It's that time of year again in New York, the one week a year where the leaders of almost every country in the world show up at the United Nations to give a speech at the opening of the General Assembly. We have no shortage of what the United States government considers "bad guys" here in town this week. At no other time would these "leaders" be welcome on United States soil. This is the only week they can come here, get a visa and be let in through customs.
This does not mean they are welcomed in the United States with open arms. As soon as the Helmsley hotels chain was made aware that the members of the Iranian Mission to the U.N. and President Ahmadinejad himself might be staying at the New York Helmsley the country's leader was disinvited.-- As a capitalist free society we have the option of saying no. But the United Nations can't and shouldn't.
The list of bad guys is long. On Wednesday the United Nations will be hearing from President Ahmadinejad as well as Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. It will also get some input from the country of Myanmar (aka Burma) via Prime Minister Gen. Sein and will have the week flavored with a leader familiar with the results of election fraud when it hears from Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
The issue is why? Why should the United Nations hear from these guys and why should the United States have any (even low level) diplomatic contact with these guys? Unlike the movies we watched as children -- where it was clear that there were good guys and bad guys -- the problems are more complex and so are the solutions.
Getting rid of a dictator can mean that a country becomes less stable country and that there will be an increased opportunity for terrorism to fester. Getting rid of a dictator without a clear leader waiting to replace him-- a scenario we could see soon in Sudan and Darfur-- can lead to disastrous consequences such as mass starvation.