President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that “Normal practices of diplomacy…are of no possible use in dealing with international outlaws.”
Rather than listen to FDR’s advice, President Barack Obama squandered yet another opportunity to confront today’s international outlaws during his annual visit to the United Nations. He delivered his usual meaningless platitudes to the United Nations General Assembly during his speech on September 23, 2010 – just like he did last year. He talked in generalities – ignoring the elephants in the room of Islamic-inspired terrorism, Iran’s clear and present danger to world peace and security, and the human rights abuses by the countries running the United Nations Human Rights Council that Obama decided the United States should legitimize by joining.
President Obama’s September 23rd speech to the General Assembly was his second UN speech of the week. It followed his pledge the day before, during the United Nations sponsored summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), to meet commitments to the United Nations for more development aid to fight poverty, disease, sub-standard education, infant and maternal mortality and gender inequality. In other words, Obama is willing to transfer many more billions of dollars of wealth from hard-working American taxpayers to developing countries, much of it through the same United Nations that was culpable in the oil-for-food scandal that enriched Saddam Hussein and his buddies. Obama also pledged in his MDG speech to lead efforts to revamp the global development process in order to make it more accountable. However, he offered nothing that the Bush administration had not already tried.
When Obama returned to address the General Assembly again the next day, during the official opening of this year’s General Assembly session, he renewed his naive and dangerous calls for “a world without nuclear weapons” that he championed at the UN last year.
Obama touched very lightly and in broad general terms during his September 23rd speech on the continuing global threat of terrorism, which he inexplicably lumped together with unrelated issues such as the “financial crisis on Wall Street.” He referred to the “men, women and children…murdered by extremists from Casablanca to London; from Jalalabad to Jakarta,” but left out the one crucial ingredient common to all of these massacres: the murderers were Islamic jihadists who committed their crimes against humanity in the name of Allah.
By carefully avoiding any association of radical Islamic ideology with most of the acts of terrorism occurring around the world today, Obama missed an opportunity to use his global platform to confront the source of this evil while the world was watching.
Obama did solemnly exhort his General Assembly audience to “not stand idly by when dissidents everywhere are imprisoned and protesters are beaten. Because part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others.” Too bad that he has not followed his own advice.
Obama has remained on the sidelines while dissidents in Iran were beaten, thrown into jail, tortured and, in some cases, killed. The courageous opponents of the ruthless rulers of Iran’s Islamic theocracy were waiting for the leader of the free world to speak out on their behalf from the world’s stage. Protesters were shouting on behalf of democracy in Iran right across the street from UN headquarters. But Obama offered them no hope. He gave the Iranian regime a free pass on its abysmal human rights record.
Obama also missed the opportunity to target the dysfunctional UN Human Rights Council for criticism. Recall that the rationale for his administration’s decision to join this misnamed UN circus of human rights abusers was to obtain the leverage to reform it from within. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Instead, the UN Human Rights Council continues to go after Israel while ignoring genocides and wars against humanity around the globe. And the Council – with American acquiescence – continues to pass resolutions declaring ‘defamation of religions’ (i.e., criticism of Islam) to be a violation of international law.
With regard to Iran, Obama told the General Assembly that “the door remains open to diplomacy,” while repeating toothless warnings of consequences if Iran does not accept his “extended hand” and “confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program.” Nobody is taking Obama’s warnings seriously, least of all the Iranian regime. A year after he issued similar warnings from the UN podium and months after watered-down sanctions were approved by the UN Security Council, Iran is much closer to achieving its nuclear arms ambitions.