CHOOSING FRANK LUNTZ OVER DARFUR. If the political dynamic surrounding Darfur remains static, the region has about three weeks before African Union forces are replaced by the Sudanese military and its genocidal proxies. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan is struggling to sound the alarm on the sheer urgency of the crisis. Yesterday, he appeared in person before the Council and, in an attempt to raise the individual Council members to action, gave a rather stirring speech.
Standing before the Senate chamber in May 2005, Senator George Voinovich made a tearful, heartfelt plea to his colleagues, urging them to vote against confirming John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “I came back here [to the Senate] and ran for a second term because I'm worried about my kids and my grandchildren,” the Ohio Republican said. “And I just hope my colleagues will take the time, and before they get to this, well, do some serious thinking about whether or not we should send John Bolton to the United Nations."
What would happen if the United Nations ran out of money? Will unpaid translators show up to work at the Security Council? Will Con Edison simply turn the lights off at First Avenue and 42nd Street? More importantly: Will peacekeeping troops across the globe have to pack up and go home?
We may soon find out. The U.N.'s operating budget is on pace to expire this summer, when a spending cap on the U.N.'s two-year budget is reached. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton sought the cap to pressure the developing world into acceding to a set of reforms that would streamline U.N. bureaucracy. So far, however, that tactic has backfired. And in the process, it has fostered a strategic realignment in Turtle Bay, in which the global south acts as an increasingly muscular foil to reform.
In the face of a mounting progressive backlash against the liberals who joined with President Bush to help sell the Iraq War, the hawks are fighting for their ideological lives. And as Iraq falls to pieces, what better way to prop up a discredited mantra of aggressive interventionism than to set your sights on the world's worst man-made humanitarian crisis?
Silvio Berlusconi was trailing his center-left rival, Romano Prodi, in polls preceding Italy's general elections on April 9 and 10. So, less than two weeks before the vote, he did what most politicians in such situations do: He moved to shore up the base -- his allies in the hard right Italian Northern League. His chosen method? He aimed his crosshairs on the country's Muslim immigrants. “We don't want Italy to become a multiethnic, multicultural country,” he told the state-run radio in late March. “We are proud of our traditions.”