- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2001

The U.N.'s Strangelove

Ambassador E. Michael Southwick sometimes feels like Dr. Strangelove when he is dealing with the United Nations.

At a forum on the United Nations yesterday, Mr. Southwick referred to the satirical 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie, "Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," when he tried to explain the United States' rocky relationship with the world body that some critics consider anti-American.

Mr. Southwick, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, has been working with U.N. issues for the past four years.

"I feel a bit like Dr. Strangelove and his relationship with the bomb," he said. "You can know and love the U.N. at the same time and still be an American."

Mr. Southwick said, "The United States is sometimes represented as the U.N.'s harshest critic."

However, he added that the United States has been "one of its biggest supporters," despite disagreement about waste, bureaucracy and its occasional anti-American and anti-Israeli attitudes.

"The U.N. is the best place to get things done. They have the big tent," he said, referring to the global representation where diplomats and world leaders frequently meet in informal gatherings.

Speaking about the Bush administration, Mr. Southwick noted that critics expected President Bush to become an isolationist. However, Mr. Bush has displayed a "hard-headed multi-lateralism," he said.

"I can't say it is an embrace, but it is more forthcoming than many thought," he added.

Mr. Southwick delivered the administration's view of the United Nations at a forum to observe the organization's 100th birthday, on the same day that both the United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan received the Nobel Peace Prize.

South African Ambassador Sheila Sisulu praised the United Nations for its opposition to apartheid and its expulsion of the old South African regime. She also said it allowed the African National Congress, then a radical outlawed organization, to enjoy "observer status" at the General Assembly, which let it to lobby world leaders.

"We owe our liberation, in large measure, to the United Nations," she said.

Norwegian Ambassador to the United States Knut Vollebaek, whose country awards the peace prize, said the award is presented to those who work for peace, even if they have not achieved it.

"The most striking example of this can be found in the Middle East," he said, referring to the prizes awarded to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in 1978, and to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1994.

Speaking of the award to Mr. Annan and the United Nations, Mr. Vollebaek said, "I can hardly think of more appropriate recipients of the prize for this anniversary award ceremony."

Hezbollah still terrorist

No matter how much the Lebanese prime minister wants to argue that Hezbollah is a legitimate resistance group, the United States still considers it a terrorist organization, said the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon.

Ambassador Vincent Battle told a Lebanese television station over the weekend that the United States believes Hezbollah meets President Bush's definition of a terrorist organization with "global reach," which could make the group a target in the war against terrorism.

"Hezbollah is on the list of terrorist organizations because it is considered an organization that carries out terrorist acts and is capable of staging them on a vast global reach," Mr. Battle said.

"Hezbollah has to give up terrorism, and this is not a complicated formula. If you want to call these activities resistance, then it is an error for resistance fighters to use terrorist methods and call them 'resistance.'

"We concede that Hezbollah has become an effective political force [in Lebanon], but our problem with Hezbollah is that it is an organization that shelters terrorists."

Mr. Battle accused Hezbollah of training anti-Israeli groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Hezbollah, which took credit for forcing Israel to end its occupation of southern Lebanon, still attacks Israeli civilian and military targets along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

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