Day By Day

Friday, February 25, 2005

Getting on the Bandwagon

Kofi Annan, desperately trying to maintain some credibility for the organization he heads, has belatedly issued a stern warning to Syria. The Telegraph reports:

Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, added his voice yesterday to American calls for Syria to pull out of Lebanon. He warned the Syrians in an Arabic television interview that they would face "measures" - presumably some form of sanctions - if they did not pull their army out of Lebanon completely by April....

For the UN... nothing less than a complete withdrawal of the remaining troops and the military intelligence agents who control the country will suffice.

This, of course, is the American position in a nutshell.

Read the whole thing here.

Annan's statement, pitiful as it is, reflects some important developments in world affairs over the past three years:

First, unlike in the runup to the Iraq adventure, Old Europe [read France] is no longer obstructing the US, in fact it is unlikely that it could effectively do so.

Second, the credibility of the UN has been greatly diminished and, despite Annan's pretensions, it can no longer stand as a legitimating agent. Annan's parroting of the American demands is a pathetic indicator of the institution's fall from grace.

And thirdly, the rising tide of enthusiasm for freedom throughout the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Lebanon, has transformed elite perceptions of what is and what is not possible. The enveloping miasma of cynicism is beginning to lift.

President Bush has ushered us into a new world, one filled with great perils and infinite possibilities. However much Chirac and Annan and America's foreign policy elites might want to do so, there is no going back.

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