Condoleeza Rice is off to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Japan, and South Korea this week reminding Asia that we remember where the place is. America has been AWOL in the region for some time, but we are trying to quickly reestablish our presence with one of Condi’s power visits.
However, the broader issue of America’s global attention deficit disorder and disengagement from Asia, or from the United Nations as Richard Holbrooke discussed yesterday, allows others to fill the void. If we aren’t constructively engaged in Asia, China will fill the vaccuum; and in the U.N., other nations will hijack commissions there as Libya and Cuba recently did on the Human Rights Commission.
Holbrooke’s comments yesterday before Henry Hyde’s House International Relations Committee were the most compelling of the day — and should be reminders of why it is so important that Republicans withdraw Bolton as nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the UN and suggest a more credible and serious choice.
Reported on Holbrooke:
Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1999 to 2001, says the United Nations faces a future in which it will become progressively weaker without U.S. support.
“If we continue to under-fund, under-support, and undermine the U.N. system it will become progressively weaker and at the same time it will become increasingly a center for hostility to the United States, a combination, a trifecta if you will, that will hurt American national security interests in many ways,” he noted.
He suggests a stronger U.S. role in supporting and reforming the United Nations would help ensure the human rights commission acts more aggressively, while not falling under the control of rights violators.
“A weaker U.N. is one where the human rights commission is dominated by such terrible violators as Cuba and Libya,” he said. “In other words, what is wrong with the U.N. or the human rights commission, is not the core ideas that it stands for but the instances where due to lack of American engagement and leadership the institution was hijacked by states whose practices are anathema to all the U.N. stands for.”
— Steve Clemons