The butchers of Turtle Bay gather again
Biden delivered a bland speech at the pretend pulpit of peace. The U.N. is nothing but a corrupt fantasy land where evil dictators and tyrants act like they care about human life.
Walking in the halls of Turtle Bay, nattily-dressed diplomats from totalitarian dystopias get to pretend that they care about the lives of other human beings. These same, western-educated, pin-striped mouths of Sauron then get in line to collect some of the billions of dollars the United States doles out to the various hydra-arms of the U.N., which are frequently diverted into the pockets of oligarchs, dictators and their pals. All the while, the pretend-civilization play goes on as American presidents annually address the butchers in the great hall. Joe Biden did his part to keep up appearances.
John D. Rockefeller’s greatest folly may have been buying up six blocks of the former Beekman farmland, in the Turtle Bay neighborhood in Manhattan, nearby to the home of Katherine Hepburn, an area once populated by notables like E.B. White, Thomas Wolfe, and Irving Berlin. In 1946, Rockefeller donated the dilapidated riverfront land to the fledgling United Nations, a shining ideal in a post-war world.
Humanity gains knowledge, but we never learn. The very edifice founded on the idea of basic human rights, and democratic processes, 74 years later, is corroded from the inside out, and ruled by despots who can barely be contained except through the blood and steel of the United States and its allies.
President Joe Biden stood at the podium that once hosted (among others) U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush in the wake of 9/11, Barack Obama, just weeks before Democrats lost the White House, and most recently, Donald Trump.
Most of the non-Trump presidents’ speeches focused on the need for global cooperation. Nixon offered a Spider Man trope: “We know that with power goes responsibility.” Kennedy was a realist. “The world has not escaped from the darkness,” he told the body, while making many concrete statements and suggestions, most of which have stunningly come to pass.
Bush sold the Iraq War hard. “Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon,” he said. “Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year.” It’s unfortunate that this was a total falsehood.
Obama railed against “[r]eligious fundamentalism; the politics of ethnicity, or tribe, or sect; aggressive nationalism; a crude populism -- sometimes from the far left, but more often from the far right -- which seeks to restore what they believe was a better, simpler age free of outside contamination.” I think we all know what (who) he was talking about.
In 2020, Trump addressed the body in a pre-recorded video, just seven minutes long. He literally phoned it in, having long given up any hope that the U.N. would be useful to his vision. His theme: “peace through [American] strength.”
Repeating one of the themes of his 2019 address, Mr. Trump exhorted other nations to emulate America, by putting their own citizens first. This, he said, is “a true basis for cooperation”.
As a contrast, and yet almost a paradox in that it proves the Trumpian view of a useless U.N., the theme of President Biden’s U.N. address could be summed up in one word: “if.”
As a global community, we're challenged by urgent and looming crises wherein lie enormous opportunities if — if — we can summon the will and resolve to seize these opportunities.
Biden followed up with a few questions, all of which have long been answered, but everyone feels compelled to keep asking, as if by repetition some long-sleeping god of global harmony will awaken.
Will we meet the threat of challenging climate — the challenging climate we're all feeling already ravaging every part of our world with extreme weather?
Will we affirm and uphold the human dignity and human rights under which nations in common cause, more than seven decades ago, formed this institution?
Will we apply and strengthen the core tenets of the international system, including the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as we seek to shape the emergence of new technologies and deter new threats? Or will we allow those universal principles to be trampled and twisted in the pursuit of naked political power?
The United Nations is, with very few exceptions, as ineffective as it is corrupt. I’d much sooner bet on the investments made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the lot of humanity than the life’s work of feckless poobahs who pile up parking violations in New York like kids collecting Pokemon cards while inflicting their noxious presence upon American soil—these being otherwise known as U.N. delegates.
To wit: The U.N. Human Rights Council is represented by nations such as Somalia, Cuba, and China. It remains as the biggest critic of Israel on the planet, while many of its rotating members crush human rights, liberty, and self-determination under a boot of tyranny.
The People’s Republic of China sweeps away international law like so many cobwebs that sit between its endless cruel ambition and the PRC’s dreams of global hegemony. Intellectual property rights violations, manipulating currency, cooking the books of major corporations, strong-arming American corporations into doing their bidding, infiltrating American universities, imprisoning political rivals or even those who dare to criticize, rounding up large groups of potential non-conformists and religious groups—these are no problem for the CCP.
Biden, unlike previous presidents confronted with an implacable foe that shares none of the values upon which the U.N. itself is supposedly founded, promised that America would be good boys and not be confrontational with China.
We’ll stand up for our allies and our friends, and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones, whether through changes of territory by force, economic coercion and technical exploitation, and disinformation.
But we are not seeking, I’ll say it again, we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs. The United States is ready to work with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceable resolution to shared challenges, even if we have intense disagreement in other areas.
How will we stand up to “stronger countries?” Well, by just opposing them. The strongest country in the world opposes you, but not in a way that might start something, you know, confrontational. (Hey, look at all the progress we made in Afghanistan!)
On the bright side, Biden did sell some nuclear submarines to Australia, which will dearly need them to counter China, since America has decided to subcontract the Cold Warring stuff to the Aussies. He also pledged to use the military when necessary, as long as it’s not confrontational with “stronger countries.”
Make no mistake: The United States will continue to defend ourselves, our allies and our interests against attack, including terrorist threats, as we prepare to use force if any is necessary, but — to defend our vital U.S. national interests including against ongoing and imminent threats.
Instead of confrontation, we must all sing Kum-bay-yah and fight the evil of climate change, COVID-19 (which, not mentioned by Biden, infected the world after China allowed a million people to visit Wuhan knowing SARS-CoV-2 was there spreading), and feel the “bitter sting of terrorism.”
In case you haven’t discerned this: I didn’t think it was a particularly good speech. It was muddled almost to the point of being incomprehensible, and it was filled with regurgitated platitudes from former presidents who spouted similar sentiments from that pretend pulpit of peace.
“The future will belong to those who embrace human dignity, not trample it.”
“The future will belong to those who give their people the ability to breathe free, not those who seek to suffocate their people with an iron hand.”
Blech. Meaningless tripe.
The butchers of Turtle Bay didn’t hear a word of Biden’s rendition of reciting the label from a can of Campbell’s soup. They were too busy shoving each other out of the way to get to the trough of American money that the U.N. has become over the past 70 years.
I don’t go as far as saying the body should be abolished—I mean we don’t have anything to replace it. But must we participate in the farce so earnestly? I almost prefer Trump’s approach. The U.N. doesn’t deserve any better.
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