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Kennedy Graham: Key’s UN speech “B-“

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 pm, September 27th, 2013 - 39 comments
Categories: climate change, greens, International, john key, news, Syria, us politics, war - Tags: ,

Good on Kennedy Graham for posting a good critique of Key’s UN speech, while the MSM largely report the speech in uncritical and glowing terms.  Graham gives it a B-; damns Key with some faint praise, then goes on to criticise the pro-US bias, the omissions related to Kyoto, and the Kampala Agreement, making aggression a leadership crime.  The latter involves a legal definition connecting the International Criminal Court and the UN.

Aggression will become justiciable once 30 parties ratify and a second, reaffirming, decision is taken in 2017.

Tracy Watkins on Stuff, begins her article on key’s UN speech, by framing it in fairly glowing terms, then gives selected quotes.  Watkins begins:

Prime Minister John Key has used a speech to the United Nations to launch a scathing attack on the Security Council, warning that inaction over events like the humanitarian crisis in Syria had damaged its credibility.

In notes for a trenchant speech lasting nearly 20 minutes, Key said the UN was in urgent need of reform – a key pitch in New Zealand’s bid for a seat on the Security Council.

Claire Trevett’s article has a glowing headline and opening salvo, making Key look quite the man on the international stage:

John Key’s scathing attack on UN failings

Prime Minister John Key has mounted a scathing attack on the failings of the United Nations and the permanent members of the Security Council, saying it gets bogged down in arcane detail and had become hostage to the interests of the most powerful.

Mr Key has just delivered New Zealand’s statement to the UN General Assembly, launching in with a strongly worded statement about the need for reform of UN Security Council, and criticism of the stubborn behaviour of the permanent members for resisting reform.

He used the lack of action on Syria as an example.

Patrick Glower is also glowing, seeing no problem with Key being critical of the way privileges powerful countries, while supporting Obama’s line on Syria and the UN’s response to it.

Prime Minister John Key has used his speech to the United Nation Nations to condemn the Security Council process, calling it a “powerless bystander” that has failed to protect the people of Syria.

Mr Key’s strongly worded attack includes an indirect swipe at Russia and China, saying the superpowers have used the veto power they have on the council to “shield” the Assad regime.

He also criticised the other permanent members the US, France and Great Britain, as well, saying they were all complicit in abusing the veto at times.

Kennedy Graham gives some muted praise on some important points Key made about the undemocratic nature of the UN Security Council, and the need for reform:

After five years the process of transforming Key-thought into institutionalised respectability is nearing completion.  The speech was clearly an MFAT draft – individual flair being automatically lobotomised.  That is progress in one sense – the nationally-humiliating Letterman-style jokes have given way to reassuring yawns.

But the PM (and MFAT) should be commended for touching on the theme of UN reform.  It is intrinsically important and reinforces – gives meaning to – New Zealand’s candidacy for that body.  It picks up on New Zealand’s traditional stance for abolition or circumscription of the veto – recalling Peter Fraser’s stance of 1945 and Helen Clark’s continual embrace of it – reflecting a unifying, multi-party touch.

Then Graham lays out his criticisms, largely focused on errors of omission, including:

An admonitory reference to the sins of Chinese and Russian vetoes over Syria without recall of the more numerous American vetoes over Israel and NATO’s over-interpretation of Security Council resolutions on Libya.

[…]

A disingenuous insistence that the Protocol Kyoto no longer ‘offers a path forward’ and what we need is a ‘single legal framework’ on global emissions, which ignores the fact that Kyoto-2 applies to this present critical transitional decade and the GLA applies to post-2020.

Graham then goes on to his most strongly worded criticism:

Probably the biggest mistake was the refusal – ‘brain fade’ – to announce that New Zealand would move purposefully and rapidly to ratify the ICC Kampala Amendment.

As I blogged yesterday, this would make aggression a leadership crime – in all the ICC states parties that ratify, including New Zealand.

The NZ Parliament adopted a Notice of Motion in June urging the Government to be among the first 30 ratifying states.  That was adopted unanimously, with National MPs’ support.

Other countries have already ratified it, while Key made no mention of it.  But I guess, that wasn’t one of the things Team Obama wanted him to include in his speech.

NB: Lynn I haven’t been able to upload any new images to the Gallery lately – get a “temporary file missing” message.  Hence a Green Party image, not one of Kennedy Graham. -[Edit] – Ah, working now.  Thanks.

[Update] Looking at the main message of Obama’s speech to the UN a couple of days ago, Key’s omission of the Kampala Agreement, non-aggression Agreement, looks very much like Key’s ploy to keep onside with Team Obama.  Democracy Now on Obama’s speech:

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama openly embraced an aggressive military doctrine backed by previous administrations on using armed force beyond the international norm of self-defense. Obama told the world that the United States is prepared to use its military to defend what he called “our core interests” in the Middle East: U.S. access to oil. “[Obama] basically came out and said the U.S. is an imperialist nation and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to conquer areas [and] take resources from people around the world,” says independent journalist Jeremy Scahill.

 

39 comments on “Kennedy Graham: Key’s UN speech “B-“”

  1. BLiP 1

    . . . Prime Minister John Key has mounted a scathing attack on the failings of the United Nations National Party and the permanent members of the Security Council Cabinet, saying it gets bogged down in arcane detail and had become hostage to the interests of the most powerful . . .

    The irony . . . it burns.

  2. ak 2

    Reasonably well-written diatribble for yanks……very-nearly-complete sentences and almost grammatically intelligible. Delightfully parodic content equivalent of NZ enlisting the Cook Islands to criticise Aussie….the PRC and russkies will be quaking in their boots I’m sure. Passable delivery from some featureless wooden nonentity. Possible B- entertainment filler for a missfisherless night, but do leave expectations low.

  3. deWithiel 3

    Mr Key’s Churchillian rhetoric in his speech to the UN was overwhelming; his sense of conviction as to the rightness of his purpose was more than compelling; his understanding of the global realpolitik was deeply impressive; and his fundamental decency and honesty was visible for all to behold. What I can’t understand is that, although New Zealand’s fearless reporters from the MSM have portrayed the, er, awesome significance of this speech, it has been comprehensively ignored outside of New Zealand. I can only imagine that this is as a consequence of our time zone and I look forward to more fulsome reports from elsewhere in the fullness of time.

    • unicus 3.1

      Only two sound bites of Key gibberish on TV One – the rest over-dubbed by penetrating MSM comment – Funniest part was a juxtaposed clip of Kerry and his entourage leaving the UN chamber – looked very like a walk-out on the dumbest speech of the year

  4. McFlock 4

    So of three jonolists describing the speech, two used “scathing attack” and one used “strongly worded attack”.

    Hmmm.

    Probably pure coincidence. Not verbatim repetition of a briefing tagline.

    • North 4.1

      And that ugly fuck on a junket Potty Gower just couldn’t resist saying “I’VE just been up to the UN (or come from or something)……..blah blah blah”. Save me !

      And the Earl of Obseqious Arselick fresh from Balmoral – save me again !

  5. Skinny 5

    It was plainly obvious this was all directed back home at the New Zealand audience, as much as it was to the UN. 

    Key-National are completely shell shocked at the dramatic drop in popularity. Gardner is blowing his arse it’s a 10% slump in the yet to be released poll. 

    Master & ‘legend in his own mind’ of National party spin Murray skullduggery McCully was sitting there hard staring Key to ‘go harder’ in his admonishment of the UN rant It is not in Key’s bag of tricks to play the hard man, more playing the jolly joker is pin up boys style.

    And while a not so cock sure Key is making a meal of it & puking up all over McCully as he rehearsing his UN lines. Back here Crusher Collins launches a couple of self promotion, One News clips today, letting everyone else know within National, she’s the ‘Boss’ when Key throws in the towel & slinks off to Hawaii to recoup.

  6. North 6

    Helen Clark must be chuckling. Little punk mincing out onto centre stage trying to make out he’s a world leader. When all he did was read a speech couriered from the State Department a few hours before he took the podium.

    How embarrassing. For Kiwis. It’s not all bad though. The spectacle’s got my mirth up.

  7. red blooded 7

    I was wincing when I saw Golly-Gee-Gowee reporting this and doing his best to imply a link between Key’s half-warm serving and the half-believable shift to find some sort of compromise between Russia and the US. Soeeches in the main chamber of the UN are a meaningless charade – it’s the negotiations that go on in the corridors, offices and invitation-only meetings that matter.

  8. dv 8

    Well OK
    now he has sorted out the UN,!!!
    He should come home and sort out the housing market.

    That should be a doddle.

  9. Ad 9

    I walked around St Lukes mall last night comparing black patent shoes. As one does. The English and Italian ones were things of strong leather that you knew would take a while to wrinkle, great lasts and soles – but those Chinese manufactured ones were thin, impossible to mend, and gloriously slick. All had the same shiny black surface.

    Now, I’m a sucker for shiny black shoes but I know quality, and it’s what I buy.

    I honestly expect New Zealand businesspeople to have little depth, but I have surprisingly high expectations of my politicians. I know a well structured speech with the subtlest deployment of tricks, games, peaks, bon mots and other rhetorical shapes – I have an instinct that I will know quality when I see and hear one. I can still remember where I was when Obama delivered the Chicago acceptance speech, for example. “Remember where I was when …” is the standard marker of a great speech. And we can detect the ripoffs and copies.

    At the UN yesterday, Key was the Chinese shoe. I’m not buying it, and I doubt anyone voting for a UN place will.

  10. MrSmith 10

    As usual Key should have stayed at home, normally when he’s away one of his rabble get caught with there fingers or foot in something (Nick Smith), know-body misses him when he’s gone (the polls), plus does anyone outside NZ takes the man serously anyway, only Kiwis are that stupid.

  11. Rodel 11

    Loved Cunliffe’s answer when asked what he thought of Key in New York….
    ” I think he’s doing a good job. He should stay there”
    (Shades of David Lange?)
    I wouldn’t be surprised if there had already been discussions on plans to restructure the security council and Key had already heard about it so the speech was designed to show how influential he is.
    There were already plans to do something about the Syria problem but he was just a bit late to jump onto that wagon and claim credit .
    Watch for the Gowers and co. trying to fabricate a credit claim..

  12. North 12

    Better than that watch for Potty Gower implying that he had a personal hand in this diplomatic high drama. “I spoke with Angela Merkel at the UN this evening and she said ‘Look Paddy…….. it’s all about blah blah blah…….’ “.

    Just as he’s keen on doing in respect of Steven Joyce. “And Steven said “Look Paddy……..”.

  13. From 1996-02I sat on UNCTAD UNFCCC helping set up IPCC)the goal/action then was to lower CO2e,restart the carbon cycle by replicating Nature by mass planting of that 2-6% of vegetation that sequesters CO2e (equivalent, such vegetation sequestration far more than CO2. E g Clover extracts r nitrogen from such sequestration along with a host of other elements! Albedo effect over the past 300years is the prime atmospheric heat build-up. Yes Industry has added serious gas emissions (de facto volcanoes) and yes they can capture these gases (some up 20,000 times of CO2. No report covers a well planned protocol to restart the carbon cycle back to deserts to grow soil and vegetation to not only capture CO2e but to grow food fodder and in time forestry (trees rice cotton most grains vegetables and grasses are a 100% source of CO2e and not a sink)
    So Smithsonian can under its charter lead teach and actual the lowering CO2e. The sad fact is the revolving doors of government’s attending a UN assembly is the problem cause effect and the simple solution are not applied. Under UNFCCC 98 carbon trading will fund those nation capable of lowering CO2e.Should you have time view Robert Vincin Google and wwwemissiontraders.com.au to study how we are implementing CO2e sinks growing soil food fodder into deserts and retarding albedo. God help the historians of tomorrow if we don’t all jointly restore the baseline assets of man and all living mater. The assets soil-water-vegetation-atmosphere, all else (all) are but commodities.
    Australia stands to be the CO2e sink for the develope world nation especially EU who have no way to lower CO2e. UNFCCC is a high cash flow “industry addressing every issues the government “promised to fix” jobs restore the land and create 1 million jobs. With just a fraction of lateral thinking Australia can be the global sink funded by CO2e trading and become the most famed leader of the millennium

    If you are keen to spend a short time to learn and lead in r estoring the baseline assets and your government supports climate change BAU until we have clean energy setion of lateral and me a message! Robert Vincin

  14. Populuxe1 14

    And yet the criticism of the failings of the UN remains absolutely relevant – it is useless on many levels. And the only way to fix that is to get rid of the veto power of the permanent security council.

    • karol 14.1

      Yes. Criticisms of the UN structures are very valid, IMO.

      Getting rid of the veto, though, is just tinkering.

      The whole set up of the Security Council, consisting of the most powerful countries, is undemocratic.

      Getting rid of the Veto will just enable the US-Empire to aggressively enter other countries more easily.

      The whole UN structure needs to be re-thought.

      • Populuxe1 14.1.1

        Well no, it makes sense that the most powerful countries talk to each other about security matters at the highest level because they are the ones most likely to become involved in a conflict, and temporary seats are available to small countries – the current non-permanent members are Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Korea, and Togo. Hardly superpowers and highly influential were it not for the veto (so not really tinkering). The permanent council needs expanding to include emerging powers like India, Brazil, Japan and so forth, but the structure is otherwise pragmatic and logical for what it needs to achieve in the sense it was established to prevent world wars rather than regional conflicts – a problem that needs to be addressed.

        • karol 14.1.1.1

          “Talking to each other” is fine. But the Security Council aims to do much more than that in terms of maintaining international peace and security.

          The Security Council strengthens the powerful of the already powerful on issues of security. And the US aims to manipulate the UN to follow its aims, eg on Syria. It’s aim there is far from pure and has to do with maintaining its control on the Middle East region, and extend/maintain its Imperial reach.

          Removing the Veto, even with an extended permanent Security Council membership, will make it easier for the US to enforce its agenda on others.

          It is only the permanent members of the Security council that get the power of Veto. It was included in order to balance powerful states against each.

          This is why the Kampala Agreement is important to provide a means to pressure countries like the US not to use it’s power to aggressively intervene in other countries.

          The rule of international law needs to be extended. And the power of the many used to balance the power of the most powerful countries.

          If you’re going to include emerging powers, why mot the least powerful? Many emerging powers align themselves with a more powerful states in order to strengthen their rising power.

          The final say on intervention in other countries to maintain peace and security should rest with the General Assembly. There needs to be clear rules of international law, with the equivalent of an independent judiciary to make rulings on specific instances – and quickly when required.

          It should not be left to the powerful states with too many interests at stake to make the decisions on peace and security matters.

          • Populuxe1 14.1.1.1.1

            “The Security Council strengthens the powerful of the already powerful on issues of security. And the US aims to manipulate the UN to follow its aims, eg on Syria. It’s aim there is far from pure and has to do with maintaining its control on the Middle East region, and extend/maintain its Imperial reach.”

            karol, all countries do that to varying degrees of success, the US is just better at it than most. I’d rather deal with objective data than the whole “Imperial America” hysteria. Obama is not Dath Vader. Calm down.

            “Removing the Veto, even with an extended permanent Security Council membership, will make it easier for the US to enforce its agenda on others.”

            Because the US is the only country in the world with such agendas? Like Russia, China and even France aren’t actively persuing global influence over other states? You solve that by making it a democratic vote for the greater security council.

            “It is only the permanent members of the Security council that get the power of Veto. It was included in order to balance powerful states against each.”

            Yes, yes, thank you for the history lesson in the staggeringly obvious. Hence make all such decisions a binding general vote of the greater security council, no vetoes.

            “This is why the Kampala Agreement is important to provide a means to pressure countries like the US not to use it’s power to aggressively intervene in other countries.”

            This presumably is the same Kampala Accord that resulted in the total undermining of Somalia’s legitimate government and constitutional system and the, shall we say, very unpopular occupation by Uganda? Yesssss, that worked out *really* well.

            “The rule of international law needs to be extended. And the power of the many used to balance the power of the most powerful countries.”

            Meanwile in the real world that doesn’t work because (1) force and resources are required to meaningfully back any mandate and (2) that kind of voting block requires levels of coordination and cooperation few states outside of NATO are capable of – eg the current waste of time that is the African Union.

            “If you’re going to include emerging powers, why mot the least powerful? Many emerging powers align themselves with a more powerful states in order to strengthen their rising power.”

            See the above point because we live in the real world not the United Federation of Planets. Nor are small, less wealthy countries likely to have or want to commit the resources and forces requires, especially as most of those countries have their own agendas and would be required to cooperate with rival states.

            “The final say on intervention in other countries to maintain peace and security should rest with the General Assembly. There needs to be clear rules of international law, with the equivalent of an independent judiciary to make rulings on specific instances – and quickly when required.

            I’m not sure how familiar you are with how long it actually takes for the General Assembly to vote on anything, but how many have to die while the GA swing their dicks around. Hello Rwanda!

            “It should not be left to the powerful states with too many interests at stake to make the decisions on peace and security matters.”

            Decisions on peace and security matters should be left to those countries with the resources and willingness to commit their resources and militaries. Any association where countries can commit the resources of other countries when they have none of their own will quickly fall apart, and lest we forget such clusterfucks as the UN intervention in Kosovo, a situation that was not resolved until NATO took over.

            I’m glad you’re not in charge, karol, your idealism probably would have gotten us all killed in a nuclear holocaust ages ago.

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1.1

              No one is giving up their UN vetoes, which renders this discussion irrelevant and academic.

              Decisions on peace and security matters should be left to those countries with the resources and willingness to commit their resources and militaries.

              So you are nominating the USA to be in charge? After all, it outspends any other country you care to name massively, by several times over.

              I’m glad you’re not in charge, karol, your idealism probably would have gotten us all killed in a nuclear holocaust ages ago.

              I’m sorry, but you are the far more dangerous one here. By a country mile.

              • karol

                Thanks, CV.

                And also thanks, pop. I was told when I was teenager I’d lose my idealism when I got older.

                PS: on balancing power, the speed of decisions making etc. That’s why we need a stronger rule of law, and an independent judiciary.

                And the Kampala Agreement is such a failure that our Parliament unanimously agreed to ratify it this year.

                Yes, yes, there are other powerful countries. But the US is using its superior military capabilities to maintain it’s global dominance – and hence it’s willingness to intervene in strategic hot spots as with Syria in the Middle East.

              • Populuxe1

                And you are a paranoid idiot who likes to play the big man on a blog, and no you twit, I’m not advocating the US be in charge, I’m advocating for democratic principle.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Of course you advocated for the US to be in charge. It is after all the single country with the most “resources” and “willingness” to commit it’s military. By far. Which is what you said was important.

                  Democracy of the most powerful and richest in the world. That’s some kind of democracy you are advocating mate.

            • karol 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Pop, I think you’re confusing the Somalia Kampala Accord, which was a purely domestic agreement within Somalia, with the Kampala Agreement about the proposed amendment to the Crimes of Aggression that was drawn up in Kampala during an International Criminal Court Conference there.

          • exkiwiforces 14.1.1.1.2

            How about we get rid of the veto and if the Security Council wants to pass any resolution it pass get 75% of the yes vote?

            Or we get rid of the Useless Nations as I’m sick and tired of trying to fix up their **** ups. As I rather be fishing or hunting not getting shot at or blowed up by some ratbag/ group but then again the Useless Nations helps pays off my houses, pay for my shares or my whiskey cellar of single malts. Well someone has to be protect the little people unlike some people who are all wind no action or some blow in from weak *** nation who cuts/ guts their Defence Force and still thinks they capable/ fit for peacekeeping duty.

  15. fambo 15

    It was like a really bad version of Frank Capra’s film (circa 1939) Mr Smith goes to Washington.

  16. instauration 16

    Watkins headline in Stuff;
    Syria deal doesn’t go as far as I’d like
    But no corresponding quote in the text;
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9221733/John-Key-Syria-deal-doesn-t-go-as-far-as-I-d-like
    Closest unquoted reference in text;
    said the resolution did not go as far as New Zealand would have liked in holding the Assad regime to account.

    Trevett headline in Herald;
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/international-politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503226&objectid=11131553

    Key critical of UN’s resolution on Syria
    And in text;
    Mr Key said he did not believe the resolution went far enough in holding the Assad regime to account for it.
    Only reference to this in quotes;
    “Overall it doesn’t specifically spell out how it would hold the regime to account”

    So what exactly did John say?

    And if John did make any assertion that the Assad “regime?” is undeniably responsible for the CW release 21 August he is delusional //

    And Trevett / Watkins are ?

  17. Linz 17

    This is probably a more accurate account:
    Antipodean mouse’s roar lost in all the excitement
    By Claire Trevett
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11131203

  18. Tanz 18

    I thought his speech quite gutsy, and I am not at all a fan of Key. Not many people dare to openly ciriticse the UN, and maybe some of his points were actually quite valid. Maybe. I myself don’t know enough about it.

    • karol 18.1

      Not many people dare to openly ciriticse the UN, and maybe some of his points were actually quite valid.

      I just caught then end of the Egyptian leader’s speech to the UN. He called for the Security Council to be made more democratic and to end the “hegemony of powerful countries” in it. He asked for Africa to be given permanent membership.

      He also called for various treaties by Middle East countries, including a ban on WMD’s that all countries there sign, including Israel.

  19. Vaughan M 19

    Spot on appraisal there by Kennedy, awesome article.

    Personally I had great difficulty comprehending our traitor PM’s statement to the UN. ShonKey had so much Obama cock in his mouth, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. . . So I rated him a C, for Cock.

  20. xtasy 20

    For those who care to get first hand information, rather than read the New Zealand MSM drivel:

    http://webtv.un.org/search/new-zealand-general-debate-68th-session/2698386743001?term=John%20Key

  21. xtasy 21

    Kennedy Graham is one of the few REAL gentlemen in New Zealand’s Parliament and political establishment. He has been FAR too kind towards John Key about his speech at the UN.

    So here goes Key about FTAs, “transparency” in government (FFS) and New Zealands great “achievements” in climate change policy, “agricultural yields”, the “largest solar energy system in Afghanistan”, built by New Zealand, grrrrrrr!??? Is this for real???

    A “C-” would be a great compliment to Key for this extremely mediocre speech in front of a top international forum where so many leaders speak!

    “Muppets” from the “muppet show” do better than this puppet of the White House and Pentagon!

  22. Sable 22

    Obama and co must be getting desperate if the best they can trundle out in defence of their position is Keys. China and Russia are hardly likely to view his squeaks and squawks with more than mild amusement.

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