One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Morally bankrupt

World leaders met at the United Nations met this week and decided to do.... well, nothing really. A lot of politicians got up and spoke, the audience listened and applauded politely and they all went home.

Now, how can any organisation tasked with making the world a better, safer place to live in not agree on some basic principles?

For example, the idea that war criminals should be tried for their crimes. After World War Two, the Allies got together and held trials in Nuremburg to call senior Nazis to account. Pretty good, huh?

So a few years ago, when the United Nations established the International War Crimes Tribunal to try war criminals, why, for example, did the US not sign up? After all, they practically invented the concept at Nuremburg.

One conclusion might be that the US is worried that some of its actions in the field -- in Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, for example -- might be dodgy enough to fall under the description of "war crimes". And the US wouldn't want to hand over its perceived moral high ground for the sake of justice, would it?

I mean, why else would it not join the Tribunal?

Secondly, the UN can't seem to agree that nuclear arms are bad enough to warrant a complete ban on them, and destruction of those that exist. Sure, this is probably down to the odd rogue maniac who likes the idea of punching above his weight -- I'm thinking of Kim Jong Il here, or perhaps Charles de Gaulle -- but surely, surely.....

In fact this whole arms thing is just plain loopy. Remember Robin Cook's "ethical foreign policy"? Well, that died a quick death, didn't it? When New Labour came to power in the UK and discovered just how much money the domestic arms industry was earning in exports, I don't suppose it was too difficult to bin the ethical foreign policy in favour of a continued revenue stream.

So, the conclusion? Morals are expensive and dangerous things, while talk is cheap. Which explains why the United Nations is running out of money.


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