14 January 2007

Even Clintonians Are Giving Up on the UN

There is an increasingly widely-held view among American political scientists and pundits that the UN is in need of being replaced with an institution that is more suited to the realities of the 21st century than the 1950's. This is a view which I share, and dedicated a lengthy section of my thesis to discussing and promoting. The UN is too entrenched in the weltpolitik of a bygone era to meet the challenges posed by sub- and trans-national terrorism, too saturated with dictators and human rights abusers to promote democracy and human rights, and too inept to handle the challenges of peacekeeping, nation-building, and other challenges that simply did not exist at the forefront of international relations sixty-plus years ago.

However, today was the first time that I've seen Bill Clinton's people openly advocating such a thing as a "Concert of Democracies." Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay do exactly that in this essay posted over at The American Interest. I've disagreed with these two in the past over whether Bush's foreign policy constitutes a revolution in American foreign policy, as I believe that the current Administration has been a natural evolution in political thought of the same lineage as Woodrow Wilson and Harry S. Truman. Thus I was very surprised to see them collaborating on an essay entitled "Democracies of the World, Unite" that took more than a few shots at the international organization status quo and become proponents of the very ideas most closely associated with democratic realists/globalists and their neoconservative cousins that Clintonians so regularly denounce.

If nothing else, it just goes to show that a good idea can traverse all ideological lines. It is long overdue that the Bush Administration overcome its diplomatic inertia and seek to work with its fellow democracies on a comprehensive basis to formulate new institutions that are capable and willing to be full and active participants in winning the Global War on Terror & Tyranny. There is so much good to be achieved through the institutional mechanisms of an alliance composed of the world's democratic states: supporting the advance of women in social/political/economic participation in the life of the nation-state, promoting human rights, deterring tyrannical regimes from seeking to expand their power and influence, supporting the principle of the Responsibility to Protect, preventing nuclear proliferation, and assisting emerging democracies in the development of civil society and the institutions of democracy such as the rule of law, political parties, and grassroots organizations. This is something which is entirely possible for us to achieve, and more importantly, it is a very desirable avenue for Canada to pursue its own liberal objectives in the world.

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