HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Basic Instincts, Black September?

Obama To Chair UNSC Session As China, Russia Push UN To Replace US Dollar As Reserve Currency

By Steve Schippert | September 9, 2009

If September is to be governed by presidential instincts and an over-valued view of the role of the United Nations, it may mark a significantly bad turn for American power, particularly economically. And that would inevitably translate into an eventual high surcharge on American security on many levels and in many places.

The Financial Times notes that President Obama will be the first US president to chair a UN Security Council session. September 24th, President Obama is to preside over a UNSC session focusing on "nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament - one of several global challenges that the US now wants to see addressed at a multinational level." Anyone keeping score on the UN Security Council (to say nothing of the IAEA) on issues nuclear?

Nuclear disarmament is indeed an issue - a campaign promise - that President Obama is bent on pursuing. And it's a fool's errand that will only end badly in the form of unilateral disarmament before our enemies or die away into the ether. During his campaign, besides unilateral cuts in the US nuclear arsenal, then-candidate Obama pledged to "seek the ban of fissile material." Perhaps he did not know what he was talking about, because that fantastical vision would not only halt nuclear weapons production, but also the operation of all nuclear electricity plants.

But the problem with the Obama Administration on issues of National Security are founded less in specific campaign promises and more in basic instincts, depth and perceptions. Worldview, if you will. Consider President Obama's appointed UN ambassador Susan Rice.

"The council has a very important role to play in preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons, and it's the world's principal body for dealing with global security cooperation," Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN, said last week.

Her remarks were the latest by the Obama administration to emphasise a shift from the strategy of the previous Bush administration, sometimes criticised by its UN partners for seeking to use the world body principally to endorse its own unilateral policies. The US currently holds the month-long rotating presidency of the Security Council.

First, Susan Rice has to say such things about the UN Security Council. The problem is that she believes it. If "the world" looks to the UN Security Council for adequate "dealing with global security cooperation," it is banking on success where there is no track record but failure, particularly in the nuclear arena. Reference: Iran, North Korea.

Secondly, the Financial Times simply can't resist taking a shot at that rotten cowboy villain, President George W. Bush. Remind all, they must, that adversaries on the Security Council continually railed that Bush and America would "use the world body principally to endorse its own unilateral policies." Oh, really?

Common sense dictates that all policy initiatives are "unilateralist" in proposition until a coalition is built. Such as the Iraq war coalition. Such as the Six-Party Talks with North Korea. Such as, after immediate US initiative, Afghanistan.

Let's be clear about the UN Security Council and the entire UN General Assembly - there is no such thing as "consensus" or "unanimity." The world's most powerful nations are competing interests. And the weaker cast their lots for greatest national gains.

If there was anything the world would seemingly find "consensus" on, it would be keeping the Iranian terror-sponsoring regime from attaining nuclear weapons. Yet, every time sanctions come up for vote at "the world's principal body for dealing with global security cooperation," Russia objects to anything that would amount to being actually prohibitive in measure.

Why? Russia is building their reactors for them, and it's a multi-billion dollar trade off.

And that's without even mentioning China. No, the unilateralist days are over. Let the healing begin.

And what, might you ask, can Russia and China agree on when it comes to the UN and disarmament? Let this headline grab you: UN wants new global currency to replace dollar.

Now, the UN has thrown its weight behind the Russian and Chinese endeavor. Of course, that can't be considered unilateralist if both of them want it. And certainly not if a UN body has officially sanctioned it as a good idea. In contrast, British and Canadian support (et al) of US endeavors couldn't shake the unilateralist label from President Bush. That's apparently altogether different entirely.

For what it's worth, the following needs to sink in a bit.

In a radical report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said the system of currencies and capital rules which binds the world economy is not working properly, and was largely responsible for the financial and economic crises.

It added that the present system, under which the (US) dollar acts as the world's reserve currency , should be subject to a wholesale reconsideration.

Although a number of countries, including China and Russia, have suggested replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency, the UNCTAD report is the first time a major multinational institution has posited such a suggestion.

Just in time for the president's arrival, at the table with both China and Russia. Where does the President of the United States stand on this issue? It's a fair question. He has supported in the past a global tax governed and administered by the United Nations. Is this - "replacing the dollar with an artificial [UN] currency" - congruous with his thinking towards that end?

The upcoming meetings at the United Nations present unsettling potential with a president out of his depth. International leaders, unlike the international media, do not seem particularly fond of President Obama. His first meeting with Vladimir Putin consisted of a lecture on Russian history, who did not even bother to feign chumminess as he had with George W. Bush.

Obama's instincts are all wrong on security matters and his bloated budgets (except for Defense, naturally) in times of funding shortfalls combined with massive money printing at US mints have China pushing to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency. And their argument resonates, fueled not simply by the adversarial nature of certain interests, but by unsound US economic policy.

We grow weaker, in real and perceived terms, with each passing month. And September may start a pivotal turn. Not for the good, but rather for accelerated decline.

Leave a comment