Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Irrational exuberance
Written by: Beck

One thing I'm seldom--if ever--accused of is possession of a surplus of optimism. But I'm beginning to feel just a tinge of it with regard to the United Nations. Yeah, yeah, of all the things to actually be optimistic about, this is probably the single least likely candidate. But read on.

First of all, I was reading a post over at Protein Wisdom highlighting this excellent article over at the Weekly Standard. I'll go ahead and excerpt from the article briefly--not because it's central to my main point; rather, because it merits quotation.
Those who think (or hope) that the U.N. will fade into irrelevance fail to consider the enormous and very valuable benefits the Charter confers on aggressive outlaw states. The most important of these is the elimination of what lawyers call "self-help" enforcement: the right to enforce one's rights unilaterally. Before the Charter came into existence, your violation of a treaty triggered my right to enforce the terms of the treaty by force. Today I need the Security Council's permission. This encourages violators to do as they please and hide behind the Charter, knowing that law-abiding states will face an unpleasant choice between legitimacy and security.

The problem's roots go deeper than many U.N. critics realize: The United Nations is in a sense systematically destroying international law. In his magisterial 1950 commentary on the U.N. Charter, the Austrian-American jurist Hans Kelsen wrote, "To the extent a Member is deprived of its right of self-help, enforcement action of the Organization must actually take place, otherwise the Organization constitutes, instead of an improvement, a dangerous deterioration in the content of general international law." The reason is simple: A rule that carries no penalty for violations does not rise to the level of law and is at best merely a voluntary norm.

Consider the International Atomic Energy Agency's disastrous Iran policy. Here the Annan panel report makes among the most intelligent of all its recommendations: It adopts President Bush's far-reaching proposals for reform of the nonproliferation regime. The panel recognizes that enrichment and reprocessing capabilities constitute a threat, even though they may technically be legal under the nonproliferation treaty.
Back to my main point--my sudden discover of a measure of optimism--reading Jeff's post triggered an idea in my head which I promptly jotted down in the post's comments section. Rereading that today, I decided it was important & relevant enough to reprint here. And yes, I did just spend six paragraphs to say, "I'm going to reprint something I wrote elsewhere." Anyway, here's what I had to say (in all its unedited glory--enjoy the subject-verb agreement errors, tense changes, and general rambling):
Having just done two anti-UN posts myself, then seeing this one, a heart-warming thought popped into my head: anti-UN sentiment has reached critical mass.

I see it everywhere now. When it was just Instapundit taking the UNSCAM details as they emerged and running with it, well, it got a broad audience, but it still had the feel of a lone voice in the woods. Even with plenty of other blogs linking to Reynolds's work on the subject, it remained one man's private crusade.

Now, you can't miss the feeling in the air. There has been a change. Editorials are popping up everywhere. Pundits and officials from the other side of the isle have become openly critical of an institution once regarded as a Sacred Cow of the Left.

I think the end of the election was the key event. For one thing, Bush's victory constituted an endorsement of US policy of invading Iraq--a policy increasingly at odds with the noises coming out of the UN and Kofi Annan. More importantly though, it denied the blogosphere--which this election really began to flex its muscle and become conscious of its influence and power--of its main discussion topic. The occasional Ohio/Washington recount story, voting fraud story, and "What's wrong with the Democratic Party?" story still popped up, but they lack the spirit (and the volume) of months past. The excitement that existed on the right during RatherGate and on the left with the debut of Fahrenheit 9/11 just wasn't there anymore. There was a vacuum.

The UN filled it.

I know it sounds a touch on the ludicrously optimistic side, but I really think this movement could have long term impact. It could be the resignation of Kofi Annan (which won't be enough for me, but which will quiet down much of the anti-UN criticism and bog down the discussion in blather about "reform"). It could be the formation of a Democratic Nations Caucus within the UN. It could even be--though I'm not betting on it--the USA's withdrawal from the UN.

Either that, or I picked a hell of a week to quit smoking crack.
Am I being too optimistic? Perhaps. But I think there's a decent chance that I'm right.

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker