Thursday, December 30, 2004

Foot In Mouth: UK

Captain Ed is rendered nearly speechless by UK Foriegn Minister Clare Short's comments on the President's aid proposal.

Here's what the President said:
Secretary Powell is working hard. He has spoken with his counterparts in Japan, India, Australia, as well as other nations who are helping with the response in order to begin building an international coalition for immediate humanitarian relief and long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. Based on these discussions, we've established a regional core group with India, Japan and Australia to help coordinate relief efforts. I'm confident more nations will join this core group in short order. Under Secretary of State Mark Grossman will lead a U.S. task force to work with these partners to help coordinate interagency response in our own government and to encourage other nations to participate in the relief efforts.
Here is what Ms. Short said:
“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.

“Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.

“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”

Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.

She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.
This is mindbogglingly stupid on so many different levels.

Captain Ed is stuck on the assertion that the UN has any moral authority, let alone supreme moral authority.

But what moral authority is required to give away bottled water to people drinking sewage?

India has the world's fourth largest air force, and as Ms. Short points out, is itself affected; the Japanese have spent billions and decades to transform the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force into a global humanitarian vehicle; the Australians have three dozen heavy airborne transports and have coordinated military traffic with the USA for over fifty years; and the US Air Force has more transports and global bases and personnel than any other nation on earth.

The UN has exactly: 0 transports, 0 bases, 0 ground crew. It has nothing but what national governments place at its disposal.

The megatons of food and medicine and supplies would not be moving to the afflicted without the participation of those four nations.

There is no separate UN cargo capacity in competition with this aid coalition. Ms. Short is, in effect, claiming that the US, Australia, India and Japan would somehow work better through a layer of UN bureaucracy than by cooperating directly.

Ms. Short gets one thing right:
“I don’t know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system,” she added.
Give the little lady a cigar!
A nine-ring Churchill, to remind her of a competent Minister whose motto was "Action This Day".

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