- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Last weeks vote to kick the United States off the U.N. Human Rights Commission is not a reversal for either the United States or for the cause of human rights: Quite the contrary. It is a second chance for a cause that has been increasingly betrayed by its alleged vindicators. And it is a chance for the United States to think anew how we best can devote our induplicable moral and material strength to redeem the suffering humanity currently denied its essential human dignity.
The initial reactions correctly focused on the absurdity of the United States the greatest vindicator of human rights in human history being unceremoniously ejected from the Human Rights Commission and replaced by such countries as Sudan and Sierra Leone. Sudan practices slavery as a matter of government policy, while Sierra Leone has included in its government a former rebel whose armies continue to slice off the arms and legs of the innocent children of that godforsaken country.
The liberal media and prominent Democrats such as Sen. John Kerry predictably blamed President Bushs firm policy stand against the Kyoto global warming treaty and his advocacy of missile defense for alienating the United States from "respectable world opinion," and thus causing this lunatic United Nations vote. Added to the indictment against the United States was the charge that we have been arrogantly unilateralist, as evidenced by the refusal of the Pentagon to permit our soldiers to be subjected to international criminal court jurisdiction, in place of the protection of sovereign American law. Various nitpickers, both Republicans and Democrats, added their complaint that the Bush administration was inattentive, and should have anticipated and defeated the scandalous vote. They hope for a better result in next years election.
It is true that such thoughts currently dominate the international mentality. But the real cause of the U.N. vote the real scandal is not our conduct, but that mentality itself. Over the last several years the worlds worst human rights violators China, Iraq, the Palestinians, Sudan, Pakistan, Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran and others have been running a constant propaganda campaign against human decency.
Iraqs Saddam Hussein spends millions every year buying foreign journalists, wining, dining and lobbying whole national delegations at the better international watering holes, and generally seducing the mentally flaccid, morally jaded international diplomatic corps. He and his fellow brutalizers have diligently and effectively exploited the inevitable international envy and fear that attaches to the worlds only superpower. As a result, the U.N. Human Rights Commission has become sympathetic to the worlds thugs and increasingly indifferent to the plight of their victims. Last weeks vote simply revealed, and starkly, the moral paucity of the current international human rights bureaucracy.
President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell need not waste a syllable defending their record. But they should exhaust themselves developing a new and better mechanism for the vindication of human rights across the globe. The first instinct of many plain-spoken Americans is simply to withhold some more U.N. dues. But standing alone, that is an inadequate response.
While the nations of the world have every right to defenestrate us from the commission, we have not only a right, but a duty, to uphold our dignity and materially express our contempt for their action. We should certainly withhold a large sum several hundred million dollars from the U.N. But we must do more.
We should not simply return those dollars to the treasury, but allocate every one of those dollars to our own efforts to advance human rights around the globe. There are many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that do wonderful work. They should be more fully funded by us. For example, currently there is an organization that buys the freedom of Sudanese slaves. The going market price is $1,300 per soul. For $130 million we can buy the freedom of 100,000 slaves. There is an organization of private American citizens who every day fight Saddam Husseins vicious propaganda. They should be given the resources to keep up and expand the fight. There are many other opportunities for the United States to improve human rights. If the U.N. wont do the job, we can.
We should also seek out other countries that share our frustration with the debased Human Rights Commission. Ireland, Canada, Singapore, Britain, Italy, the Vatican and Brazil are all good candidates to join a new and healthy effort to advance the noble cause. Brazil is an interesting case in point. Because it has many indigenous people (natives), its citizens are anxious to help such people who are persecuted around the world. It happens also to be good politics in Brazil. So much the better.
American leadership (and American dollars) can create an alternative model to the Human Rights Commission. By example, not by mere words, we may be able to both marginalize and shame the commission into returning to its responsibilities. We can thereby look forward to the day when we will deign on our terms to return to the U.N. effort. In the meantime, we will remain the "Shining City on a Hill" and return countless suffering humanity to their God-given dignity.
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