United Nations Must Not Be Cowed By Myanmar Junta, Stand With Kyaw Moe Tun

Yangon, Myanmar, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

There are times when the international community must stand for their collective principles, or fall in a most disgraceful way. Such is the case now playing out at the United Nations.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York has formally staked his claim as the country’s legitimate representative while the junta seeks to replace him. Let me be most clear with this matter in saying there is no wiggle room. No gray colors. No corners to hide in. This is a stark divide between right and wrong. Law and order versus a coup.

This weekend in another shameless display of coup-power Myanmar state television announced that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country. Pray tell, what did this man do to warrant such a public demotion? This past week he had the audacity to publicly and without any doubt in his tone state that nations around the globe should use “any means necessary” to reverse a coup that unsettled Myanmar in February. It was at that time the junta removed that nation’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The ambassador is not going silently into the night, and it must be the resolve of the international community to make sure that a deputy, Tin Maung Naing, is not allowed to be seated and act as a U.N. envoy. At stake is a principle that must be abided by concerning this matter. It is one a fourth grader could grasp.

The junta, who think they call the plays, must feel the gravity of the international community in hearing a complete repudiation of their attempt to replace an ambassador named by the duly elected and legitimate authority of that country.

We all can readily agree that this scenario is not one that occurs every day and that there are no files to be pulled with other such vivid examples providing language already drafted and only needing to be updated for the Myanmar case. But what is not new to the ones who use their levers of power at the UN is the legal and ethical codes of how to act when a legitimate leader is removed by force and bloodshed.

The only avenue available to the international community is to not bend one iota when dealing with the junta in Myanmar. The UN must stand with the legitimate authority of that nation, which resides within the person of Kyaw Moe Tun. There must be no compromising on this matter. No one should be seeking a less well-lit room so as to hide.

I await the firm hand of the world body’s 193 member states.

And so it goes.

Absentee Ambassador, Thrice Married, Wins Votes For UN Ambassador


The basement keeps getting lower, month by month, with additional Trump appointees either serving as acting caretakers, or as with Kelly Craft being voted on by the Senate.

Yesterday Donald Trump got his UN ambassador nominee, Kelly Craft, approved.  But after that there is not much to say about her except why she was not qualified.

Why she got any position in this administration is most obvious.  She and her current coal CEO husband have donated millions of dollars to Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell.  It needs to be noted that the Crafts live in Kentucky.  Journalist James Fallows says this is the first time that a big-money donor has been named UN ambassador, another sign that expertise is irrelevant in the Trump world.

Her name should sound familiar to many of my readers as she was most recently US ambassador to Canada.  That, in and of itself, is not the reason you have heard about her, as her notoriety actually comes from not liking to do her job.

Ambassadors can spend no more than 26 work days per year away from their post.  But Politico reported that Craft took 128 flights between Ottawa and the US in just 15 months. That’s the equivalent of one round trip per week. And 70 of those trips originated in or departed from Lexington, Kentucky, where she lives.  There have been reports that officials in Canada and at the State Department have privately complained that she was an absentee ambassador.

With the Trump Swamp as deep and murky as one can imagine it is also not possible to have any data supplied for the taxpayers of this nation who allow her to be paid.  The Trump cover-up has kept the US embassy in Ottawa and the D.C. State Department from saying how many days Craft was actually at her post.

One reason Trump and Craft have bonded is due to the number of spouses they have gone through.  She’s had as many husbands as Trump has had wives.


A Life That Mattered: Kofi Annan

A most fitting obituary.

“He seemed to radiate an aura of probity and authority. “How do we explain Kofi Annan’s enduring moral prestige,” the Canadian author, politician and academic Michael Ignatieff wrote in a review of Mr. Annan’s 2012 memoir, “Interventions: A Life in War and Peace” (with Nader Mousavizadeh), in The New York Review of Books.
Personal charisma is only part of the story,” Mr. Ignatieff wrote. “In addition to his charm, of which there is plenty, there is the authority that comes from experience. Few people have spent so much time around negotiating tables with thugs, warlords and dictators. He has made himself the world’s emissary to the dark side.”
With Washington pressing for the ouster of Mr. Boutros Ghali, Mr. Annan took office as secretary general with American approval on Jan. 1, 1997.

He was, Ms. Power wrote, “the primary guardian of the U.N. rule book,” which insisted on the primacy of the Security Council as “the sole source of legitimacy,” in Mr. Annan’s words, in approving overseas interventions. Those rules were flouted by NATO in March 1999, with its bombing of the former Yugoslavia, forcing Mr. Annan to seek a middle ground.

“It is, indeed, tragic that diplomacy has failed,” he said on the first day of NATO bombing, choosing words that largely defined the dilemmas confronting policymakers throughout and beyond his tenure, “but there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace.”

“We will not, and we cannot accept a situation where people are brutalized behind national boundaries,” he continued later as the 78-day aerial campaign ended its second week of efforts to halt a crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

“For at the end of the 20th century, one thing is clear: A United Nations that will not stand up for human rights is a United Nations that cannot stand up for itself.”

Saudi Arabia Rejects U.N. Security Council Seat

The most interesting news story of the day.

Saudi Arabia on Friday rejected its freshly-acquired seat on the U.N. Security Council, saying the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.

The move came just hours after the kingdom was elected as one of the Council’s 10 nonpermanent members on Thursday night. It also followed another gesture of displeasure from the kingdom in which Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal declined to address the General Assembly meeting last month.

The Saudi discontent stems from its frustration with longtime ally United States. The two are at odds over a number of Mideast issues, including how Washington has handled some of the region’s crises, particularly in Egypt and Syria. It also comes as ties between the U.S. and Iran, the Saudi’s regional foe, appear to be improving following a recent telephone conversation between President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani.

In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the Foreign Ministry said Friday the Security Council has failed in its duties toward Syria.

Palestinians Win Major Goal In United Nations

While no one can overstate the need for constructive and broad-based negotiations between Israel and Palestinians there still can be sincere pleasure with the news today.

The United Nations General Assembly has finally endorsed an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority.  Even though the United States and Israel failed to live up to their stated ideals with their votes, the rest of the world can rejoice.

The resolution elevates the Palestinian status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state.”  There is no way to not see the richness to this outcome as it provides Palestinians new leverage in their dealings with Israel.  If Israel is nervous, than perhaps they need to adjust their actions and policies.

For too long the tables have been stacked to the detriment of the Palestinians.  Today the playing field was leveled just a bit  with the aid of major players on the world stage helping to make it so.

To those who made this possible there are many full hearts of appreciation from around the globe.

There remains so much to accomplish, but there should be no diminishing the goal that was set and realized in the UN this afternoon.

Does This Make For An Effective Speech At The United Nations?

I must say, for all my concern about Iran and the nuclear issue all I could think of was Ross Perot when the chart came out.

I just do not think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel displaying a  silly diagram while speaking about Iran’s nuclear program at the U.N was at all effective.

It was a rather sophomoric way to deal with a serious problem.

Arab League Proposes U.N. Force In Syria

Lets move on this idea at once!

The Arab League will propose a “peacekeeping joint force” with the United Nations to oversee the aftermath of a proposed cease-fire in Syria, the Cairo-based alliance announced Sunday. 

The proposal was one of many points offered in a statement from the league, which met Sunday to discuss Syria. Other proposed measures included to “stop trading with the Syrian regime, except those directly affecting Syrian citizens.” 

The Syrian government sternly indicated it was not on board with the plan offered by the Arab League, which suspended Syria late last month. Denying rampant accusations that its forces have killed thousands of civilians in a crackdown on popular unrest, the Damascus-based government has consistently blamed “armed terrorist groups.” 

The international political maneuvering comes as reports continue to stream in about the violence in Syria. 

U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died since protests se eking President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster began nearly a year ago.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s Latest Gig Is Bashing United Nations

I give Arizona Governor Jan Brewer credit for not replaying the old hits over and over.  She comes up with a new stage act just as the old one was getting stale.   After all, bigots need new material like everyone else.   Her latest attempt to get to the top of the charts is by bashing the United Nations.  Problem is that this has been done so many times before that the notes fall flat before they even leave her tongue.  At her age she should know better than to ‘cover’ another’s songbook.

Brewer’s latest outrage is over a report by the United Nations making mention of the unconstitutional immigration law in Arizona that she signed into law.  The courts have not looked kind on the measure she signed.  No one with a working brain stem thought the bill should ever have been signed into law.  That she now seems embarrassed enough about the law and her actions to make all this fuss is a sign of hope I guess.  Who would want any more  coverage of this dreadful action?   Even she must know that the rest of the world will find her actions shameful.

To confuse the matter, all for her political purposes, Brewer is spinning away that the Obama White House is trying to place her actions in Arizona up for review by the big-ole-bad-and-scary United Nations.  Had Brewer taken the time to read that section of the report on human rights regarding her state she would know that the writing merely acknowledges the law has caused much debate and signficant attention.  That is all it does.  The report is not all that long, under 30 pages, and I am betting one of her staff could even underline the portion that deals with this matter to make it easier for her to read.

To confuse and try to roil the waters over this matter is further evidence that Governor Brewer is continuing to do what we all know she was doing this whole time.  That is to use immigration as a wedge issue, a lighting rod, and raw meat for her election purposes.

For that alone she should be defeated at the polls.