Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

It’s the least we can do

GailCollinsW

By
From page A8 | February 25, 2014 |

By Gail Collins

Can we talk about the United Nations? I know, I know. But give me a minute. We don’t do this very often.

It looks as if the Senate is going to fail to ratify the U.N. treaty on the rights of people with disabilities this year. There are, of course, tons of things the Senate is going to fail to tackle between now and the fall elections. You name it, they’re prepared to not do it.

But this treaty is kind of special. It’s based on our very own Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s an international agreement in which the rest of the world basically promises to behave more like the United States. How could anything go wrong with that?

hahahaha

Well, you need a two-thirds vote of the Senate to ratify a treaty, and when you are talking about numbers that high, you are coming close to everybody who isn’t either crazy or facing a primary challenge from a member of the tea party.

When the treaty first came up for a vote a little more than a year ago, it was torpedoed by the far right. Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate and well-known sweater-vest wearer, claimed it would endanger American parents’ right to home-school their children. This is because there’s a section that says: “The best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”

We will never agree to a treaty that says children’s interests come first! Children should be seen and not considered. Thanks to our strong commitment to this point, the United States is the only country outside of South Sudan and Somalia that has failed to ratify the U.N. convention on children’s rights.

Still, advocates felt they had a good chance to win on the disability treaty this year. They just needed to switch a handful of Republican votes. People from the State Department were working with Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, a “no” who had supported an arms-reduction treaty with the Russians in 2010. So not crazy. Also not up for re-election.

Then, at the start of Christmas break, Corker abruptly sent out a news release announcing that the treaty could “undermine our Constitution,” and that he wouldn’t vote for it.

“Everybody spent a lot of time with Corker, and added some regulations to satisfy him, but apparently it wasn’t enough,” said Bob Dole in a telephone interview. Dole, the former Republican leader, is an advocate for the disabled, who sat in his wheelchair watching as members of his party rejected the treaty the first time around.

Now, at 90, he’s back on the case, making phone calls. But if Corker continues to balk, it’s hard to see where the new votes for ratification will come from. Certainly not from people like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who once famously claimed that the United Nations was conspiring to close down all American golf courses. Or Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who is facing a primary challenge from a radiologist whose website promises that he will be “the next Ted Cruz.”

“I wanted to support this, OK?” Corker said. His argument is basically that ratification of any treaty on human rights would expand the powers of the federal government. Although, in this case, of course, the agreement under consideration is already American law.

“We’ve seen the (U.N.) committees be aggressive on interpreting these treaties and making recommendations to countries,” Corker said.

This is true. The United Nations is full of committees issuing reports, which occasionally sound like the work of international lawyers with too much time on their hands. For instance, there was a report on Belarus’ compliance with a treaty on women’s rights that suggested that the national Mother’s Day celebrations were “encouraging women’s traditional roles.”

On the other hand, nobody has to do anything the committees recommend. “It’s advice,” said Mark Lagon, a former U.S. ambassador-at-large who now teaches at Georgetown University. Belarus still has its Mother’s Day.

When it comes to human rights, the problem with the United Nations is hardly that it forces countries to do politically correct things they don’t want to do. It’s that the U.N. has so little power to do anything at all.

Last week, a U.N. report found that North Korea has been trying to “terrorize the population into submission” through enslavement, murder, rape and torture. It recommended that the U.N. Security Council take the matter to the International Criminal Court. This doesn’t seem likely, because China, North Korea’s usual protector, has a veto.

We will now pause for a sigh. Then we will acknowledge that our choice is to give up on the U.N. or try to make it stronger. Since our recent history is crammed with disasters caused by going it alone on the international stage, that brings us down to only one good option.

We need an effective international organization that supports the rights of the world’s most vulnerable people. Ratifying that disability treaty would be one small yet useful step in that direction.

It’s such a shame we’re not willing to be part of the solution.

— The New York Times

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    School district may redevelop downtown site

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
    Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Scots vote to stay in UK

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    DUI suspected in crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Storyteller will draw on music, dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Free workout class set at library

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis maps available at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Reception benefits endangered gorillas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Davis hosts its own climate change rally

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Qigong classes available for heart health

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Sick of being the bad guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Return to previous plan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Save the ‘pine cone place’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Affirm our community values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Project has safety risks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Learn more about Paso Fino

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Educate homeless with dogs

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

    By Our View | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Take Zona and Bama this week

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Taylor Morrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Norcal Land

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Robin Garland

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Dana Hawkins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Marcelo Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Juan Ramirez

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Bob Bockwinkel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    James Hanna

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    First Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24