What if everyone ignored Mugabe? Sorry Wretchard but this is a stretch to far that even the economist in the joke (assume a can opener) would shun. The problem is that the Chinese, the Arabs, the Iranians, Soros, Putin and Chavez are all pushing to deconstruct the post Cold War order. On any given day two of them will be betraying the rest but that does not mean that traditional diplomacy can resolve these problems. At the same time sizable elements in the West will be testing the envelope for reasons they may not even fathom themselves, such as an atavistic attachment to socialism or grievance mongering. If there was a consensus to uphold basic civilized standards then the isolation of Mugabe would be automatic. The integrity of the institution of the UN was compromised at birth when it shifted from a useful but unsentimental military alliance (theoretically enshrined in the Security Council of WW-II powers) to a successor of the failed League of Nations that was supposed to enshrine Wilsonian idealism. This was a sham at birth when non peace loving totalitarian states such as Saudi Arabia were admitted followed by the authoritarian wave from decolonization. At first it didn’t matter. The high sounding facade of the UN and the Declaration of Human Rights was maintained even as it was used as a brokerage shop for the bi-polar world. The fact that an increasing percentage and eventual majority of the body were not democracies was acceptable as long as the focus on the Cold War kept Western elites reasonably cohesive. All that collapsed in as after math of Vietnam demoralized the West and the collapse of the Soviets paradoxically increased the complexity of the networked anti-democratic threat and took the lid off Third World thuggery.
Jun 26, 2008 - 6:39 pm