Thursday, September 26, 2013

The U.N. Convenes for Annual International Circle Jerk

It’s late September, so that means the United Nations has convened its annual General Assembly and International Circle Jerk / Political Masturbation conference in New York this week. Right now world statesmen are gathering together to make speeches, eat expensive food, and enjoy New York's finest Ladies of the Evening and gay night clubs. They certainly won’t be solving any problems, because as everybody knows the UN isn’t for that. It’s for, … talking and paying transnational bureaucrats extravagant salaries, bashing Israel and occasionally endorsing wars.

Is that overly cynical? Maybe. I don’t know. Probably not. It’s hard to care as the UN is, officially, totally rubbish as the Brits would say. I believe General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said as much himself the last time a bunch of blue helmets returned from a rape expedition in Africa, Although he didn't actually say it that way, of course.

At the opening of the General Assembly in Manhattan on Tuesday he made the following declaration in his opening address:

“This is an era of wondrous opportunity. Ours is the first generation that can wipe poverty from the face of the Earth.”

Given that Mr. Ban is 69 and is statistically likely to pop a tube within the next 8 years (the average male life expectancy in South Korea is 77.4) this can only mean that he has secret knowledge about a cure for the endemic inequality that has beset our species since time immemorial. If he really does know how to end poverty I’d like him to call me, and urgently, because I want to buy a new car but can't afford the one really want.

Alas I fear he was talking rubbish.

The rest of Mr. Ban’s speech meanwhile consisted of worthy platitudes about empowering women, the environment, the horrors of war, etc, all of which are things he and the UN are powerless to do anything about. Why he insists on talking about them, year after year, I am not sure.  Oh wait: It’s his job.

A few years ago, the UN was at least a source of mildly amusing headlines. I remember well that in 2009 batshit crazy Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinerjacket showed up and started waffling on about the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi. Last year he also rambled on about the End Times, inviting mankind to prepare the way for the “Hidden Imam.”  This year his replacement Hassan Rouhani is in town and lots of journalists and politicians are pretending that this signifies an important change. There’s lots of pointless blather about why Obama will not meet with him, and why we should'nt all be really concerned because of course Obama’s “strategies” for the Middle East have all been staggeringly successful so far, haven't they?

Then there was the year Gadhafi talked for 90 minutes in an astonishing stream of consciousness. That was amusing too, so long as you weren’t one of his subjects. But of course Gadhafi’s gone now, lynched by angry Libyans, with a little help from US bombers of.
The mention of Gadhafi brings to mind one of the other things the UN does, which is to vote to decide which of America’s wars are officially awesome and which are un-awesome. Actually, only the handful of countries on the Security Council gets to decide on the awesomeness of each war, but you get my gist. The logic governing UN decisions as to what makes a war awesome or not is very mysterious. Or maybe there’s simply no logic to it whatsoever.

Well, at least the General Assembly is not about making war. Rather, a bunch of people talking. Apparently the UN has 193 members and each one of them gets a chance to ramble on the main stage about… you know… Israel, American imperialism… whatever.

North Korea, Norway, Canada, Saudi Arabia: free or un-free, groovy Social Democratic paradise or woman-oppressing theocratic nightmare zone, all are equal in the eyes of the UN and each statesmen will get at least 15 minutes to sound off. And sound off they will, until next Tuesday, when the last of the speakers will finish waffling and everybody will go home again.

Well, let’s look on the bright side. At least it’s a year until the next one.