John McCain has proposed that the US should sponsor the creation of a new multilateral organization that includes the world’s legitimate democracies. This League of Democracies would act in the interest of freedom and liberty and would act when the UN gets bogged down in its impotence, especially on Iran and Darfur. Initially rejected, the idea has lately begun to appeal to other democracies, as the AP reports:
Gaining ground this political season is a proposed League of Democracies designed to strengthen support for the next president’s overseas agenda and ensure a global leadership role for the United States.
John McCain, the virtually certain Republican presidential nominee, has endorsed the concept of a new global compact of more than 100 democratic countries to advance shared views and has discussed the idea with French and British leaders.
“It could act where the U.N. fails to act,” he said last month, and pressure tyrants “with or without Moscow’s and Beijing’s approval.”
McCain said the League might impose sanctions on Iran, relieve suffering in the Darfur region of Sudan and deal with environmental problems.
Mostly this has received more favorable attention as a concept rather than a plan. McCain hasn’t laid out a detailed proposal for membership, rules, funding, or location, nor would he until he became President and could open negotiations with a founding group of nations. The creation of any multilateral organization requires the cooperation of its founding member-states, but the initial acceptance of the concepts is critical.
Critics say that the world doesn’t want to give the US a mechanism for bypassing the UN. However, the Western world has clearly been frustrated by Moscow and Beijing over the last several years in addressing critical situations like Iran and Darfur. The two Asian giants have blocked all attempts to stop a non-rational Islamist regime and terror financier from getting nuclear weapons, only agreeing to the mildest of sanctions and refusing to stop assisting in their nuclear efforts. In Sudan, the UN has stood by as a genocide unfolds, rendered impotent by repeated vetoes from China, which gets oil from the genocidal regime.
It’s not just the US that wants a mechanism that ignores Russia and China. And after the Oil-for-Food corruption and the sexual abuse scandals involving UN peacekeeper troops from non-democracies, these nations may not see the UN as an effective mechanism at all any longer, and may welcome an alternative.
If nothing else, the threat of the creation of a League of Democracies will have a salutary effect on Russia and China. Such a development will seriously weaken their prestige and their influence. They may react badly at first, but eventually they will have to forestall the League by acting less intransigently in the UN Security Council — and to start cracking down on the Iranians and the Sudanese. The threat may prove even more effective than the League would, at least in the short run.