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Darfur’s Last Chance?

In May, the Security Council authorized the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur. Three months later, blue helmets are nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, the UN's top humanitarian official recently warned that a peace accord signed in Abuja, Nigeria between some of the rebel factions and Khartoum is "doomed to failure" and that the situation was going from "really bad to catastrophic." So who or what is to blame for this appalling inaction in Darfur? Martin Peretz of The New Republic views the continuing violence in Darfur as a failure of the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions. In a sense, he is correct: The Security Council resolution passed in conjunction with May's peace accords called for the paltry African Union monitoring force in Darfur to be replaced with a robust United Nations peacekeeping force.
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Awaiting the 15,000

On the Dianne Rehm show, a frequent UN critic, the American Enterprise Institute's Joshua Muravchik, admitted that if the Israeli-Hezbollah cease fire holds, the United Nations will have played a useful role in resolving this conflict. At this point, however, the success of the ceasefire is largely beyond the United Nations' control.
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Taxing Logic

In the midst of defending Ambassador John Bolton's performance on the job, Thomas P. Kilgannon, author of Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End its Love Affair with the United Nations, claims that the Millennium Development Goals amount to "nothing more than UN-imposed tax on the American economy." This is a common canard offered by the rabidly anti-UN crowd. It's time, once and for all, to dispel the myth that the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) are some sort of "global tax."
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The Conservative Voice Screeches Innuendo

In a deeply misleading paragraph, the Conservative Voice claims, "The United Nations' second in command Malloch Brown [sic] said Wednesday that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization. As Brown reports directly to UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan, this statement is believed to reflect the position of the entire UN body." The brief article includes no direct quotes from the Deputy Secretary General. In fact, it does not even get his name right. (His first name is "Mark", not "Malloch," which is part of his surname.) Presumably, their article is based on Malloch Brown's recent and widely discussed interview with the Financial Times. A quick review of the transcript reveals that it would be quite a stretch to interpret Malloch Brown's comments as anyway supportive of Hezbollah.
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Historic Elections in Congo

Though it will probably not make it onto the network news programs, the Democratic Republic of Congo began polling for its first multiparty elections in nearly 50 years. This was no small feat: Congo is considered among the most hellish places on earth, where the pathologies of sub-Saharan Africa have combined with a uniquely bloody history to claim millions of lives.
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Substance – Not Ambassador Bolton’s Personality – Is the Question

Writing in Bloomberg News, Amity Shlaes argues that the opposition to Ambassador Bolton's re-nomination is born from a conviction that he does not possess the right temperament for the job. "Doesn't play well with others," writes Shlaes. "That's the charge against John Bolton.... Other UN diplomats don't like him. They complain about him the way preschool teachers complain about an irritating child -- too loud, too pushy." With respect to Ms. Shlaes, Bolton's temperament is not the issue here. Among the many reasons to question the wisdom and utility of Bolton's re-nomination, the fact that he does not possess the social graces typical of other diplomats in Turtle Bay is beside the point. Rather, questions about Bolton's nomination are grounded in profoundly substantive critiques of his one year tenure as Ambassador.
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Putting Civilians First

As I survey the commentary on the current crisis in Israel and Lebanon from traditionally anti-UN media outlets like Front Page Magazine and the New York Sun, it has become clear that UN critics have a decidedly polarized view of the United Nations' role in armed conflict. According to these critics, anything less than the full support of the military objectives of one party to a conflict is evidence that the United Nations supports the opposing side. So if the Secretary General and his staff do not lend support to the Israeli bombardment of southern Lebanon, then they must be Hezbollah sympathizers.
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Turning to the United Nations

Ten days ago, the typical right wing UN critics and reputable news outlets alike were predicting a feckless Security Council response to the North Korean missile tests. These critics were proven wrong. "We have a strong and unequivocal resolution," Ambassador Bolton beamed prior to the unanimous Security Council vote condemning North Korea's missile tests. "We expect full, unconditional and immediate compliance by North Korea."