Durban III: The Monaco Factor
There's no point in expecting decency from the longtime dictatorship of Cameroon -- which, while serving at the UN as a grandee of Durban III, has reportedly failed to end slavery on its own turf, and has fostered a system that human rights watchdog Freedom House describes as a sinkhole of cronyism, discrimination against women, and "a transit center for child trafficking."
But what about Cameroon's Durban III partner, Monaco? Yes, the Monaco of glamor, fashion, and oh-so-up-market Western civilization? The Monaco of the late Grace Kelly, of charity balls, of fancy royal photos and the recent wedding of Prince Albert. Monaco, with its tiny population of just under 36,000, enjoys a lovely rating by the U.S. State Department as a place where in 2010 there were no reports of anti-Semitic attacks or discrimination against any religion.
Surely, if Monaco carries on lending its name and reputation to Durban III, Monaco's good name is due for quite a downgrade. This is a conference that the U.S., Canada, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have all decided to spurn because, in the words of the U.S. government: "The Durban process included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism." Does Monaco really want to make its mark at the UN as a high-end caterer to anti-Semites?
By the same token, little Monaco could do the world a big favor -- by wising up and pulling out of Durban III. As "co-facilitator" of the General Assembly preparations to date, Monaco could punch well above its weight, should it decide even at this late hour to do a U-turn and boycott the conference. Unlike the quisling project of arranging the panel discussions and place settings for Durban III, backing away from the entire "commemoration" would be an act of genuine leadership, and -- frankly -- self-respect. Is anyone at the State Department making that case to the eminences of Monaco?