Self-inflicted wound

Posted: Sep 06, 2002 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The man was heckled, jeered and taunted -- all but spat upon -- by representatives attending the United Nations World Conference on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. The target of this visceral ire wasn't Tariq Aziz, the mouthpiece for Iraqi terrorist Saddam Hussein. Aziz, representing a regime that has committed genocide with chemical weapons, consistently demonstrated disdain for U.N. resolutions and now threatens more widespread terror, was applauded. Nor was there anger displayed toward Zimbabwe's aging despot, Robert Mugabe, who arrived at the "Earth Summit" shortly after his racist regime in Harare seized scores of food-producing farms from white landowners. Mugabe was enthusiastically embraced and granted the respect of an elder statesman. Instead of criticizing Messer's Mugabe or Aziz, the U.N.-attendees launched a vicious attack on the senior representative of the most generous nation on earth -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. And when the delegates finished hurling epithets, insults and invective, the world's leading statesmen went back to work -- dedicated to eliminating the dark shadow over mankind's future: Not global terrorism or weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a despot. No, by consensus, the world's common enemy is: fossil fuel. My colleagues Tom Kilgannon and Fred Gedrich of Freedom Alliance traveled to Johannesburg to monitor the global gabfest. Reporting back to my radio audience, they summed up the 10-day session in a single word: "surreal." Their daily reports described a litany of rhetorical attacks on the United States and our president: Nelson Mandela, wearing the mantle of "Nobel Laureate," whined that he'd called former President Bush because his son wouldn't return a phone call; and French President Jacque Chirac castigated Americans for their "ravenous appetite for natural resources," while insisting that there was "no reason" for military action against Iraq. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, predicting that U.S. energy use was contributing to "the perilous state of the earth," all but insisted that the U.N. Security Council would have to "authorize" any "further military operations in Iraq." On the eve of the first anniversary of the terror attacks that killed 3,052 people in the United States, there wasn't a peep from Johannesburg about further efforts to help fight the war on terrorism. Kilgannon said it was like "attending a meeting of the League of Nation's during the late 1930s, with the Japanese Imperial Army marching through China, Hitler's legions in Czechoslovakia and Mussolini's military killing barefoot Ethiopian soldiers. "The League," continued Kilgannon, "was supposed to prevent these horrors. But it couldn't. And today, while radical Islamic terrorists are plotting their next attack and Saddam is harboring terrorists and building weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the U.N. is prescribing solar and wind power as an elixir for 'sustainable development.'" Few of the nearly 60,000 "official participants" in Johannesburg wanted to listen to U.S. concerns about Iraq's WMD production. Instead, when they weren't attending soirees, cocktail receptions and late-night parties, they were excoriating the United States and concocting schemes for extorting more money from American taxpayers. Former California Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who were in Johannesburg, called for a $50 billion solar energy fund. Brown told Freedom Alliance's Gedrich that because "the U.S. generates 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions," it should cough up "25 percent of the solar energy fund's cost." Harvard University economist Jeffrey Sachs, architect of the International Monetary Fund's "shock therapy" treatment for ailing overseas economies, denounced President Bush for adopting a tax cut rather than increasing foreign aid. French President Chirac urged the creation of "international solidarity taxes" to be imposed on wealthy nations and distributed to poorer ones, and lobbied for the creation of a "World Environmental Organization" to be modeled after, of all things, the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is, of course, the same U.N.-created WTO that ruled on Aug. 30 that the European Union is entitled to impose over $4 billion in trade sanctions as retaliation against the Foreign Sales Corporation -- a U.S. government entity designed to stimulate the sale of U.S.-made goods and services in overseas markets. U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick immediately struck colors on the ship of state and announced unconditional capitulation, saying, "The executive branch will work with Congress to fully comply with our WTO obligations." If this determination remains unchallenged, Congress will have ceded its constitutional responsibility for establishing tax rates for American corporations to the WTO, a secretive international body of 550 unelected functionaries in Geneva, Switzerland. This week, a day after he pays eloquent homage to the 3,052 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly. It's an invitation to add injury to the Johannesburg insults. This is the same crowd that, last week, castigated America's farmers -- the world's most productive -- for growing genetically altered foods while passionately applauding Robert Mugabe as he boasted of confiscating white-owned farms. Kofi Annan and his merry minions don't deserve our president's presence. They don't want us to defend ourselves or combat terrorism. They don't see Saddam as a threat, and they don't respect the enterprise, industry and sacrifices of the American people. Venturing forth to the United Nations is worse than a waste of time. It's a self-inflicted wound.