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Re: democracy or imperial extortion?
by Charles J. Reid
11 May 2001 00:02 UTC
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"Imperial" is the wrong word to use in the 21st Century. It assumes
governments of nations decide their policies and their fates. But this is
not the case today. 

We live in an Age of Corporate Feudalism, where there is not "Bill of
Rights" and "Rule of Law" for employees, and where those controlling the
top 1000 corporations essentially control government policies, and the
fate of more than 95% of humanity, who have no role in the global or even
local processes that command the attention of the greater holders of
wealth.

//CJR

On Thu, 10 May 2001, Elson Boles wrote:

> Extortion:
> "This will teach countries a lesson." -- Representative Tom Lantos
> "Send the world a message."  Representative Dick Armey
> (And note the comment by Henry J. Hyde, Republican of Illinois.  Apparently
> he didn't read the World Bank's view of
> Cuba as a model of development.)
> 
> Or democracy:
> "I don't believe trying to blackmail nations to support us ever works."
> Representative Eliot Engel, Democrat of New York.
> 
> 
> May 10, 2001, New York Times
> House Votes to Withhold Payment of Some U.N. Dues
> By MARC LACEY
> 
> WASHINGTON, May 10  The House voted today to withhold $244 million in dues
> to the United Nations next year unless member countries restore the United
> States to the seat from which it was ousted on the United Nations Human
> Rights Commission.
> 
> The decision to put conditions on the third and final payment of back dues,
> approved 252 to 165 against the wishes of the White House, came as lawmakers
> of both parties expressed anger over the recent tally leaving the United
> States without a seat on the human rights commission for the first time
> since it was created in 1947.
> 
> "This will teach countries a lesson," said Representative Tom Lantos,
> Democrat of California. "Actions have consequences. If they would like to
> get this payment, they will vote the United States back on the commission.
> If they don't, it will cost them $244 million."
> 
> The House agreed to send the United Nations $582 million in arrears this
> year, part of a deal struck in 1999 that reduces the United States share of
> United Nations operations. And some lawmakers said that today's vote was
> largely a symbolic one and that the final $244 million in dues would likely
> be paid, as well.
> 
> The Senate has put forward no similar measure to withhold the final dues
> payment, aides said, and administration officials remain optimistic that the
> United States will be restored to the human rights body next year, even
> without the threat of withholding funds.
> 
> The White House and State Department had opposed the House action. But
> conservative lawmakers who are critical of the United Nations altogether
> joined to pass the measure with U.N. backers who sought to prevent an even
> tougher congressional response  the withholding of this year's funding, as
> well.
> 
> "Without this nation's leadership, there would be no United Nations," argued
> Representative Dick Armey, Republican of Texas and the House majority
> leader. "Send the world a message."
> 
> During the floor debate today, lawmakers railed against many of the nations
> of the world  from allies who did not back the United States to nations
> like China, Cuba and Sudan who were elected to the commission despite
> much-criticized human rights records.
> 
> Representative Henry J. Hyde, Republican of Illinois and chairman of the
> International Relations Committee, singled out the Europeans for criticism
> for their "inexplicable and inexcusable decision" not to back the United
> States for a seat.
> 
> He called the ouster of the United States "a deliberate attempt to punish
> the United States for its insistence that we tell the truth about human
> rights abuses wherever they occur, including those countries represented on
> the commission, such as China and Cuba."
> 
> Although the vote denying the United States a place on the commission was
> conducted a secret ballot, administration officials say that Europeans acted
> with others on the United Nations Economic and Social Council to deny the
> United States a seat. The amendment approved today, part of the $8.2 billion
> State Department authorization bill up for a vote next week, also insisted
> that the United Nations end such secret ballots.
> 
> Many Democrats oppposed the conditions, arguing that the United States had
> made a commitment to pay the back dues and that withholding the money would
> just exacerbate the anti-American sentiment in the world.
> 
> "I don't believe trying to blackmail nations to support us ever works," said
> Representative Eliot Engel, Democrat of New York. "This may go a long way in
> expressing our personal pique but I think in the long run it's destructive."
> 
> A United Nations official reacted similarly, telling reporters shortly
> before the vote that putting conditions on the dues was not in the United
> States' own interest.
> 
> "The U.N. serves as an instrument to do things you don't want to do, but
> that you know need doing," said Kieran Prendergast, the United Nations
> undersecretary general for political affairs. "Does it make sense to take
> actions that are ultimately self-defeating?"
> 
> The House did, in another vote today, send a more conciliatory measure to
> the United Nations. In a sense of the Congress resolution, the House
> recommended that the United States rejoin the United Nations Educational,
> Scientific and Cultural Organization, from which it pulled out in 1984.
> Lawmakers argued that it would be hypocritical to demand inclusion in the
> human rights commission and at the same time stay out of Unesco because of
> decades-old grievances.
> 
> "Unesco was a corrupt, anti-American organization," said Mr. Lantos. "It has
> cleaned up its act."
> 
> The human rights vote spilled over as well into a debate on whether the
> United States should stay out of the International Criminal Court, which the
> Bush administration opposes.  Lawmakers voted 282 to 137 on a measure that
> would protect American military personnel from the jurisdiction of the world
> court.
> 
> "Members can side with the U.N. or defend our service members," argued
> Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas and the House majority whip.
> "Last week, we were reminded how fickle the U.N. can be."
> 


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