General Assembly an exercise in message-shaping

World leaders, some of whom are taking their shady human-rights records and diplomatic immunity out for some exercise, have descended upon New York City this week for the United Nations General Assembly. In this celebrated display of self-flagellation, leaders take unchallenged turns expressing what they want the masses to think, doing so from the safety of a Lower East Side tower. Their mere presence brings local traffic to a teeth-grinding halt, with the ripples of their actions expanding infinitely outward from there, like a stone tossed into a murky pond.


Here’s the real agenda.

— Climate Change: The official religion of the U.N. The worldwide money-laundering scam formerly known as “manmade global warming” is back for another round of taxpayer pickpocketing. The fact that it even made the cut on this year’s agenda, given all the real crises currently unfolding around the world, should raise concerns as to the true motivation of its proponents. The scam won’t be easily discarded, though, as enough suckers have grown accustomed to interpreting the slightest change or anomaly in weather as a surefire sign of imminent demise, preventable only through your generous donations.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pushing the climate issue himself, seeking to compel hardworking citizens to become so terrified by the fear of weather wrath that they willingly empty their pockets into the collection plate so their earnings can be redistributed to Third World nations under the guise of some bogus climate-saving program. There is no atmospheric problem that funneling cash to Third World countries will solve.

— The Islamic State: U.S. President Barack Obama’s appeal to other nations to hold his hand as he finally gets around to bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and arming Syrian rebels will score support while making others nervous about hidden agendas.

A year ago, bombing Syria and arming rebels for the sole reason of ousting President Bashar al-Assad was widely considered to be a bad idea. The rise of the Islamic State changed that, but the same Arab League players who wanted Assad gone — namely Qatar and Saudi Arabia — are going to aggressively support anything that will crack open the door to the sort of mission creep that could lead to Syrian regime change. The threat of the Islamic State is real, but the terms of engagement and scope of the mission need to be clearly defined and adhered to — if only because Russia, China and others still recall the mission creep in Libya that ultimately plunged the country into its current state of anarchy.

The best use of the U.N.’s time on the Islamic State crisis would be to figure out how to fight this guerrilla war in a way that member nations deem collectively acceptable. (That might pre-empt the usual whining about wanting to send the winning side to The Hague.) In its newest propaganda video, the Islamic State forces British hostage John Cantile to say: “Not since Vietnam have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making.” That statement is as much of a warning on the image and propaganda front as it is a military warning.

— Ebola outbreak: The scariest film that I have ever seen was “Outbreak,” Wolfgang Peterson’s 1995 movie about a fictional and virulent Ebola-like virus that originated in Africa and gruesomely wiped out everything that it touched. I was grateful that it was make-believe. Except that now, with the current Ebola outbreak in Africa and cases detected elsewhere, the horror show is becoming real.

Attempts at containment, from medical quarantines to testing, are bound to run up against civil rights arguments from people contending that involuntary detention of any kind reeks of some kind of nefarious government agenda, particularly in the absence of clearly presented information about strategic intentions.

Obama has sent 3,000 U.S. troops to Africa to fight Ebola. Since Ebola doesn’t have a military strategy, Obama risks nothing in using the General Assembly to explain how military assistance will serve the agenda.

On all of these subjects, leaders should make a genuine attempt to provide us with information this week, rather than just telling us what we should think.

(Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and former Fox News host based in Paris. She appears frequently on TV and in publications in the U.S. and abroad. Her website can be found at

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