Dr. Mahathir's diagnosis of ailing UN
NEW YORK-- As expected, Malaysia's outspoken Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad was the only world leader who had the courage to challenge
the credibility of the UN, condemn the selective use of the veto
power in the Security Council, and warn the world body against the
resurgence of imperialism and "puppet regimes".
earlier this year called for the resignation of Secretary-General
Kofi Annan for failing to assert himself during the crisis that
led to the US invasion of Iraq, told the General Assembly last week
that the UN's organs had been "cut out, dissected and reshaped
so they may perform the way the puppet masters want."
by profession, Mahathir's medical metaphor really cut to the heart
of the political problem facing the world body. "And this august
institution, the United Nations in which we had pinned so much hope,
despite the safeguards supposed to be provided by the Permanent
Five, this organisation is today collapsing on its clay feet, helpless
to protect the weak and the poor," he told the 58th session
of the General Assembly attended by over 60 world leaders.
In what was
his final address to the UN before he steps down as Malaysia's prime
minister at the end of October, Mahathir was his usual self hammering
at the political inequities of a world -- and a world body -- dominated
by the United States.
names, he said: "The unipolar world dominated by a democratic
nation is leading the world to economic chaos, political anarchy,
uncertainty and fear."
After his vibrant address to the General Assembly, every other speech
sounded as dull as a laundry list for supermarket shopping.
parade of world leaders took added significance this year because
the General Assembly was meeting six months after an illegal war
against Iraq launched in defiance of the world body. The war, in
which over 300 US soldiers have died so far, is now heading towards
a military catastrophe for the Americans.
W. Bush, who came to the UN last week seeking 15,000 to 20,000 foreign
troops for a new multinational peacekeeping force in Iraq, left
for Washington virtually empty-handed. Bush was also rebuffed in
his quest for billions and billions of dollars in Western aid for
the reconstruction of the war-devastated country.
President met with several visiting heads of state -- including
French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder,
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal
Bihari Vajpayee -- who were in New York for the annual General Assembly
announcing its intention not to exercise its veto against a proposed
US-sponsored resolution for a new military force, Washington is
trying to muster the 30,000-40,000 foreign troops it desperately
needs to stabilise a war-devastated Iraq heading towards political
and military chaos.
resolution, which is expected to go before the Security Council
early October, seeks not only troops from American friends and allies
around the world but also funds for the reconstruction of Iraq.
UN-mandated force is expected to relieve the pressure on the besieged
140,000-strong US military force in Iraq whose troops are dying
at an average of about one per day.
and France have ruled out any troops for the new force. Instead,
they are insisting on the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty and a
greater political role for the UN in Iraq.
India has said
its military is pre-occupied with "cross-border terrorism"
on the Pakistan border and is no position to provide the 18,000
troops requested by the US. Immediately after his meeting with Bush,
Musharraf told reporters that he needs to see the "final shape"
of the US resolution before he decides to respond to the American
request for about 10,000-12,000 Pakistani troops.
international obligations and we have domestic constraints,"
he said. "President Bush absolutely understands this."
Musharraf also said "the domestic environment in Pakistan is
totally opposed to sending troops to Iraq."
decision to send Pakistani troops will depend primarily on two factors:
firstly, whether the resolution will also call on Muslim nations
to send troops to Iraq, and secondly, whether there is a desire
on the part of the people of Iraq for a multinational force. "We
cannot be seen as being an extension of the military occupation
of Iraq," Musharraf addedLast week Edward Kennedy, a senior
US senator, raised a political storm in Washington when he accused
the Bush administration of failing to account for nearly half the
$3.9 billion Washington is apparently spending on the military in
Iraq every month.
is that this money is being shuffled all around to these political
leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops,"
he said. He also said the so called "imminent threat"
to the United States from Iraq was "made up in Texas (Bush's
hometown), announced in January to the Republican leadership that
war was going to take place and was going to be good politically.
This whole thing was a fraud."