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Dennis

Arni
Unfortunately We in the United Kingdom are burdened by such small matters as decorum and protocol. It is however the reason why this country has any sort of reputation in the world sphere. We could be as brash and uncouth as seems to be de rigueur in certain outposts.

Teddy Bear

A recent article by the NY Sun pretty much sums up the agenda of the UN

'I Will Not Express Thanks'

Editorial
The New York Sun
March 30, 2007

Every once in a while there comes a diplomatic moment to remember, and New Yorkers who want to share one can go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhWgZu6tcZU and watch the representative in Geneva of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, in a March 23 speech before the 4th session of the Human Rights Council. (The full text of his remarks are here - http://www.nysun.com/article/51551) ...lamenting the loss of the dream of Eleanor Roosevelt and other architects of the human rights movement within the United Nations system. Mr. Neuer offers the substance. But it's worth watching the full clip (it's only a few minutes long) to catch the scandalous behavior of the president of the council, as he — for what may be the only time in its history — refuses to thank a speaker for his intervention and declares he will ban Mr. Neuer, or any other critic of the commission, if he says anything similar again.

To provide the full context, UN Watch has put together a compendium of clippings (at youtube.com/watch?v=BMEw0lZ3k_Y) called "Admissible and Inadmissible at the U.N. Human Rights Council." It shows actual film clips of the president of the Human Rights Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, thanking various diplomats for their testimony. He thanks a speaker for Zimbabwe talking about the ignorance of a delegate who has criticized human rights under President Mugabe. He thanks the delegate from Cuba for insulting a human rights expert who exposed abuses of the communist regime. When the permanent observer of Palestine asserts that the one that has a "monopoly on human rights violations" is Israel, which, he adds, is the darling of not only the ambassadors of America and Canada but also of the human rights commissioner, Louise Arbour, the observer is thanked by Mr. de Alba. On the clip one can see Mr. de Alba thanking the delegation of Sudan for a statement saying that reports of violence against women in Darfur have been "exaggerated."

Then one can watch and hear an envoy from Nigeria assert that "stoning under Sharia law for unnatural sexual acts … should not be equated with extrajudicial killings …" Or watch an envoy of Iran defend the Holocaust denial conference. Or watch a defense of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Or speaker after speaker liken Israel to the Nazis, only to get thanked by Mr. de Alba or whoever is presiding. Then one can watch Mr. de Alba lean back demonstrably in his chair and fold his arms across his chest and adopt a disapproving visage as Mr. Neuer of UN Watch begins his recent testimony. He notes that 60 years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt, René Cassin, and others gathered on the banks of Lake Geneva to reaffirm the principle of human dignity and created the Commission on Human Rights. He asks what has become of "this noble dream" and offers a devastating answer with a reprise of all the human rights abuses on which the council has been silent.

" Why has this council chosen silence?" Mr. Neuer asks. "Because Israel could not be blamed." He ticks off the actions against Israel, the only ones the council takes. When Mr. Neuer is done, Mr. de Alba says, "for the first time in this session, I will not express thanks for that statement. ... I will not tolerate any similar statements in the council." And he threatens to strike any similar statements from UN Watch from the record of the proceedings. We had to tip our hat to Mr. Neuer, who has, on occasion, written for these pages. Newspapermen have to have strong stomachs, but it's nothing compared to what he needs to sit through these sessions. He presents with memorable force and dignity. The compendium of clips runs only seven minutes or so and is winging its way around the World Wide Web. It's worth watching, a reminder of the wisdom of the decision of America's former ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, and his colleagues in the Bush administration to stand down from participating in this charade.

Kevin Sampson

"Unfortunately We in the United Kingdom are burdened by such small matters as decorum and protocol. It is however the reason why this country has any sort of reputation in the world sphere. We could be as brash and uncouth as seems to be de rigueur in certain outposts."

ROFLMAO!! Yeah, all us brash, uncouth Americans can see how much your reputation has impressed the Iranians. LOL!!!

TomTom

I wonder whether any of my fellow contributers have any grasp of historical analysis. I think this is exactly what is needed when discussing our relations with Iran. Since the discovery of oil in Persia, we have tried to exert our influence on the Iranians and the wider Middle East.
The Iranians have obviously studied their history and learnt not to trust us.

and looking at Persian history who would trust them ?

Just how far did Darius expand his empire ?

As for arms-dealing...it would be remarkable if US sales of F-16s to Greece, Netherlands, Turkey, Japan, Israel did not show up in statistics.......or Russian sales of submarines, aircraft and ships to China and India.

I bet China sells more radio equipment to Europe tha the USA, and more textiles. I bet Rolls-Royce selling aircraft engines makes Britain a dreaded arms dealer, and exporting Land Rovers to Jordan makes us terrible.....but let's not forget German sales of trucks...even the Iranians were arrested trying to buy German trucks to use as rocket launchers only last year

Dennis

Hey TomTom
You are really pulling out the big well thought arguments. Darius (549-485bc)Could you have gone any further back?
I think the diplomatic consensus would be that the impacts on bi-lateral relations, of Darius and his expansionist imperial policies are on the decline.
For examples..If the Rolls-Royce engines are being sold to Sudan for use in planes operating in Darfur or if the landrovers are used to police and transport detainees voicing political dissent in Jordan the i would consider those sales to impact negatively on global security. The system of end user licencing is woefully inadequate and open to abuse by the use of third-parties for contentious purchases
I see you tend to restrict you description of sales to items that can only be used for valid national defence and to countries with stable reputations...bar Israel.
You make no effort to address the numerous sales of small arms to unscrupulous regimes.

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