The helicopters are taking off and landing now in the tsunami-shattered villages and towns. The sick are being taken for treatment. Clean water is being delivered. Food is arriving. Soon the work of reconstruction will begin.I guess they'll just have to work on their expense accounts. But then there's the big picture:
The countries doing this good work have politely agreed to acknowledge the "coordinating" role of the United Nations. But it is hard to see how precisely the rescue work would be affected if the UN's officials all stayed in New York - or indeed if the UN did not exist at all.
The UN describes its role in South Asia as one of "assessment" and "coordination." Even this, however, seems to many to be a role unnecessary to the plot. The Daily Telegraph last week described the frustration of in-country UN officials who found they had nothing to do as the Americans, Australians, Indonesians, and Malaysians flew missions.
In a notable interview on December 31, Clare Short, the former international development secretary, explained that the UN possessed a unique "moral authority", and without this authority, the relief effort would be in trouble because … well, after that it gets hazy.But its "authority" is so beloved by those of the leftoid persuasion that the rest of us get to hear about it constantly.
It is obviously not because of the UN that countries like Britain, the United States, Germany, Japan, Australia, and India are donating so generously to the countries in need. Nor, even more obviously, is it because of the UN that the afflicted countries are accepting aid. Nor again has the so-called authority of the UN induced Burma to accept any aid that Burma's rulers find politically threatening.
The UN's authority is instead one of those ineffable mystical mysteries. The authority's existence cannot be perceived by the senses and exerts no influence on the events of this world.
In a world that contains – among others – the EU, Nato, the World Trade Organisation, and literally hundreds of regional and global governmental and non-governmental associations, it seems bizarre to describe the UN as the sole legitimate international actor.I rather figured it was something like that.
But of course the UN is the only one of these actors consistently to come into conflict with the United States. It is this bias of the UN system – and not any of the UN's meagre list of achievements – that causes so many on the global Left to regard it as legitimate in a way that they do not regard, say, international treaties for the protection of patents.
More by following the link.