Saturday, January 13, 2007

Not exactly shocking: No UN resolution on Burma

The US had introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council, urging the Myanmar/Burma junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. For reasons I don't entirely understand, Russia and China cast their first joint veto in over 30 years to kibosh the resolution.

While the Burmese generals certainly don't pose much of a threat to world peace, this move is a puzzler. One assumes the Russians and Chinese (and the South Africans, who also opposed the resolution) are concerned about setting a precedent. Regardless, this proves a couple of things to me, neither of which is terribly surprising:

1. The UN is totally over-rated when it comes to protecting human rights. The world body is essentially useless in this area, and I wonder why we waste oxygen supporting it for these matters.

2. Honking about human rights makes for good press releases, but, when push comes to shove, governments don't give a rat's patoot. Is it a threat to either security or, more importantly, commerce? No. Then don't bother your government with it. Instead, divert your energy to a private organization like One or Doctors Without Borders, who can realistically make a difference.

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