American Elephants


Another Speech to the Same Old UN. by The Elephant's Child

President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly this morning, nearly two years, he reminded them, after his election as President of the United States.

Nine years ago the destruction of the World Trade Center signaled a threat to the world, and “two years ago a financial crisis on Wall Street devastated American families  on Main Street.”

The global economy suffered an enormous blow during the financial crisis, crippling markets and deferring the dreams of millions on every continent.  Underneath these challenges to our security and prosperity lie deeper fears; that ancient hatreds and religious divides are once again ascendant, that a world which has grown more interconnected has somehow slipped beyond our control.

It’s a really, really,  big challenge that he has faced, and here is what he has done.  He has rescued our economy from potential catastrophe, and joined with other nations to spur growth and restart job creation. He has reformed Wall Street and the system of global finance so this can never happen again.  The global economy has been pulled back from the brink of disaster. We have resisted protectionism and are exploring ways to expand trade and commerce.  Modestly, he has saved the world.

This is pleasant hooey. The financial crisis was not caused by Wall Street, it was caused by the U.S. government.  He has not rescued the economy, and whether the reform of Wall Street accomplishes anything remains to be seen.

The causes of the financial crisis have not been addressed, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not been reformed and are free to do it all again.  Congress has dreamed up a protectionist bill to punish the Chinese that is a very bad idea, and free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea are still sitting in the President’s inbox.

That’s what goes on at the United Nations. Heads of State come to address the General Assembly, and each tells the assembled Ambassadors  how much he is doing for world prosperity, human rights, ending war, encouraging tolerance, ending nuclear proliferation, feeding the hungry and so on and so on.  And each nation continues to address their own self interest, and nothing changes.

The President’s agenda has not changed in the slightest in response to changes in the world; he’s still talking about talks with Iran, Peace between Israel and Palestine, and democracy in the world not because the United States dictates it, but because people demand a say in how they are governed.  He apparently has no recognition that his actions often belie his pleasant assertions, nor that the real world is going in a different direction.

Everybody seems to recognize that the UN needs to be reformed, but there is no drive to reform anything, and everyone tells the members how really swell they are and how noble the intent of the United Nations.  And they promise to come back next year for more of the same.

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