At the UN, you can usually tell the degree to which a country is a basket case and its leaders despotic. The way you can tell this is from the letters it sends to the Security Council or the Secretary-General, all of which are posted on the document racks on the third floor of the UN Secretariat Building, right down the escalator from where I work.
So here's the deal. Remember how your teacher told you not to cuss because it undermines your credibility? Well, the same is true of bellicose language in UN official letters and documents. The more shrill-sounding a letter, the more despotic the regime that sent it. For example, North Korean letters routinely say things like "this gangster-like resolution by Imperialist EU NGOs attempting to feed our people and overthrow our socialist way of life." They also frequently contain typographical errors. On a scale of 1 to 10 of despotism, North Korea would get a 10 just based on such a letter, and real life bears it out.
Now comes Eritrea, the steady decline of which I have had the displeasure of witnessing second-hand through their correspondence with the UN Secretariat. Their letters from three or four years ago, while stridently anti-Ethiopian, were at least vaguely rational. But now comes today's letter from Eritrean Ambassador Araya Desta, in response to the UN fact-finding report on the Djibouti-Eritrean crisis. It begins:
"The vexing schemes of the United States Administration to embroil our region in aan endless crisis only in order to control the region by "managing these crises" has become too well known these days to merit elaborate explanation. Nonetheless, Washington continues to doggedly pursue this policy and instigate various conflicts in our region under varying labels and pretexts."
[Sidenote: Observe the striking resemblance of this rhetoric to that of supporters of Lyndon LaRouche. Continuing...]
"The manual -- albeit misguided -- is rather simplistic in form. "First you incite a conflict. This is publicized and exaggerated beyond proportion in order to warrant or justify the intervention of international and regional organizations. The crisis is subsequently compounded and prolonged by dispatching 'envoys', 'mediators' and 'investigators'. The endless diplomatic wrangling will of course exact a price in the suffering of the local populations. But the United States would nonetheless reap the profits of this 'management by crisis'. ... Victimized as it has been by such repetitive plots, Eritrea was not deceived when the Djibouti "card" was initially floated to serve the very purposes outlined above. And through patience and restraint, Eritrea was able to forestall and contain the transparent ploy. When, as predicted, we were later informed that a United NAtions "fact-finding mission" was activated, we clearly stated our position. Indeed, we could not be expected to be party to a futile exercise where the outcome was determined a priori."
Damn those UN fact-finding missions and their "facts"!!!! Despotism Level: 9. If ever there was a case for term limits for world leaders, it would be Eritrea.