It comes as no surprise to me that the UN debate was marked with anti-US sentiment.(Sept 22nd Analysis by AP on MSNBC) What does not surprise me also is the vociferous debate within America and the public expressions of love or hate for the US President and this administration. I have come to understand that in a free republic, everything in the middle and the extremes will exist. I do, however, strongly object to the US president being called ‘a devil’ in a public forum such as the UN, at a time of war.
Considering that the Pope has been strong-armed into apology by public opinion and censure, it is a matter of concern that the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s description of the highest American office was greeted with laughter and applause. It is a not that the world is unable to believe that the US is acting in its interest any more, it is a world cowed by Islamists and in denial of the more difficult challenge facing the nations.
How do we address that growing group of leaders in the world who refuse to address poverty, poor governance, and limited education opportunities within their internal governments and wrestle instead for public power and influence? How can we condemn the US and as member nations of the UN refrain from addressing the violence erupting from within those nations?
There is a simple attitude problem that needs to be addressed in this august UN assembly. The UN panel members are grown men in expensive business suits, dressed to the nines for a public occasion, snickering like children in a schoolyard, unable to confront the real bullies and enforce discipline. I cannot put my faith in the UN, or in my member government as yet, because I have not seen exemplary leadership suited for an international society arising from either end. I say as yet, because there is hope. Malaysian Prime Minister, Mr. Abdullah Badawi’s acceptance of the US President’s assurance that the Pope was not being malicious in his intent is a huge step in the right direction. Unlike Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar who held on to his grievance, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi demonstrated his proficiency as an Islamic scholar in a believable manner. We are at a point in history when we require great minds, integrity and committment to end the senseless violence in this world.
I wonder if the Venezuelan citizens understand that they are footing the bill for their President Hugo Chavez to travel to New York City to mock the President of another country, easily a 1000 x more successful than Venezuela? Is this international diplomacy? I had imagined that member countries send their leaders to an august forum to establish relationships to help develop their economies and secure employment for their citizens. The nuts and bolts of the world economy/affairs runs parallel to the less august basics of the personal household; our attitude as a world community, in these times, need not be esoteric. Quite simply, if the head of my household is sent to an august assembly, he had better return with some meat and potatoes for the children (posterity) and not a Jack and the Beanstalk coloring book.
Before we applaud the likes of Hugo Chavez, we need to examine the reality of the post war situations in Germany and Japan. As the United States forgave its enemies and helped rebuild these countries, the Germans and Japanese in turn cooperated and forgave their enemies and accepted the help. If we are not seeing the same spirit of cooperation in Iraq than the august assembly of the UN needs to adopt a sterner approach and begin to work with the OIC to end the problem of sectarian war and terrorism.
As regards America’s ‘troubled image‘ in the world, I think it is time for Americans here and abroad to understand the team they are rooting for. An image is just that, an image, a perception and not the reality. I am no game player but I do think that one or several ill or not fully considered moves by a team member/player cannot imply that we switch sides mid-game. Whoever is going to be US President in 2008 from whatever party, needs all the best ideas and great minds this nation is capable of. The game is not over.
On self-reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Why should we assume the faults of our friend, or wife, or father, or child, because they sit around our hearth, or we are said to have the same blood? All men have my blood and I have all men’s. Not for that will I adopt their petulance or folly, even to the extent of being ashamed of it.” America became a great nation working, shirt-sleeves rolled up and hand to the plough. Let’s get behind the President and work for the peace we seek to see here and abroad.