Australia and the United Nations

 

 It has been my long-held view that the fundament of many of Australia’s internal problems lay, in very large part, in its membership of the United Nations [UN]. As a founding signatory to this institution Australia takes its responsibilities very seriously and, unfortunately, literally.

Drawn up and signed in San Francisco on 26 June 1945, the United Nations Charter commits its signatories to a liberal democratic world ideal. The preamble opens with the portentous:

We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our generation has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and... …to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small…

And, in Article 1.3.

To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinctions as to race, sex, language, or religion.[1] 

Several points need be made about this high-minded document.

Firstly, it was the product of the victors of the Second World War, namely those countries, with one notable exception, deeply imbued with the dominant ideology of the time – liberal democracy. This document set in place what became known as the liberal order of geopolitics and diplomacy. Any first-year student of political philosophy will recognise in the document the sentiments of Locke, Paine, Bentham and the United States Constitution.  

This document also formed the fundament of what was to become the realist school of international politics. One of the great theorists of this school, Hans Morgenthau, observed in his founding text book [1948] on the subject:

Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe. As it distinguished between truth and opinion, so it distinguishes between truth and idolatry. All nations are tempted – and few have been able to resist the temptation for long – to clothe their own particular aspirations and actions in the moral purpose of the universe. To know that nations are subject to the moral law is one thing, while to pretend to know with certainty what is good and evil in the relations among nations is quite another. There is a world of difference between the belief that all nations stand under the judgment of God, inscrutable to the human mind, and the blasphemous conviction that God is always on one’s side and that what one wills oneself cannot fail to be willed by God also.[2]

Morgenthau continues by positing the ‘intellectual autonomy’ of the political realist as distinguished from other disciplines such as the economist, lawyer and moralist. This became a founding premise in the liberal notion of international relations.

Secondly, the United Nations Charter has been equally observed by its signatories in the breach as in its concord. This charter has been subject to some of the grossest acts of hypocrisy in the annals of diplomacy. Consider the very ideals detailed above and then consider the modern history [1945-hence] of China; Russia; Eastern Europe; most of the post-colonial states of Africa; the Middle East; Iran; Indo China; Indonesia and South America – all of whom, remember, are signatories.

Consider today, some seventy-four years after the UN’s inception, the activities of most of the countries [all signatories] in the Middle East; Iran; Turkey; the dysfunctional countries of Africa; China’s totalitarian repression of minorities and its growing military and imperial ambitions; the continued tensions between the nuclear powers India and Pakistan; South Africa’s open persecution and killing of whites to say nothing of course about the war of terror prosecuted by Mohammedan extremists against themselves and anybody else.

The United Nations is a legacy of the liberal democratic world view, which, I suggest, is now long past. It was established to reflect the ethnocentric political and moral values of the then dominant world civilisation, being Western Civilisation. Indeed, the very siting of the UN Headquarters in New York provides ample indication of its cultural fundament.

The United Nations Charter provided the world with a yardstick to measure international behavior. It was an imperfect measure but a measure nonetheless and, quite obviously, better perhaps than nothing. The UN provided a vehicle wherein the international community could express itself – in this it has served many worthwhile purposes and has been an agent in preventing some wars; it has been an active agent in providing peacekeeping forces; it has done much good in the field of international health, education and agriculture and, to varying degrees, it has done much good in the provision of international humanitarian aid. It has however also done much harm to its founders.

By this I mean that in reality, the only nations that have ever really adhered to or at least endeavoured to meet their obligations to the UN Charter were those of the liberal democratic order.

These countries adhered in general to its idealist precepts, they met their ever-increasing financial obligations to the ever-increasing bureaucracy and the ever-increasing aid programmes; they dutifully joined the ever-increasing numbers of international committees often chaired by ever-increasing numbers of third-world bureaucrats representing some of the vilest dictators on earth. Moreover, they dutifully signed ever-increasing numbers of protocols committing their nations to all manner of innocuous sounding but binding policies which proved to serve to their complete disadvantage.

All of which has been ongoing for the past seventy-four years under the noses of, but largely unnoticed by, the ordinary citizens and electors of the Western World.

Although the UN as a corporate body is financially dependent upon the United States and other Western countries, its General Assembly is politically in thrall to those forces working against the very idealist fundament of its Charter: namely, those countries outside the once called ‘Western Bloc’. Many of the partisan, blatantly biased and politically charged decisions of this egregious and undemocratic mob verge on the unbelievable. Nonetheless its deliberations are held seriously and accepted largely uncritically by Western diplomats for fear of giving offence.

The growth of the Asian super-economies, the rise of China and India and the decline of the West has changed the geo-political dynamic. As the old liberal order of international relations stumbles into decrepitude, now is the time to review and chart new directions for same. But this is not the object of this essay.

I am concerned here to illustrate that most Western countries have swallowed whole-meal, and to their own detriment, the idealistic cant of the ‘liberal world order’ they created. I further suggest that this is not wholly the fault of inept politicians.

Most Western countries are served by a well-schooled and privileged elite known as the ‘diplomatic service’.  It is of course perfectly natural that a country should be represented at international level by well-trained diplomats. It is however a completely different thing for a country to be represented by members of an international cocktail set of globalists.  It is only natural that anyone, well-educated and sophisticated, exposed long enough to the nuances of the international language of diplomacy, with an extensive network of friends and acquaintances throughout the world, would become internationalist in worldview. At some point, depending on the home government policy, some dis-arrangement between department and minister is therefore bound to arise.

Diplomats, by the very nature of their being, have refined the subtle arts of persuasion to the point that it takes a most strong minister of character to truly master his or her foreign affairs department. Indeed, after being wined and dined internationally a couple of times, at the taxpayers’ expense, it is easy to succumb to the charms, eloquence and assurances of your departmental ‘hosts’ and, remember, your public servants.

I write by way of example of my direct experiences of Australia’s own Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade [DFAT] in Europe and in South-East Asia. I was both witness and unwitting party to the ‘wining and dining’ and manipulation of a then, most senior and unprepossessing, Australian politician in Paris. Elsewhere I have had various other social and business contacts with DFAT. I cannot fault the hospitality and charm of the officers concerned – it was impeccable – but it provided me with insights into their profession.

As noted above, diplomats are well-schooled. All have good university degrees. It is therefore axiomatic that such reflect similar values to their contemporaries in the professions. Given the undoubted reality that academia is today a reflection of the ‘progressive’ side of politics it is understandable that the young diplomatic trainee will be filled with a zeal imbued by his academic training.

He will join an elite department, distanced diametrically from the electorate and well away from direct public scrutiny – a department that has long been known for its separate and distinctive culture. At the end of his first couple of postings he will be well-inducted into departmental protocols and mores. He is well-schooled to play his part in the ongoing ‘Yes Minister’ diplomatic drama.

It might be added that his view of the world, by virtue of his education, his training and experience will, almost by definition, be completely at odds with the average elector and totally at odds with the aforementioned sections of the electorate that hold grievances about the social and political direction their country is heading.

It is of course in the interests of all diplomats to further their country’s interests without ‘rocking the boat’ unduly. Thus, at times, a judicious silence is considered better than raucous protest. In the Australian context this country’s persistent silence on the monstrosity that is Saudi Arabia, the Yemen War, the persecution and slaughter of Christians throughout the world, the dire plight of the white tribe of South Africa et. al. is damningly resounding.

A friend of mine is fond of saying that the problem with Australia is that we want to be liked by everyone. I think he is absolutely correct. The Australian character thrives on praise – we love to be told how nice our country is, how welcoming we are, how good our climate is and so forth. In the military, many decades past, my friend and I well remember parades for various visiting foreign dignitaries who would, on cue, extol the virtues of the Australian serviceman, the Anzac Spirit and the loyalty of this country to whatever alliance he represented. It was embarrassing but also expected of visitors – even military ones.

Much of Australian foreign policy appears to be predicated to this imperative of popular appeasement ergo ‘likeability’, rather than principle. It is also locked into what would seem a completely inappropriate foreign aid programme seemingly designed to further this imperative in the eyes of its United Nations colleagues. Examples abound.

Australia has failed to speak up for the aforedetailed persecution of whites in South Africa. Indeed, in 2019 its High Commissioner to that country, Adam McCarthy tweeted a photo of one of his High Commission staff with his arm around the shoulders of one Dali Mfopu, the National ‘Chairperson Advocate’ of the Economic Freedom Fighters [EEF].[3] The EFF are a significant minority party in South Africa. Consequent to the 8 May elections in 2019 the EFF won nineteen [19] seats from the African National Congress, increasing its share of the national vote from 6.3. percent to 10.79 percent.[4] The party manifesto openly repudiated the 1994 accords that established the multi-racial state South Africa; its first political pillar is:

Expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation, for equal distribution in use[5]

The remainder of the manifesto thundered at the alleged iniquities being perpetrated against blacks in South Africa. It was an openly racist document in which its leader called for widespread constitutional change, economic nationalisation, all land to be under the ‘custodianship of the state’ and, as befitting its modern socialist tendency – it even contained an extensive section on LGBT matters.

Moreover, the EFF has privately advocated the killing of whites, but on 5 March 2019 its political leader, Julius Malema generously conceded that he didn’t want the white population killed – he just wants them to serve the black population.[6] 

That the Australian High Commissioner should think that tweeting a photo of one of his staff arm-in-arm with a leader of such a race-hating mob as being a ‘good thing’ speaks volumes about the state of our diplomatic corps. 

Australia remained curiously silent over the Huawei dispute between Canada and China - one would have thought it should be steadfast in its support of its political cousin; it has been silent over the homicidal megalomania of Philippines President Duterte; Australia has been significantly silent on the subject of persecution of Christians around the world. Indeed, despite strong lobbying by its own Christian groups, Australia does not discriminate in favour of Christian refugees – indeed, the opposite seems to be true.

Australian politicians have consistently practiced studied ignore at matters closer to home such as corruption and violence in Papua New Guinea and the Australasian region. For decades it neglected the South Pacific despite the early rumblings of discontent in Fiji followed by the first of four coups d’état in 1987 [which I am on record as foreshadowing]. It continues to ignore the plight of Tibet. The non-Chinese minorities in China have been completely forgotten by Australian politicians who appear only too anxious to sup from the seemingly overfull economic rice bowl that is China. The double-dealings of Pakistan in Afghanistan and its dubious role in the farcical war on terror are completely overlooked, and India’s military arms race has caused no public admonishment. Finally, the unconscionable behavior of most African governments towards their subjects is treated with disregard by Australian foreign ministers.

Indeed, these species of foreign policy dilettantes love to swing around the globe, to and from an endless round of conferences, being wined and dined in the most fashionable and salubrious of locations at taxpayers’ expense. Whilst doing so, these privileged eminences are wont to hand out billions of taxpayers’ dollars to undeserving recipients all in the name aid – or more accurately - buying Australian goodwill. A review of Australian foreign aid recipients is instructive: it includes India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Sub-Saharan Africa [$121 mil], the Latin and Caribbean region, Palestine [$43 mil.2018Est] and of course the devastated trio of Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.[7]

Let us briefly review this list. Why are we sending aid to Pakistan and India? Both of these have sufficient funds to maintain and increase huge military establishments – not the least the huge financial resources to develop, build and maintain nuclear weapons.    

Why are we sending aid to Indonesia? That country has sufficient resources to equip itself with a $1.5 billion squadron of Russian made SU-35 fighter jets together with other arms and military hardware. [Note: Russia is Indonesia’s largest military supplier].[8]

Why is Australia sending money and resources to Sub-Saharan Africa? It is not within our sphere of interest and never has been. The same may be said of the Caribbean region and Palestine.

The tragedies of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan were, in part, of our own making and this country has to accept its obligation in their restitution.

To conclude this overview of Australia and the United Nations, I take issue with the founding premise of that organisation - it is apparent to me that the ideals of human rights, gender equality and indeed the equality of man were not, never have been, and will not be universally shared by mankind. Differing cultures have differing views on these matters, particularly in the context of today’s post-modern and relativist Western society. Who is to say they are incorrect or otherwise? It was perhaps the supreme arrogance of our Western civilisation to attempt to impose this order on the world.

However, we did and we are now reaping the dubious rewards. Our political representatives and diplomats have on our behalf signed numerous UN ‘protocols’[9] and trade agreements requiring us to accept the unforeseen consequences of varying ‘equalities’ embodied therein.

To this end, I take some delight in a supreme irony in the following hiatus:

On the one hand our modern progressive culture asks: Who’s values are more correct than another’s? Why should homosexuals not be allowed to marry? Why should we be stuck in gender stereotypes? Why shouldn’t we allow all refugees into our country? Why shouldn’t we have a huge open lovely multicultural society? Why shouldn’t Islamists be allowed to practice their faith in full? What right have we to dictate to the world our values? And so forth.

Yet, on the other hand, we laud the United Nations and all its doings despite it having imposed upon, and continues trying to impose upon the world, a value-laden charter of obligations drafted by the very civilisation that we are hell-bent upon devaluing if not destroying. Our own!

  



[1] ‘Charter of the United Nations’. In Morgenthau, H. Politics Among Nations. Alfred Knopf. 1973 ed. Appendix. P.554.  

[2] Morgenthau, Hans. Politics Among Nations. Alfred Knopf. New York. [Fifth Edition] 1973. P11.

[3] Twitter.Adam McCarthyAU@AuHCs 2 February 2019.

[4] Morken, Ben. ‘South African Elections 2019: widespread fury and big gains for the EFF’. In Defence of Marxism. 13 May 2019. www.marxist.com/south-africa-elections-2019

[5] Our Land and Jobs Now. 2019 Election Manifesto. EFF. www.scribd.com/document/EEF-election manifesto

[6] ‘Whites Should Serve Blacks’. RT News. 5 March 2019.

[7] DFAT. Where we Give Aid. Htps:///dfat.gov.au/aid/where-we-give-aid

[8] ‘What’s Next for the Indonesia-Russia Fighter Jet Deal?’ The Diplomat. 16 February 2018. thediplomat.com/2018/02

[9] Conventions; codes of behaviour; mutually accepted rules.