There have been quite a few articles in recent days bemoaning the fact that neither the Government nor the Conservative Party has a serious foreign policy. The most ‘unserious’ aspect of current foreign policy is the reverence for the UN. I’ve written about the UN’s failures before but this, from Jonah Goldberg, says it particularly well on TownHall.com today:
"Once again the "international community" is clamoring for the United Nations to fix things in the Middle East. It’s reminiscent of an episode of "The Simpsons" in which Homer is in dire straits. In a panic, he yells heavenward, "I’m not normally a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman!" For some fetishists of multilateralism, the U.N. seems to fill this odd space in their brains once reserved for God, providence, the czar or even the Man of Steel – whatever force of good that can save civilization from evil. If religion is the opiate of the masses, then the United Nations is the opiate of the elites."
It’s odd that Tories – who so understand the weaknesses of the EU – should feed support for this talking shop where dictatorships have as much power as democracies.
The UN is always at the mercy of the slowest Security Council member in any convoy to action. In the absence of any consensus amongst UN members for its reform Conservatives should be arguing for a ‘coalitions of the willing’ multilateralism. Such ‘coalitions of the willing’ include NATO, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and the coalition of nations that organised relief for the Indian Ocean region after 2004’s tsunami. What has been called "multi-multilateralism" is a more promising route to both avoiding dangerous unilateralism and also to ensuring that there is some sort of response to international dangers.