[EDITORIALS]U.S. Unilateral Diplomacy Backfires

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[EDITORIALS]U.S. Unilateral Diplomacy Backfires

The United States, which claims itself to be a stronghold of international human rights, was recently voted off the U.N. Human Rights Commission. It is the first instance of such a censure in the 54-year history of the commission. It was an admonition by the international community of the United States for its arrogance in presuming it would be granted a seat on the commission. By excluding the United States while electing Sudan and Libya, the vote can only be interpreted as an attempt to ostracize the world's remaining superpower. We believe this incident is a natural outcome of the Bush administration's brand of diplomacy.

The Bush administration declared it would unilaterally withdraw from the Kyoto treaty. It also proclaimed its intention to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and build a missile defense system despite opposition from a majority of countries. It has also defined China as a strategic competitor. Other examples of U.S. power plays to achieve its ends abound. There is a consensus building worldwide that the United States is seeking to lead the world in the 21st century by establishing a unipolar order centered upon itself. We therefore believe that the members of the United Nations, by their votes, expressed their discontent with and mistrust of the increasing complacency and obnoxiousness of the Bush administration.

It is deeply deplorable that calls to link this incident with the dues the United States owes the United Nations are being heard in the U.S. Congress. The United States owes more than any other country in back dues; it is still in arrears to the sum of $1.7 billion even after it had its share of general budget expenses reduced through what other members described as "audacious negotiation" at the end of last year from 25 to 22 percent, and from 31 to 28 percent for peacekeeping operations. These arrears amount to more than half of all unpaid dues of all member states. If the United States postpones payment of the dues in retribution for having been voted off the human rights commission, it would only confirm existing criticism that it considers the United Nations its "bothersome step-child."

The U.S. should humbly learn from the election that divorced it of its long-held seat at the human rights commission and take it as an opportunity to reflect upon the legitimacy of its unilateral diplomacy.
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