Apparently the liberal brethren are right. Apparently Cuba is a friendly nation. Moreover, note how responsible the United Nations is becoming.
The 37th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened two weeks ago, and Cuba only asked that the General Assembly declare Puerto Rico a United States colony. Has Havana forgotten the American South? Washington has thwarted the Confederate States' right to self-determination since 1861, and at a cost in southern blood and treasure far surpassing that of Puerto Rican liberation forces. Why the Cubans have not brought this widely documented Yankee imperialism before the General Assembly is a mystery, unless Dr. Castro is again extending the olive branch. Will our government spurn this gesture of peace and comity too? If so, we shall deserve to be named boobies of the year.
As for the present session of the Great Assembly, though still young, it has already marked itself as one of the most reasonable U.N. sessions in years. When the Cubans presented their resolution to declare Puerto Rico a U.S. colony, a mere 30 nations were with them. Forty-three abstained and 70 sided with us. Now that is progress, and it is worth mentioning that all this friendship toward us was vouchsafed despite the absence of Ambassador Andrew Young, whose rapport with the morally advanced nations of the Third World was the pride of the Carter years.
Now that the United Nations is showing such forbearance, perhaps it will undo some of its earlier indiscretions. For instance, it might junk its Law of the Sea Treaty. Not only is the treaty a piece of economic quackery. It is also a piece of political absurdity, aiding and abetting in the creation of political problems where none had theretofore existed. Deep-sea mining has always been a high-sea right, commensurate with tuna fishing.
Then too, perhaps this 37th session will take up the question of whether or not the Soviet Union and its allies are using biochemical warfare on Afghans, Cambodians and Laotians.
We know that the United Nations secretariat has knowledge of such abominations. Nicholas Rothwell reports in the forthcoming issue of The American Spectator that an international team of experts compiled a very incriminating report for the UN. Entitled "Fourth Session of the Group of Experts to Investigate Reports of the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons," its clear conclusion is that the Soviet army is using an array of chemical weapons against Afghan resistance fighters and civilians. Rothwell contends that the report has been suppressed, and should have been presented to this summer's U.N. special session on disarmament.
Well now the U.N. has its chance. The report's nauseating contents are not that secret. The redoubtable Wall Street Journal published sections from it in June. More evidence of Soviet biochemical warfare is coming in. For instance, on Sept. 8, the BBC reported that Anatoly Sakharov, a Soviet soldier captured by the Afghan resistance, has corroborated Afghan refugee reports, and the Canadian government has filed a report with the U.N. concluding that "some sort of chemical agent is being used in Southeast Asia." This report contains eyewitness accounts of "yellow rain" attacks in Laos, one of which killed 80 civilians and left many others suffering horribly. Certainly this ranks with the atrocities committed at Sabra and Shatila.
We are all familiar with the hue and cry that would go out if the victims of biochemical warfare were instead dying of malnutrition, say from improperly mixed infant formula. If they were dying from strvation, the U.N. would echo with high-minded oratory. Yet in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia Third World people are being murdered with weapons banned by the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972. Why no outcry? Why do the Western World's advocates of nuclear freeze not mount their brassy demonstrations? There are plenty of Soviet embassies to picket.
The answer, of course, is that we are not a better people than those who silently lived through the slaughters of years past: the kulaks under Stalin, the Jews under Hitler. And if the proponents of nuclear freeze were to demonstrate against the Soviet breach of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 the futility of their proposed nuclear arms treaties would be embarrassingly apparent. Thus the morally upright of the world remain silent, and the Soviets perfect their science.