Has US the Wisdom to Know Its Strength and Weakness?

A United Nations flag flies outside the the European headquarters of the United Nations ahead of new round of meetings for the Syria talks in Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

A United Nations flag flies outside the the European headquarters of the United Nations ahead of new round of meetings for the Syria talks in Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Reuters’ report “U.N. panel rejects press freedom watchdog accreditation request” today tells the story of US failure to have the accreditation it wants.

In order to put an end to the delay caused by those who oppose accreditation of press freedom watchdog, the US suggested a vote but failed to obtain what it wanted by the vote. As it lost the vote by quite a big margin of 10 v. 6, I would like to ask why the US did not make a careful calculation how many votes it could get before suggesting the vote.

Obviously, the US lacks the wisdom to know its strength and weakness. The failure in UN will make those close to the US lose confidence in it and those who oppose the US bolder in challenging it.

There have been lots of such incidents of US lack of such wisdom that have been quite unfavorable to the US in achieving what it wants.

The best example is US pivot to Asia that it regards as its priority in containing China’s rise. However, it has failed to calculate how much support it can get for the pivot. First, as the pivot will also contain Russia, it has pushed Russia to Chinese side and thus lost India and Vietnam in its encirclement of China. It did not know its influence in ASEAN has been greatly decreased so that ASEAN members except Vietnam and the Philippines refuse to take side with the US while some members even firmly take side with China.

The US does not even have the vision to see that even South Korea that relies on its support in dealing with North Korea does not support US pivot to Asia as South Korea does not want to upset China.

In spite of all the frustration, the US lacks the wisdom to see that its pivot to Asia has already been a failure and shall be scrapped. What remains in its pivot is its freedom of navigation operations. However, US warship does not have freedom of navigation in area claimed by China. It was driven away by Chinese warplanes and warships.

Even if the US can really have had its warplanes fly over and warships sail freely in areas claimed by China, it can do no harm but give China the excuse to militarize its artificial islands.

The US even fails to see that the construction and militarization of China’s artificial islands are precisely China’s success in countering US pivot to Asia.

US failure to prevent China from building the artificial islands is precisely due to its lack of wisdom to know its strength and weakness. Before the construction of the artificial islands, the US believed that it was strong enough to deal with both China and Russia, so that it had made Russia and China close to each other.

Due to their understanding of US weakness, Russia and China took coordinated offensive: Russia invaded Ukraine while at almost the same time China began its large-scale construction of artificial islands. Now, Russia has got quite large parts of Ukraine and China has built its artificial islands. What has the US got? Nothing but the worry that Russia may take other parts of Ukraine and China may militarize its artificial islands.

If the US continues to lack the wisdom, it will not be able to achieve anything significant in the world. It shall realize that only when it has broken Russian-Chinese alliance can it really be world leader.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters report, full text of which can be viewed below:

U.N. panel rejects press freedom watchdog accreditation request

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom watchdog group, was denied consultative status at the United Nations on Thursday, with South Africa, Russia and China among the countries that opposed it.

The United States quickly denounced the decision and vowed to try to overturn it.

New York-based CPJ reports on violations of press freedom in countries and conflict zones around the world, reporting and mobilizing action on behalf of journalists who have been targeted. A U.N. panel rejected its application for status that would have given it access to U.N. headquarters and allowed it to participate in U.N. events.

The 19-member U.N. Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations has for years delayed action on the group’s application for accreditation. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon described the NGO committee process as “Kafkaesque.”

“A small group of countries with poor press freedom records are using bureaucratic delaying tactics to sabotage and undermine any efforts that call their own abusive policies into high relief,” he said in a statement.

The NGO committee rejected CPJ’s application with 10 votes against, six in favor and three abstentions.

Normally the committee decides by consensus. But a senior U.S. diplomat requested a vote after South Africa and other committee members kept posing questions that the United States and others denounced as a delaying tactic.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said Washington would seek to overturn the NGO committee’s “outrageous” decision by calling for a vote in the 54-nation U.N. Economic and Social Council.

“We are extremely disappointed by today’s vote,” she told reporters. “It is increasingly extremely clear that the NGO committee acts more and more like an anti-NGO committee.”

Western diplomats said the U.N. NGO committee has become increasingly unfriendly to organizations supporting Western notions of human rights, noting that gay rights NGOs and other groups have had trouble securing accreditation.

The NGO committee’s current members are Azerbaijan, Burundi, China, Cuba, Greece, Guinea, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Western diplomats said they were especially disappointed by South Africa, whose delegation criticized CPJ for, among other things, not supporting punishment for speech that incites hatred. The CPJ has noted that there is no internationally agreed definition of the term “hate speech.”

A Russian delegate said he had “serious doubts about whether this organization really is a non-governmental organization.”

China, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Sudan were also among those that voted against CPJ’s accreditation.

Azerbaijan, Iran, China, and Cuba are on the CPJ’s list of the 10 most-censored countries. It says on its website that the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s drive for press freedom in South Africa has faded.

On Russia it says: “Russia has a poor record of impunity in the cases of murdered journalists, which increases intimidation and acts of violence against the press.”

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by David Gregorio and Dan Grebler)


One Comment on “Has US the Wisdom to Know Its Strength and Weakness?”

  1. Joseph says:

    That’s new. Normally the Reuters would stubbornly ignore all fact to insist on the scripted fiction that the ASEAN unilaterally support US position against China on SCS, disregarding what people in the region really think. Now they are saying that not only the US has no friend on ASEAN except for Vietnam and Philippines, but it has also no friend on the rest of Asia and Africa. It is either the Reuters would start to act as a respected media that reports actual events, or those Reuters reporters writing the article didn’t care about their job security anymore.