The General Assembly of the United Nations took the boldest of steps yesterday by adopting a resolution condemning the government of Syria's on-going assault on its citizens. It was the equivalent of an international finger-wagging.
The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming vote of 137 in favor to 12 against with 17 abstentions.
The 12 countries that voted against the resolution were:
Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Ecuador, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
The resolution itself contained no penalty clause. In fact, the LA Times' reporting of the activity said it best:
"Though the resolution has no force, it was seen as an important symbol of where the world stands on Syria."
Or, it can be seen as yet another reason to view the United Nations is an ineffectual, expensive, anachronism.
The U.S. representative to the United Nations said in a statement, "Today, the U.N. General Assembly sent a clear message to the people of Syria: The world is with you."
That's nonsense. The U.N. General Assembly sent that message to the people of Syria while sitting on its collectively fat butt on the East Side of Manhattan as the government of Syria continued to add to its list of horrors which, according to the U.N. includes:
"Killing 5,400 people since the popular uprising began last March. Thousands of people are also believed to be missing, some 70,000 people are internally displaced and 25,000 have fled the country to avoid the violence."
The UN's strong message? "We're witch chu. Say, whose turn is it to host the post-resolution Chardonnay Party?"
On Capitol Hill yesterday a hearing was held in the House Foreign Affairs Committee to look into the status of countries that went through the paroxysms of the "Arab Spring" last year, specifically Egypt.
The President of the International Republican Institute, Lorne Craner, is a true patriot. He testified about Egypt which is refusing to release 19 Americans - some of whom are Craner's employees, others are employees of the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House.
Their crime? Attempting to teach regular Egyptians how to do democracy.
Long-time readers know that I had the honor of participating in this type of activity as far back as 1989 when the Warsaw Pact was breaking down and I spent a good deal of time in Hungary, Romania, and what was then Czechoslovakia.
Craner recounted that just prior to the third round of elections, offices of the IRI, NDI, Freedom House and other organizations were raided by
"Security forces armed with AK-47s storming offices, kicking down doors, detaining staff until the raids were concluded, while confiscating equipment, cash resources and a significant amount of financial and program documents."
These are the thugs American taxpayers are propping up at a cost of over $1.3 billion a year - a year.
The 19 Americans who have been charged are on a no-fly list and cannot leave Egypt. Some of them have taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy - including Sam LaHood who is the son of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
Egypt is also looking to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of about $3.2 billion to prop up the government in the wake of the Arab Spring revolt.
We have to assume Hillary Clinton's State Department is working with the ruling Junta in Egypt to get this situation resolved, but so far the only objections to continuing fund them have come from Congress, not the Administration.
You know about Iran.
Iran has been stoking the international fires by proudly strutting its nuclear stuff while reportedly launching attacks on Israeli diplomats in Thailand, India and the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Those are in addition to a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. last October.
Yesterday the Obama Administration announced additional sanctions against the Iranian Intelligence Ministry for
"Abusing the basic human rights of Iranian citizens and exporting its vicious practices to support the Syrian regime's abhorrent crackdown on its own population."
The French press agency, AFP, wrote
"While the sanctions are likely to have little material impact, the move represents another gear shift in Washington's opposition to the alleged Iranian role in Syria's year-long crackdown."
Another finger wagging.
I am not in favor of threatening to go to war to make the Syrian, Egyptian, Iranian or any other government bend to our will.
I AM in favor of cutting off aid; direct foreign aid, aid from U.N. operations, through the IMF or the World Bank.
We have a national debt of about a jillion dollars. Forget about buying friendship. That never works.
If we can't even buy influence anymore then it is time for the Obama Administration to set a new direction.
Wagging our national finger under their noses doesn't appear to be the answer.