When in Doubt, Blame the UN

Fred Hiatt's descend into the worst kind of wingnutty foreign policy continues as we learn that we should blame the U.N. for the fact that SLORC is horrible and people are dying in Darfur. As Michael Cohen points out, this is senseless, the U.N.'s not a world government and it can't intervene anywhere unless member states want to. On Darfur, as he says, when Ban Ki-Moon said the U.N. needed to send more helicopters to Sudan, nobody ponied up the choppers.

But the U.N.-bashers who want to blame the organization for "inaction" on these points are the last in line for proposals to give the U.N. more money, and more institutional capacity. It's all absurd -- the idea that the U.N. Charter is the only thing standing between the world and an efficacious intervention in Sudan or Burma doesn't stand up to even cursory scrutiny. On Burma, meanwhile, it's worth asking what Hiatt even thinks should have been done -- the junta is behaving horribly, but it's not like we'd be able to invade the country, overthrow the government, and then stand up a new regime all in time to distributive disaster relief in a timely manner.