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10/20/2005
A STUDIED INDIFFERENCE TO THE FACTS

With all the stories and articles about the Miers nomination, the imminent denouement of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation into L’Affaire d’Plame, and the Republican party crack up, you may be forgiven for missing the biggest news of all.

War has been put on the endangered species list.

Yes. it’s true. The number of armed conflicts around the world have declined by 40% since the early 1990’s. And that’s not all. Several other indices of human suffering and wanton slaughter have also gone south. To wit:

  • armed secessionist conflicts are at their lowest point since 1976
  • the number of genocides and politicides plummeted by 80% between the 1988 high point and 2001
  • International crises, often harbingers of war, declined by more than 70% between 1981 and 2001
  • The dollar value of major international arms transfers fell by 33% between 1990 and 2003. Global military expenditure and troop numbers declined sharply in the 1990s as well.
  • The number of refugees dropped by some 45% between 1992 and 2003, as more and more wars came to an end

Is this some kind of witchcraft? Are we humans finally, after warring, butchering, murdering, and torturing each other for thousands of years, learning to live with one another in peace? What could possibly account for this sudden transformation of the human condition? Religious revival? Intervention by aliens?

If you guessed Kofi Annan and the United Nations, you win a cookie.

Yes, that United Nations. And yes, that Kofi Annan. It seems that while the United States was busy winning the cold war, containing Soviet expansionism, not to mention overthrowing two of the most repressive regimes on the planet, we were completely unaware that the good old UN was right there with us, standing shoulder to shoulder and cheek to cheek as together we overcame the odds and brought freedom and democracy to the peoples of eastern Europe, Asia, and Afghanistan and Iraq.

At least, that’s the UN’s story and they’re sticking to it.

Actually, the information is contained in a report by the Human Security Center, a non-profit group funded by public and private foundations from 5 countries including Britain, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. The UN connection comes from one of the Center’s co-chairs, Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The report finds that “the best explanation for this decline is the huge upsurge of conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding activities that were spearheaded by the United Nations in the aftermath of the Cold War.” The document is full of neat little graphs and charts all showing a downward trend in political violence over the last decade or so. From the looks of it, it seems that the Center has done a most thorough and complete treatment of the subject.

All but the part where America is largely responsible for these surprising developments. That particular element seems to have been misplaced in the report. Perhaps the authors screwed up the footnotes because for the life of me, I couldn’t find a single reference to the United States in the entire screed. Evidently, being a hyper-power has its limits. Maybe we should have bought an ad on their website.

The Human Security Center is puzzled that these remarkable trends have not been picked up by the media and trumpeted to the skies. The answer to that is a no brainer. Richard Fernandez has the easy explanation:

That’s not surprising given that probably nowhere has the process lauded by the Commission on Human Security been more in evidence than in Afghanistan, and more studiously ignored. The UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] itself admits that “more than 3.5 million Afghans have returned to their homeland since the end of 2001”, one of the most remarkable reversals of refugee flows in history—and then gives the credit to the United Nations—“when the Bonn Agreement set Afghanistan on the long and bumpy road to political stability and socio-economic development.” But what else happened in that time frame? Inquiring minds want to know.

Indeed. This kind of willful blindness is prevalent throughout the report. The Center’s myopia regarding US diplomatic and military triumphs in places like Kuwait, the Balkans, the Middle East, and elsewhere is symptomatic of a more troubling deficiency among global elites; a studious and deliberate obfuscation of history to achieve a desired political end. It’s not that the facts are hidden away collecting dust in some obscure academic institution. One would hope that at the very least, the authors of the report would have had access to the New York Times or The Washington Post to fill them in on what was going on in the world during the period under study.

Then again, maybe they did have access to those publications which is why they wrote what they did.

In a recent email exchange with a friend of mine, we both spoke of our emotional response to pictures of Iraqis going to the polls and how because of the disinterest of the national media, our grandchildren will probably be better informed of the struggle of the Iraqi people for freedom than we are today. Will they ask what it was like to be alive at such an exciting time in history when human freedom was on the march, spearheaded by the indomitable spirit of the United States? Sadly, reports such as this one will probably be more important to the historical record than contemporary accounts from eyewitnesses. Will our offspring notice the discrepancies between history as written by Internationalist organizations like the Center for Human Security and the first-person dispatches of observers like Michael Yon whose inspired writing of the struggles of the Iraqi people and the American military detail what our own media is either too lazy or too biased to report?

Clearly, the Center for Human Security’s report has succeeded in bringing to light the under reported drama of the progress being made around the world in conflict resolution and the sidebar story of the spread of freedom into areas where it never existed except in the dreams and aspirations of oppressed people. But to not mention the role of American leadership in these encouraging developments is pure cynicism. It bespeaks a mindset among many internationalists that the nation state is dying out and only supra-national organizations like the United Nations are relevant in the power calculations of the dictators, the holy men, the corrupt colonels and Generals who are responsible for so much human misery on the planet.

They see no correlation, for instance, between 135,000 American troops going through Saddam’s vaunted army with ease and Libyan strongman Ghaddafi giving up his weapons of mass destruction programs. Nor do they see that the powerful words spoken by an American President at his second inaugural could inspire democrats around the world to take to the streets and demand freedom and justice.

These are the underlying forces of history at work around the world, not the vainglorious pomposities and empty rhetoric of a powerless and cowardly United Nations. It must be up to us as contemporary witnesses to this transformational era in world history, not to let future generations be confused as to just who and what is responsible for these monumental changes. It is American power and American ideals that are rocking the world not the platitudinous nonsense of international elites.

By: Rick Moran at 11:02 am
3 Responses to “A STUDIED INDIFFERENCE TO THE FACTS”
  1. 1
    random10 Said:
    1:10 pm 

    I Agree:
    From my post: The UN: Right Facts – Wrong conclusion:
    The report reviews data from 1815 to 2002 and finds several factors contributing to the diminishing incidents of armed conflict. First is the rise of democratically elected governments. Second is increasing economic interdependence, which directly relates to the Third reality of the diminishing economic utility of war. Last of all they find a rise in International Institutions and conclude this last point must be the essential source of the greater peace. … Democracy, free trade, and retribution for aggression are pretty much the hallmarks of American foreign policy since the end of the cold war.

  2. 2
    Kurt Said:
    5:17 pm 

    Rick

    One reason the security report may have over-emphasized the UN’s contribution to reduction in conflicts around the world may be found in the bio of the report’s author:Andrew Mack

    ‘...Professor Andrew Mack is the Director of the Human Security Centre…[snip] and spent two and a half years as the Director of Strategic Planning in the Executive Office of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the United Nations (1998 – 2001)...

  3. 3
    Kender Said:
    11:42 pm 

    Awesome article Rick…....

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