Tuesday, September 19, 2006

President "Boilerplate" Bush and the United Nations

Today's Edit Copy word of the day is: boilerplate.

President George W. Bush's speech is largely what one would expect from someone convinced of his own strategy. WhiteHouse.gov has the address. Here is the message part of the speech:
To the people of Iraq: Nearly 12 million of you braved the car bombers and assassins last December to vote in free elections. The world saw you hold up purple ink-stained fingers, and your courage filled us with admiration. You've stood firm in the face of horrendous acts of terror and sectarian violence -- and we will not abandon you in your struggle to build a free nation. America and our coalition partners will continue to stand with the democratic government you elected. We will continue to help you secure the international assistance and investment you need to create jobs and opportunity, working with the United Nations and through the International Compact with Iraq endorsed here in New York yesterday. We will continue to train those of you who stepped forward to fight the enemies of freedom. We will not yield the future of your country to terrorists and extremists. In return, your leaders must rise to the challenges your country is facing, and make difficult choices to bring security and prosperity. Working together, we will help your democracy succeed, so it can become a beacon of hope for millions in the Muslim world.

To the people of Afghanistan: Together, we overthrew the Taliban regime that brought misery into your lives and harbored terrorists who brought death to the citizens of many nations. Since then, we have watched you choose your leaders in free elections and build a democratic government. You can be proud of these achievements. We respect your courage, and your determination to live in peace and freedom. We will continue to stand with you to defend your democratic gains. Today forces from more than 40 countries, including members of the NATO Alliance, are bravely serving side-by-side with you against the extremists who want to bring down the free government you've established. We'll help you defeat these enemies and build a free Afghanistan that will never again oppress you, or be a safe haven for terrorists.

To the people of Lebanon: Last year, you inspired the world when you came out into the streets to demand your independence from Syrian dominance. You drove Syrian forces from your country and you reestablished democracy. Since then, you have been tested by the fighting that began with Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks on Israel. Many of you have seen your homes and communities caught in crossfire. We see your suffering, and the world is helping you to rebuild your country, and helping you deal with the armed extremists who are undermining your democracy by acting as a state within a state. The United Nations has passed a good resolution that has authorized an international force, led by France and Italy, to help you restore Lebanese sovereignty over Lebanese soil. For many years, Lebanon was a model of democracy and pluralism and openness in the region -- and it will be again.

To the people of Iran: The United States respects you; we your country. We admire your rich history, your vibrant culture, and your many contributions to civilization. You deserve an opportunity to determine your own future, an economy that rewards your intelligence and your talents, and a society that allows you to fulfill your tremendous potential. The greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons. The United Nations has passed a clear resolution requiring that the regime in Tehran meet its international obligations. Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. Despite what the regime tells you, we have no objection to Iran's pursuit of a truly peaceful nuclear power program. We're working toward a diplomatic solution to this crisis. And as we do, we look to the day when you can live in freedom -- and America and Iran can be good friends and close partners in the cause of peace.

To the people of Syria: Your land is home to a great people with a proud tradition of learning and commerce. Today your rulers have allowed your country to become a crossroad for terrorism. In your midst, Hamas and Hezbollah are working to destabilize the region, and your government is turning your country into a tool of Iran. This is increasing your country's isolation from the world. Your government must choose a better way forward by ending its support for terror, and living in peace with your neighbors, and opening the way to a better life for you and your families.

To the people of Darfur: You have suffered unspeakable violence, and my nation has called these atrocities what they are -- genocide. For the last two years, America joined with the international community to provide emergency food aid and support for an African Union peacekeeping force. Yet your suffering continues. The world must step forward to provide additional humanitarian aid -- and we must strengthen the African Union force that has done good work, but is not strong enough to protect you. The Security Council has approved a resolution that would transform the African Union force into a blue-helmeted force that is larger and more robust. To increase its strength and effectiveness, NATO nations should provide logistics and other support. The regime in Khartoum is stopping the deployment of this force. If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the United Nations must act. Your lives and the credibility of the United Nations is at stake. So today I'm announcing that I'm naming a Presidential Special Envoy -- former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios -- to lead America's efforts to resolve the outstanding disputes and help bring peace to your land.

The world must also stand up for peace in the Holy Land. I'm committed to two democratic states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side-by-side in peace and security. I'm committed to a Palestinian state that has territorial integrity and will live peacefully with the Jewish state of Israel. This is the vision set forth in the road map -- and helping the parties reach this goal is one of the great objectives of my presidency. The Palestinian people have suffered from decades of corruption and violence and the daily humiliation of occupation. Israeli citizens have endured brutal acts of terrorism and constant fear of attack since the birth of their nation. Many brave men and women have made the commitment to peace. Yet extremists in the region are stirring up hatred and trying to prevent these moderate voices from prevailing.

This struggle is unfolding in the Palestinian territories. Earlier this year, the Palestinian people voted in a free election. The leaders of Hamas campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and improving the lives of the Palestinian people, and they prevailed. The world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will follow through on its promises, or pursue an extremist agenda. And the world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people. Abandon terror, recognize Israel's right to exist, honor agreements, and work for peace.

President Abbas is committed to peace, and to his people's aspirations for a state of their own. Prime Minister Olmert is committed to peace, and has said he intends to meet with President Abbas to make real progress on the outstanding issues between them. I believe peace can be achieved, and that a democratic Palestinian state is possible.
The president's most effective parts of this speech concern Darfur and Syria. By referring to the situation in Sudan as genocide, he has made an important diplomatic move. He should be commended for that. Also, Syria's government is Alawite, whereas the population is mostly Sunni. An appeal to the people of Syria could exploit sectarian tensions. It is just too bad that this president is a unifying force against the United States. A great deal of this speech concerned the Palestinian peace process, which needs to be resumed.

Now the problems...

Elections are a poor metric for gauging progress in Iraq. Moreover, those elections saw sectarian initiatives carry the day. That could be seen, in hindsight, as an indication of the developing sectarian problems we see today.

Afghanistan is a wake-up call for NATO and the United States. It is, once again, a threat to the collective security of the world. However, this is not an unavoidable danger.

Threats have been leveled against Iran, and yet there is little indication that Iran will cease its enrichment program.

George W. Bush has little political/diplomatic capital in Lebanon.

The president's apparent optimism concerning these four countries is poorly based.


Anonymous Charles Bannerman said...

The Problems you listed are correct on the surface but the following should be considered:
Iraqui election- not perfect but a start. Sectarian differences in Iraq and in the middle east in general are a fact of life. Until Muslims decide to join the 21 st century it will continue and no president of the US or any EU country can change it. This is something that will have to come from within the Muslim religeon.

Afghanistan- This is just another example of how feckless the Europeans are. They said they would provide, through NATO, sufficent troops and material to pacify the country so a stable government could be stood up. When asked for 2500 additional troops to help maintain order none of the NATO nations stepped forward. I think Spain finally sent some but the others are dragging their feet. These are the same nations that thought going into Afghanistan was a good idea.
Iran- Bush has worked with the EU and the UN in trying to get Iran to stop enriching uranium. Both of those organizations have shilly shallied on sanctions and have knuckeled under time and time again.
Lebanon- true, President Bush has little political capital in Lebanon. In my opinion he did the right thing in supporting Israel against Hizbolla. That cost him whatever capital he had but honestly, what were the alternatives. Dump Israel, our only strong ally in the region?
His apparent optomism- he could have pulled a Jimmy Carter and looked woebegone a talked about a malaise but what would that accomplish. He gets paid to put the best face on things that he can. People don't want to hear gloom and doom from the President.

My honest opinion- President Bush wasted his breath. The UN is a useless organization that has become totally irrevalent. If I had my way, we would pull out.

5:14 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Bush wasted his breath. It was nice that he tried though...

With Israel, I don't think he backed the wrong horse (Israel), but he did not back the right horse (Olmert).

Afghanistan is a major cause for concern, as is NATO's inability to field an effective fighting force. Poland has agreed to send more troops, but not until February. I have read that Germany has a number of caveats precluding, or almost precluding, a combat role in the south. In addition, do you recall France's initial force for Lebanon and UN resolution 1701? 200 additional troops, while France appeared to want to be in a leadership role. International pressure has forced them to increase their numbers, but, it was an alarmingly limited response.

I agree that the sectarian troubles in Iraq are a part of the broader conflicts between traditionalist and rationalist (progressive) Islamists and Sunnis/Shiites in general.

I did not want something like Jimmy Carter, and I guess this speech is not the venue to look for a change.

5:40 PM  

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