13 May 2007 - Bruno Prior
What do the following have in common?
- The top 16 in the Eurovision Song Contest consist of 14 former communist-block countries, plus Greece and Turkey. As usual, regional block-voting dominated the outcome.
- Zimbabwe was elected to head the UN's Commission on Sustainable Development, thanks to the African block choosing to put African solidarity and contempt for the first-world ahead of responsibility.
- Every member of the EU except Britain defrauds the first phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme by overestimating their potential emissions and setting themselves targets that are so easy to meet that they can profit from excess emissions rights without having to make serious efforts to reduce emissions. The value of carbon in EU-ETS collapses as a consequence, and no significant reductions of emissions are attributable to the first phase.
- Concerted action on Darfur is undermined by the self-interest of countries like China, India and Malaysia.
- Concerted action on Iran's nuclear programme is undermined by Russian self-interest.
- Russia is trying to put together a gas cartel along the lines of OPEC, in order to control the price of gas to its mainly Western customers.
- Progress on reform of agricultural support and protectionism at the WTO is hampered by regional blocks trying to maximise their advantage. Rich countries like France are quite prepared to sabotage the process in order to protect the profits of the 3% of their population now engaged in farming. Their old, supposedly right-wing government has refused to countenance any reduction of support under the EU Common Agricultural Policy. Their new, supposedly right-wing president has called for Europe to be more protectionist.
But all the same, Britain and America ought not to act without international consensus, and are in breach of international law for failing to achieve that consensus. Because we can always rely on our international partners to act in a fair and distinterested manner. And the problems of bad governance around the world are all the fault of us capitalist imperialists.
To the many in the West who now speak in tones of moral indignation about the failure to get agreement at the UN before the removal of Saddam, not to mention the many other failures to get effective international action, I say grow up, you naive, equivocal, self-righteous prigs.
Topics: Philosophy & Politics