Obama Inadvertently Caricatures Liberalism
May 1, 2012
Is it becoming mainstream not to take the United Nations seriously? Even the liberal Washington Post, in a recent editorial, offers a scathingly candid assessment:
SO FAR, a U.N. monitoring mission in Syria has had one tangible effect: It has gotten people killed. On Sunday and Monday, monitors toured neighborhoods in the city of Homs and in the Damascus suburbs of Doura and Zabadani. When they left, the areas they visited were shelled, and security forces carried out sweeps in which civilians suspected of speaking to the monitors were taken from their homes and shot or had their houses burned down.
. . .
How did Mr. Annan and the U.N. Security Council react to these horrific reports? By urging the deployment of more monitors. . . . “Observers not only see what is going on, but their presence has the potential to change the political dynamics.”
Those words well captured the delusion of Mr. Annan and those who support his diplomacy.
(Links and emphasis in original.)
Charles Krauthammer also offers his analysis. Both he and the Post observe that President Obama, in lieu of actually doing anything to help the Syrian people, has promised the immediate creation of an “Atrocities Prevention Board”.
I remember a Mallard Fillmore comic from several years ago (captioned something like “Liberalism: The Early Years”) in which one caveman sinks in quicksand while another says something like, “Quick, somebody get me a quicksand-awareness ribbon!”
Not for the first time, parody can’t seem to stay ahead of the reality of modern liberalism. Krauthammer:
I kid you not. A board. Russia flies plane loads of weapons to Damascus. Iran supplies money, trainers, agents, more weapons. And what does America do? Supports a feckless U.N. peace mission that does nothing to stop the killing. (Indeed, some of the civilians who met with the peacekeepers were summarily executed.) And establishes an Atrocities Prevention Board.
With multi-agency participation, mind you. The liberal faith in the power of bureaucracy and flowcharts, of committees and reports, is legend. But this is parody.
John Derbyshire, Mark Steyn (read America Alone), and other conservatives have been making the case against the United Nations for years, but the general (i.e., liberal) culture has by default tended to take the United Nations seriously and assume it was a force for good. When the Washington Post is willing to say that the U. N., at least in this instance, is actually doing harm and getting people killed, despite the best of professed intentions, perhaps it means the culture is shedding some little bit of its naïveté—ideally not just about the U. N., but about all of presumptively well-intentioned liberalism.