The Rosett Report

Weather at Hadrian's Wall; and the UN Peacekeeper Sex Cycle

Just back from a trip to England, site of floods that will no doubt be chalked up to global warming. I did not witness the flooding. My travels were to northern England, including a stroll by Hadrian’s Wall, built by order of the Roman Emperor of that name in the Second Century A.D. In sheep pastures along the wall you can still see the remains of old terraces, which I am told were used in Roman times to grow grapes for wine. But not anymore. According to a native of the region, there’s not much grape-growing these days because the climate’s gotten– you guessed it — too cold.

I’m sure the UN experts can find a way to attribute even Northumbrian cooling to global warming. But then, we’re all entitled to our elaborate theories about the weather. Me, I’m wondering if the Emperor Hadrian brought on the current chill with a secret Roman carbon offsets program.

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Meanwhile, in New York, UN officials have been fielding questions about the latest in the apparently never-ending series of UN-peacekeeping sex scandals, this one in Cote d’Ivoire. At Wednesday’s noon briefing, UN Assistant-Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute clarified the meaning of the UN’s policy of “zero tolerance” for sexual abuse. (Kofi Annan’s announcement of this policy, about two years ago, provided a sort of punctuation mark between the preceding allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the later allegations of sexual abuse in places such as Liberia, Burundi, Haiti, Southern Sudan and East Timor).

According to Lute, “Zero tolerance means zero complacency.” And what does that mean? Apparently it means what almost everything always means at the UN: The bureaucracy, to show its non-complacency, will now proliferate, creating a new office called the “Conduct and Discipline Unit,” which according to Lute needs a lot more work to get organized. Meantime, the UN General Assembly is now considering a proposal by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to set up a victim’s assistance program.

Bottom line: While the peacekeeper sex saga may not end anytime soon, the UN is preparing to take ownership of the entire life cycle of exploitation, from sending in the exploiters, to helping their victims. Courtesy, of course, of your recently increased contribution of tax dollars for UN peacekeeping.