Via David Hodgson.
This just in from Fox News:
EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations is planning to create a sweeping new set of “sustainable development goals”
Um… and we’ll have more from Fox News a bit later in the programme.
To be fair, though, their read of the implications – that the SDGs will “likely require trillions of dollars of spending on poverty and the environment, a drastic reorganization of economic production and consumption — especially in rich countries — and even greater effort in the expensive war on climate change” – hardly constitutes a distortion; it sounds pretty much spot on to me.
And tempting as it may be to chuckle, don’t forget how that the 1992 Earth Summit’s “Agenda 21″, became a bête noire for US conservatives, as David Steven observed here last year, quoting US right-wing author Nancy Levant among others:
Let me try to say it in one sentence: Agenda 21 is the end of America.
If they felt that strongly about Agenda 21 – about as inoffensive a sustainable development policy statement as I can think of – just imagine how much of a cause celebre the SDGs have the potential to be in US red states…
Ross Douthat in the NYT today is worth a read for a good discussion of US conservatives’ motivations in taking the US to the brink on debt. He starts by quoting David Frum on what small government conservatives thought of the 1980s:
However heady the 1980s may have looked to everyone else, they were for conservatives a testing and disillusioning time. Conservatives owned the executive branch for eight years and had great influence over it for four more; they dominated the Senate for six years; and by the end of the decade they exercised near complete control over the federal judiciary. And yet, every time they reached to undo the work of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon — the work they had damned for nearly half a century — they felt the public’s wary eyes upon them. They didn’t dare, and they realized that they didn’t dare. Their moment came and flickered. And as the power of the conservative movement slowly ebbed after 1986, and then roared away in 1992, the conservatives who had lived through that attack of faintheartedness shamefacedly felt that they had better hurry up and find something else to talk about …
The point here, Douthat continues, is that
the deep, abiding gulf between the widespread conservative idea of what a true Conservative Moment would look like and the mainstream idea of the same … To liberals and many moderates, it often seems like the right gets what it wants in these arguments and then just gets more extreme, demanding cuts atop cuts, concessions atop concessions, deregulation upon deregulation, tax cuts upon tax cuts. But to many conservatives, the right has never come remotely close to getting what it actually wants, whether in the Reagan era or the Gingrich years or now the age of the Tea Party — because what it wants is an actually smaller government, as opposed to one that just grows somewhat more slowly than liberals and the left would like.
if this attitude sounds more like a foolish romanticism than a prudent, responsible, grounded-in-reality conservatism — well, yes, unfortunately I think it pretty clearly is.
(And check out Martin Wolf in Monday’s FT for a good summary of just how foolish…)
Thank you, New York Post, for finally bursting the UN General Assembly bubble:
Midtown jiggle joint Flashdancers has seen a lot of action thanks to the United Nations General Assembly.
“The place has been so packed with diplomats, they’ve had to turn away people at the door,” says a source.
But when we asked for the names of diplos dining out — and perhaps getting private lap dances on their countries’ cash — we were refused.
The source added, “None of the diplomats have been super wild, they’re all enjoying themselves but remaining very low-key.”
Micah Zenko of CFR has just blogged this transcript of a 1975 telephone call between Henry Kissinger and his long-time aide Winston Lord on the knotty problem of what to say about Africa in an upcoming speech:
KISSINGER: Are you redoing the African thing?
WINSTON LORD: Yes. We had versions which is in the front office and we are redoing it some more. You can look at what you have [or?] wait for what is in the typewriter now. It will not be tremendously different. We gave you a draft about two days which was bounced back.
K: It was not much.
L: We don’t have much of a policy.
K: What would be a policy?
L: That it is, I think, it is sober, restrained…
K: I don’t mind giving them what our intentions are. It is not always possible to do a hell of a lot.
L: Right. It is our lowest priority, but it cannot say that. But it is a fact of life.
K: We can say something about forthcoming aspirations.
L: You mean for development.
According to the full transcript, Kissinger goes on to say: “See if you can give it a little more lift without promising them much more.” Of course, no policy-maker would ever be so cynical about development policy these days…
Vuk Jeremic, a former foreign minister of Serbia, is coming to the end of a year in the very important job of President of the UN General Assembly. His tenure has been anything but dull. He organized a concert which featured a Serbian choir singing a song “associated with massacres carried out in the 1990s against civilians who were under the protection of United Nations peacekeepers.” He convened a thematic debate on criminal justice that the U.S. claimed was “trying to discredit the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.” And last week… he went to a Bon Jovi concert. Continue reading