-Span interview. Sadly, I don't think Stassen was right. The number of misguided people who want to abolish the group seems to be growing with each passing year.

If we want to improve the quality of the UN, let's start helping all the people of the world achieve representative government, not just the ones who suit our geopolitical goals. We'll get a better UN (and a better US).
posted by rcade at 7:54 PM on May 2, 2002


Also:

I think, after five decades, we can say that the UN's Middle East policy has been an abject failure.

I think after 10 decades, the Middle East policy of every government involved in crafting it has been a failure. There's enough blame to circle the globe.
posted by rcade at 8:03 PM on May 2, 2002


Ach. Their use of the term anti-idiotarian is the purest definition of irony I've ever seen.

Cases like Little Green Football's are tragic. It's clear from their dialogue that the concept of a grey area, the idea that the rest of the world aren't all stupid, and the practice of actually finding out both sides to a story are all completely alien to them. LGF used to be one of the better blogs out there. Since 9/11, it's alienated itself to the point where it's effectively become a closed community, working itself into a feedback loop where the 'community' cultivate their conspiracy theories.

Oh, and if you're considering joining their community, it's customary to kneel down and fellate the posters for their amazing ability to coin new terms (such as saudi peace sham, the daily wanker, and, yes, idiotarian.
posted by Jongo at 3:41 AM on May 3, 2002


Oh, and if you're considering joining their community, it's customary to kneel down and fellate the posters

Bullshit. LGF has some regulars in their comments section who clog it up with garbage, but so does MetaFilter (not that I'd cast the first stone).
posted by StOne at 6:27 AM on May 3, 2002


Well, Human Rights Watch announced its findings, and it's about what I expected: no massacre, but "any of the civilians were killed willfully or unlawfully" and the civilian casualties "in some cases appear to be war crimes." I'm curious as to whether Dan is right about warbloggers giving the HRW report any more credence than a possible U.N. report, but I suspect they will not.
posted by snarkout at 7:44 AM on May 3, 2002


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