Monday, September 15, 2008

McCain Proposes a "League of Democracies "

During a speech before the Hoover Institution on May 1st, Sen. McCain spoke about the formation of a "League of Democracies" which would enable "democratic friends and allies...to build a new global order of peace...that can last...for a century: and "where the dangers and threats we face diminish and where human progress reaches new heights."

Call me a wild-eyed idealist--of the conservative genre, of course--but such a pioneering concept in these treacherous and transformative times is, for me, very appealing and definitely worth exploring. Despite cynical detractors both on the left and the right, it's my belief that new challenges call for new approaches and, hopefully, remedies. For that reason, formation of the League is definitely worth pursuing.

Though I was unable to cull a lot of spedific information on this proposal, from what I've gleaned such a league is intended to be a viable and constructive alternative to a UN rife with parochial interests, corruption and ineptitude. It appears that the League would not supplant the UN; rather, it would, in parallel, independently supplement UN capabilities.

The theory goes that the nearly 100 democracies which would comprise this coalition would share common values and similar viewpoints on important matters, thus better ensuring more effective unified action on international issues and challenges of common concern. And, of course, as long as we don't delude ourselves in believing that such a league would morph into a "Grand Alliance" or otherise diminish the need for existing military alliances, such as they are, then a League of Democracies just might make the positive differences on the world scene McCain is hoping for.

Though international organizations have been inherently and notoriously ineffective, the League's greatest asset would be its constructive example which might well help to invigorate burgeoning democracies while encouraging a UN woefully in need of major reform to do so.

As a respectable international watchdog of sorts--with credible ecoomic, political and military leverage to boot--the League would be unconstrained by unconstructive and pftem irresponsible Security Council vetoes. Chances are probably better than even that a League of Democracies would be able to more effectively and quickly intercede in acute humanitarian crises like the Rwanda massacres and Darfur. As an international aid worker in my past life, possessing an aggressive humanitarian capability (my words) alone would render the League's formation well worth the effort. I suspect that the UN's role would be appropriately reduced to that of handling those humanitarian crises with which it would be more adept and familiar, e.g. UNICEF, UNHCR and less politically challenging disaster relief and peacekeeping operations worldwide. And, of course, the UN would continue to be a venue where international crises and concerns would be discussed--just not the only one.

In any event, I hope this concept has legs. Though it hasn't been talked about much by either Sen. McCain or the media, I believe it has genuine merit. If nothing else, it would serve to reinvigorate America's international diplomatic purpose and clout while enhancing the Free World's collective security as well. One would hope so anyway.

("Freedom lies in being bold." Robert Frost)