WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In September 1931, when the Japanese Imperial Army marched into Manchuria, the Nationalist Government of China, a signatory to the League of Nations charter, called on the international community for help.
The League arrogantly pronounced that the aggression would stop because it had taken the matter "under consideration." Tokyo's response to this vacillation was to seize Shanghai. The Chinese again appealed to the League of Nations. While the diplomats dithered, Tokyo renamed Manchuria, set up a puppet regime in its capital and declared that Japanese troops were staying. The League of Nations responded by censuring Tokyo and demanding the withdrawal of Japanese troops. The Japanese promptly withdrew from the League, declaring its deliberations to be "irrelevant." World War II had begun -- though it took the Europeans another seven years to understand.
This sad, but accurate historical lesson in arrogance and irrelevance is pertinent to what transpired at the League's successor -- the United Nations -- this week. On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the president of the United States stood before the U.N. General Assembly and challenged the world body to try -- once again -- to be relevant in a world threatened by an evil even more dangerous than fascism: fanatical terrorism.
In a stirring tutorial, Bush recounted both the threat and horror of what now emanates from much of the Middle East: "Eventually there is no safe isolation from terror networks or failed states that shelter them, or weapons of mass destruction." He then offered an account of the sacrifice in treasure and lives being made by the United States and a handful of allies to protect the innocent from the bloody hands of terrorists and generously help those less fortunate than we. Unfortunately, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the erratic and secretive leader of this multibillion dollar global organization, wasn't listening.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.