Along the Tracks

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Kofi said what?!

Last night on the PBS “Newshour,” whichever reporter (they all run together after a while) handled the segment on the new Iraqi Council’s presentation to the United Nations said that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed the need for more international involvement (big surprise there) and then added this: “Democracy can’t be imposed from the outside.” (Update: Here is a link with the quote.)

What on earth does that even mean?

Note to Kofi: I don’t know how you folks do things in Ghana, but in most parts of the world, democracy means government by the people. Your statement may have been meant as a cautionary note, but it is nothing more than a truism: Democracy can’t be “imposed” by definition.

This statement by the UN’s top bureaucrat is precisely why the United States has to be extremely careful in allowing Iraq to be in any way “overseen” by a UN administration. The UN and its “experts” care not at all about the Iraqi people or freedom or representative government. They care about status quo, period. This war (on terrorism) has upset the status quo irreversibly in two countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), and is well on the way to changing it in several others, notably nascent Palestine, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. In the eyes of the UN, this is a negative turn of events to be fought.

Remember, oppression is good for the UN bureaucrats. The Oil for Food program in Iraq enriched Kofi’s UN coffers directly, and investigations are indicating it enriched a number of UN employees, relatives and business associates as well. And dangerous, oppressive, warlike regimes require a lot of investigating and oversight, as well as causing plenty of humanitarian crises to be assuaged by UN interventions of one sort or another. Democracies are no fun; their people are by and large happy, make their own choices and avoid confrontations. They rarely need the UN’s “help.”

How are international overlords supposed to operate in such an environment?

Kofi showed his cards with that little slip. “Democracy cannot be imposed from the outside,” while an internally-drawn dictatorship is legitimate, in his view. He believes the US should get out now so the UN can take over a nation rich in resources. The secretary general will pick a new group of Iraqi oligarchs who answer to him. Then he can sit back and watch the money pour in. Oh, there’ll be plenty of talk about “democracy” and “turning over the government to the Iraqi people,” but in fact, Iraq will be the biggest prize yet in the quasi-empire the United Nations bureaucrats have accumulated in the past decade with their “mandates,” starting with Bosnia.

Emperor Kofi, anyone?

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