Thursday 25 September 2003

Do as I say, not as I do

It's not often that you'll find me quoting our Esteemed Prime Monster, John Howard. Australians have a traditionally low opinion of all politicians – one often confirmed when they end up in pokey – and to quote one is like quoting a Lawyer or an Axe-Murderer.
But when someone, anyone, is right, they're right. Even Robert Fisk has been right sometimes. So in that spirit, here's John Howard's words, courtesy of The Australian :
"I hear the French and others complaining about the Americans and us on Iraq," he said on Melbourne radio 3AW.

"I might remind them that the bombing of Serbia and the action to help the people of Kosovo was not carried out by the NATO countries including France with the approval of the UN Security Council because the Russians said they would veto any resolution authorising that military action.

"So the relevant countries including France just went ahead and did it. In legal terms that is exactly the same as what happened in Iraq.

"It was a perfectly legal thing we did, but it's a bit hypocritical of others who, having themselves ignored the Security Council, now turn around and say 'You must never do anything which does not involve the Security Council'."
He also has views pretty close to identical to my own on the UN :
He said the five current permanent members would be left with the power of veto because realistically they would never give it up.

"Then perhaps you could add another five permanent members to reflect the geopolitical realities of the modern world and not the world of 1945," he said.

"That is to include countries like Japan and Indonesia and Indian and perhaps Brazil and perhaps Nigeria or another country in Africa."

Mr Howard said the UN did much good work in many areas and on many occasions provided the forum to broker an international peace deal

"But in the end the UN interventions are only effective if there are individual countries willing to be involved in that intervention and to lead it," he said.

"If Australia had not been willing to becomes involved in East Timor, does anybody imagine that other countries would have led that intervention? Of course they wouldn't.

"We should neither overstate nor understate the relevance of the UN."
A Polly with nous. And a PM at that. Whoda Thunk it?

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