Sunday, November 19, 2006

Foreign policy makes strange bedfellows

So I'm reading this article from the Washington Post...

I'll admit, I haven't been keeping up with the Middle East crisis lately. I was aware of the strike and that it had a significant civilian death toll, but really, is that even news anymore? Shouldn't the headlins just read "Israeli and Palestinian leaders kill civilians, each other" every time, so we know nothing new is going on?

But at any rate, obviously the US were going to veto a condemnation in the Security Council. What I found hilarious/appalling was the voting record of the General Assembly Resolution.

First of all:

The assembly voted 156-7 with six abstentions to approve a resolution put forward by Arab states that also urged the Jewish state to immediately withdraw its troops from Gaza.

Okay fine, that seems reasonsable. What's right is not always popular and what's popular is not always right and all that jazz. But still, I wonder who the naysayers and abstainers were, because that will obviously make a difference to my analysis of the vote...

Voting "no" were the United States, Israel, Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. Abstaining were Canada, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Come again?

Tuvalu, Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands only recently gained independace from the US, and are from what I can tell are basically unofficial protectorates of the US and/or Australia. Nauru is where Australia sends refugees in order to deny them their rights under UN treaty obligations. Ivory Coast (or Cote d'Ivoire as it is, you know, actually named) has been internally unstable for years, Papua New Guinea was until 1975 an Australian colony, Tonga may be undergoing a violent revolution, and Vanuatu is another micro-state bound to Australia.

Which is not to say that these countries shouldn't have a vote, but clearly half of them are dependant on the US/Australia, so the autonomy of their foreign policy is in doubt. On the flip side, we have...let's see...ALL of Europe, ALL of Central/South America, and the vast vast vast majority of Asia and Africa saying: "All right, Israel. Not cricket." I think just maybe Canada backed the wrong side in this one...

Or as Marx said: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

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