Thursday, June 08, 2006

UN’s No. 2: Real free speech, that quaint American concept, cannot remain ‘unchecked’
Official of U.N. Says Americans Undermine It With Criticism

UNITED NATIONS, June 6 — Secretary General Kofi Annan's deputy assailed the United States on Tuesday for withholding support from the United Nations, encouraging its harshest detractors and undermining an institution that he said Washington needed more than it would admit.

"The prevailing practice of seeking to use the U.N. almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable," said the deputy, Mark Malloch Brown. "You will lose the U.N. one way or another."

In a highly unusual instance of a United Nations official singling out an individual country for criticism, Mr. Malloch Brown said that although the United States was constructively engaged with the United Nations in many areas, the American public was shielded from knowledge of that by Washington's tolerance of what he called "too much unchecked U.N.-bashing and stereotyping."

"Much of the public discourse that reaches the U.S. heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News," he said...

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