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Right Intention: The Diplomad

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Diplomad

The Diplomad is required reading for anyone who wants to understand just how worthless the UN is.

UNbearable . . . .

Saturday evening moving into night. We have a slight lull in the pace of activity at the Embassy; all of today's C-130s are loaded and on the way -- even my teen-aged son whom I can't get to pick up his room was unloading trucks at the airport. After a few calls, we managed to snag another hanger at the airfield to store the pile of supplies which keeps growing despite the multiple C-130 flights. It's a pleasure to watch the Australians and our guys work together. They're interchangeable -- except for that, that . . . uh, you know, that cricket thing . . . but for that flaw the Aussies would seem perfectly normal.

You don't want to hear about Aussies and Yanks working. You know all about that. You want to know about the UN. The UN, you ask, what about the UN? Gee, fUNny you should ask. I was just thinking about the UN. Yesterday the UN rep who flew up to Aceh solely for the event, held a press conference at which he criticized the US airlift of supplies. The little S.O.B sniffed that it was "uncoordinated" and that some villages were fed twice while others were missed and that no "assessment teams" were being sent. The Guardian and AP have picked up the story, but my internet is so s-l-o-w, that I haven't been able to find it and link to it. Maybe tonight the internet will speed up and I can find it. I learn from colleagues who were there, no journalist asked the little twit just how many people the UN had fed, and if, indeed, "assessment teams" are what is needed why haven't the gadzillion UN assessment teams hanging out in the capital moved into these remote villages. I'm sorry but I detest these Vultures more and more.

What else is the UN up to, you ask? Oh the usual that you would expect from an organization with a dozen or so well-funded agencies supposedly devoted to emergency humanitarian relief . . . no, no, not feed people or provide them medical care, what do you think the UN is, the US military or something? What is wrong with you readers? Has The Diplomad taught you nothing? The correct response is put out a press release in New York claiming to be doing all sorts of things that others, e.g., US and Australia, are doing -- oh, and catch the dig at US helicopters.

The local UNocrats, not to be outdone by their New York Vulture brethren, tore themselves away from the buffet at the Hyatt, and put out a matrix, dated January 5, that sums up what the UN has "done" since the quake and tsunami hit on December 26. It's a pack of outright lies and distortions.

If we had real media in this country these types of issues would be investigated. But the liberal media is more interested in promoting the myth of the UN as opposed to any sort of realistic assessment.

Here's another entry:

I see, however, no outpouring of support in most of the world's countries. The oil-rich Arabs? Where are they? But most frustrating and even angering is the lack of concern exhibited by average and elite members of the societies most directly affected. This was driven home in the course of an interminable meeting a few days ago discussing some silly resolution or another calling on the UN to appoint a "Special Representative for Tsunami Relief." A relatively senior Sri Lankan official leaned over and said to me, "Why do we want to bother with this? We all know you Americans will do everything." A nice compliment, I suppose, but on reflection a sad commentary not only about the rest of the world but presumably about Sri Lanka, itself. One would expect the affected countries to take the lead in relief efforts. None of the most seriously affected countries (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives) is a dirt poor country; all have well-established governments and national identities.

In Jakarta, aside from flags at half-staff, we have seen no signs of mourning for the victims: while employees and dependents of the American embassy spent their holiday loading trucks and putting together medicine kits, the city's inhabitants went ahead with New Year's parties; nightclubs and shopping centers are full; and regular television programming continues. At least 120,000 of their fellow countrymen are dead, and Indonesians hardly talk about it, much less engage in massive charitable efforts. The exceptionally wealthy businessmen of the capital -- and the country boasts several billionaires -- haven't made large donations to the cause of Sumatran relief; a few scattered NGOs have done a bit, but there are no well-organized drives to raise funds and supplies. We have seen nothing akin to what happened in the USA following the 9/11 atrocity, or the hurricanes in Florida of this past year.

I think the Sri Lankan said more than he realized. Just my opinion, but I think part of the reason the Diplomad has seen more concern from the West is not simply because of differences between our civilization and theirs. My opinion is that this attitude is partly the result of having the US trying to solve most of the world's problems for the last 60 years. Why should Indonesians concern themselves in a big way if the US (and in this rare case, others in the west) will do it for them?

One day we as a country will realize that whatever goodwill our overly-generous ways have earned us has been outweighed by feelings of entitlement, dependency and resentment from those we think we are helping. We need to help the tsunami victims now, but in the long run I believe America needs to re-examine the role it plays in the world.


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