September 28, 2007


McCain Refreshes a Plan for League of Democracies (NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT, September 28, 2007, NY Sun)

In a week in which the U.N. Security Council once again demonstrated its impotence by failing to halt the massacre of monks in Burma and the U.N. General Assembly became a pretext for a strutting performance by the Iranian president, Senator McCain refreshed his ideas for a more effective international body: what he calls "the League of Democracies." [...]

To Mr. McCain, the days of the United Nations as anything other than a refugee and humanitarian emergency organization are numbered. "There are some things they do very well," he said, but he went on to deride "the so-called U.N. Human Rights Commission," which he said is made up of regimes that perpetrate some of the most flagrant human rights abuses in the world.

He told members of the Hudson Institute meeting at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York yesterday that he believes the only reason the United Nations has any value at all — as the gambler said when explaining why he played in a poker school, knowing it was crooked — "because it is the only game in town."

Instead, he told a questioner, America should champion a new League of Democracies, a notion he first proposed earlier this year in a little-noticed address to members of the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He described his League of Democracies as "like-minded nations working together in the cause of peace."

"It could act where the U.N. fails to act, to relieve human suffering in places like Darfur. It could join to fight the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and fashion better policies to confront the crisis of our environment," he told the Hoover audience. "It could bring concerted pressure to bear on tyrants in Burma or Zimbabwe, with or without Moscow's and Beijing's approval. It could unite to impose sanctions on Iran and thwart its nuclear ambitions. It could provide support to struggling democracies in Ukraine and Serbia and help countries like Thailand back on the path to democracy."

"This League of Democracies would not supplant the United Nations or other international organizations," he said. "It would complement them. But it would be the one organization where the world's democracies could come together to discuss problems and solutions on the basis of shared principles and a common vision of the future."

Mr. McCain has promised that if he is elected president, within his first year he will call a summit of the world's democracies "to seek the views of my democratic counterparts and begin exploring the practical steps necessary to realize this vision."

And he's just petulant enough to do it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2007 12:01 AM
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