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A Proclamation from the United Nations

Today, the GENERAL ASSEMBLY PROCLAIMS 2008 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LANGUAGES, this document blares. You might be wondering the motivation for this flighty little expenditure on the part of the United Nations. (Besides the truth that folks with free money often make flighty little expenditures.) That’s an understandable curiosity. There are so many possibilities: increasing the guarantee of collective security, the curtailment of imperial Islam, the breakdown of tariff and non-tariff barriers so as to increase the amount of wealth in the world. Riches, liberalism, democracy, whisky, sexy!

Actually, the year was proclaimed to be the year of languages for reasons of “diversity and global understanding.”

That’s silly. Every year that people speak is the year of languages. (And every year that people speak, one or two languages move closer to becoming global.) And the job of this global regime we erected after the Second World War was specifically to pass judgment on certain nations—the bad ones—and specifically not to tolerate or to understand them. I suppose the UN stands in breach of contract. Or charter.

Let us see what else the General Assembly accomplished on a gray Manhattan day. Here’s something interesting, from the very same report linked above. The Assembly acted on a recommendation from “the Special Political and Decolonization Committee” (the fourth iteration of that committee, we’re told) and without even voting—what unity! what comity!—adopted the resolution entitled “Comprehensive review of a strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations.” If you’d like more details, look up document A/61/409/Add.1.

As a financial stakeholder in the UN, you may want to know what it means to adopt a recommendation to review a strategy towards eliminating future sexual exploitation in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Alas I won’t be able to help you with understanding that. As a mean, shout-y, John Bolton type, I can divine only one way to end the problem of United Nations peacekeepers raping all the women of the villages they’re supposed to be protecting. My idea has to do with jailing all the ones who do it, and probably harming them. But where’s the cultural understanding in that?


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