The London Guardian yesterday published the 52-page “End of Mission Report” written by the UN’s recently retired envoy to the Middle East peace talks, Alvaro De Soto.
De Soto reportedly confirmed the authenticity of the text, but said it had been intended only for inside-the-UN consumption. It contains his scathing criticism of the way that, in regard to Israeli-Arab diplomacy, the UN has subordinated its unique global legitimacy and position to the diktats of the US and Israel.
In para 132, he writes:
- Unfortunately, the international community [i.e., in this context, the UN bureaucracy], through a policy hastily laid down, has gone along with Israeli rejectionism, making it very difficult to climb down even if Israel decided to do so.
I haven’t yet had time to read the whole report. Guardian journos who have done so have produced three accounts of its highlights (1, 2, and 3), and the paper’s editors have also penned this editorial on De Soto’s charges and the whole tragic mess into which Israel and the US’s actions have helped to drive the current situation in the OPTs.
Attentive JWN readers are doubtless aware that my own strongly stated position is that, despite its many flaws, the UN must take– and must be allowed and empowered to take– the leading role in conducting the global-scale diplomacy that is now so sorely needed in both the Israeli-Arab sphere and the US-Iraqi sphere. (I laid out these argument most recently in, respectively, this May 10 CSM column, and this column in today’s CSM.)
Of course, there is a major problem in both these projects: that is, that in all matters Middle Eastern the UN bureaucracy– which is answerable in the first instance to the Security Council, and only at a broader level to the annual “General Assembly” of all the world’s nations– has indeed, increasingly throughout the past 15 or 20 years, subordinated itself to the whims and diktats of one nuclear-armed superpower, the US, and that power’s Middle Eastern sidekick, Israel.
For the sake of global stability, and if humanity is to have any chance whatever of building a humane, egalitarian world-political system in which disputes are addressed using means other than brute force, this has to change. In the May column, I argued– re the Israeli-Palestinian arena– that, “Global stability can no longer be held hostage to the claims of the Israeli settlers.”
In today’s column (which was written and edited before the publication of De Soto’s indirectly related text) I wrote,
- Any orderly US withdrawal from Iraq requires a leading role from the United Nations. It also requires a more capable and empowered UN than the one we see today, and this requires that the whole US political system undertake a serious recommitment both to the world body and to the egalitarian global values it embodies.
These tasks form the main challenge for America in the months ahead. The longer the American public and US leaders postpone dealing with them, the higher will mount the casualty toll in Iraq – among both Iraqis and US troops – along with the risks the Iraqi caldron poses to regional and world stability.
Now, the publication of De Soto’s detailed and very well expressed insider’s account of exactly how the US and Israel have, in their relationship with the UN, subverted the norms and ideals on which the world body has been based since its creation in 1945, allows us to see more clearly than ever before many key dimensions of the challenge we all– both US citizens and citizens of other nations– face as we try to bring the relationship between the US and the rest of the world back into a better and more productive balance.
At this stage in the history of our fragile planet here, I don’t think that this challenge can be avoided very much longer.