British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave an excellent speech yesterday discussing the reality of the threat posed to civilization by terrorists and terrorist nations. You should go read the whole thing -- I wish President Bush and his speechwriters were this clear and direct.

One of the most interesting and important points comes at the end, and signals a potential sea change in international relations.

Which brings us to how you make the rules and how you decide what is right or wrong in enforcing them. The UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights is a fine document. But it is strange the United Nations is so reluctant to enforce them.

I understand the worry the international community has over Iraq. It worries that the US and its allies will by sheer force of their military might, do whatever they want, unilaterally and without recourse to any rule-based code or doctrine.

But our worry is that if the UN - because of a political disagreement in its Councils - is paralysed, then a threat we believe is real will go unchallenged. ...

It means reforming the United Nations so its Security Council represents 21st century reality; and giving the UN the capability to act effectively as well as debate.

It means getting the UN to understand that faced with the threats we have, we should do all we can to spread the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and justice for the oppressed, however painful for some nations that may be; but that at the same time, we wage war relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring catastrophe to the world.

I haven't heard this kind of talk from a national leader before; although President Bush came close at times, I don't remember him openly calling for the UN Security Council to be "reformed".

Still, the UN has exactly as much power and credibility as the nations its built of. I'm not sure a reformed UN with liberal democratic principles would be of any more use than our current model of "coalitions of the willing".



Email blogmasterofnoneATgmailDOTcom for text link and key word rates.

Site Info