Monday, April 29

Back in the Club--But What a Club!

Well, it was a welcome break, but now the United States has been officially re-elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights. It is now time to ask, in a twist on the old Groucho Marx saying, the big question: Does the US really want to be a member of a club that would have its fellow members as members? Specifically, I am referring to current members such as Cuba, Libya, and the Sudan as well as the other countries elected and re-elected along with the US today, Zimbabwe, Ukraine and China. For the first time, I think that it is actually reasonable to question whether American interests are best served by serving on the soi-disant "Human Rights" Committee that has displayed such a serious and escalating hostility towards its ally Israel, as well as to the very idea of anti-semitism, which it has formally dropped from the list of issues that it is concerned with this year. On the one hand, the US may be able to raise its voice at the table in support of equal treatment for all victims of oppression, including Saudi women, Israeli victims of terror, and the entire populations of committee members Cuba, Zimbabwe, Congo . . . actually almost all of them! (list not updated to reflect today's elections). On the other hand, the sheer number of confrontational and dissenting positions that the US will be forced to take if it is to uphold basic principles of fairness may end up alienating its current and potential allies (from France, Germany, and Russia to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) in future stages of the war on terror. For now, I am reserving judgment on this one until I have thought and read some more, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.