Read the whole thing, here are some excerpts.
The Report of the High-Level Group is testament to the limited value of such exercises by the U.N. Focused obsessively on the failings of Western countries while largely ignoring the faults of Muslim countries, it implicitly justifies constraining freedom of media, speech, and expression in the name of halting "the spread of hatred resulting in Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism" and proposes a dubious agenda to "improve" non-Muslim media treatment of Muslims. The report glosses over the underlying reasons behind the economic problems of many Islamic countries in favor of a laundry list of objectives.
Despite the report's dubious contributions, on December 18, Secretary-General Annan recommended that the U.N. adopt and implement its recommendations. Such action would do little to improve relations between Western and Muslim countries but would enshrine the Alliance of Civilizations and a host of supplementary bodies in the U.N. system.
The United States should oppose these proposals to give the alliance a permanent mandate, establish a permanent funding stream, and create new supporting mechanisms.
The Alliance of Civilizations report offers little more than platitudes, wishful thinking, one-sided analysis, faulty justification for constraining freedom of expression, and repackaged calls for increased assistance from Western countries. Nonetheless, the report shamelessly urges the General Assembly to incorporate the Alliance of Civilizations into the agenda of its 62nd session and to establish a litany of supporting councils, representatives, forums, and funding to expand the work of the alliance. According to the Alliance of Civilizations:
[Former] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General Designate Ban Ki-moon, Spanish President Zapatero and Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan met at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the follow-up to the Report of the AoC High-level Group. They agreed that an implementation plan for the Report's recommendations is to be drafted in the coming three months and finalized upon the Secretary-General's nomination of a High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. Subsequently, Annan, Zapatero and Erdoğan held an informal meeting of the General Assembly to present the plan for implementing the Alliance of Civilizations recommendations.
This three-month timeline would end in March 2007. Clearly, the alliance's performance does not justify such expense, expansion of U.N. bureaucracy, or radical expansion of U.N. authority to restrict freedom of expression. Not even the report's sole highlight--a repudiation of the targeting of noncombatants by terrorists--can offset its overall weaknesses or justify American support. In advance of the announced plan for implementing the Alliance of Civilizations, the United States should:
Call upon Muslim political and religious leaders to denounce religiously based violence and intolerance and to condemn terrorism by Islamic extremists.
Reject the report's implicit approval of constraints on freedom of expression and the press and clearly state that the U.S. will not support any international campaign to manipulate media coverage of Muslims. Encouraging some media coverage and discouraging other media coverage to prevent "negative repercussions" is an invitation to censorship that would likely undermine freedom of speech, expression, and the press.
Insist that primary responsibility for the Middle East's economic and social problems lies with those governments in the Middle East and North Africa that maintain policies that preserve unequal legal and economic treatment of the female population, retard economic growth and job creation, and repress fundamental religious and political freedoms. Efforts by the international community or donor nations to assist developing nations in the Middle East and North Africa with these problems will be futile unless those countries adopt policies that permit progress to occur.
Point out that sound economic policies, the rule of law, and good governance are essential to promoting economic growth, creating new jobs, and reducing poverty. The U.S. should urge the countries of the Middle East and North Africa to adopt economic freedom and pursue increased integration into the global economy if they wish to experience the increased economic growth and development that lead to job creation and reduce poverty.
Oppose efforts to make the Alliance of Civilizations a permanent part of the U.N. and refuse to support the establishment of supporting councils, representatives, forums, and funding to expand the work of the alliance. If individual nations wish to continue their support for the alliance through voluntary contributions, that is their right, but financial support should not be provided through assessed contributions to the U.N. or its affiliated funds and programs, nor should the alliance be awarded official status within the U.N. system.
Oppose the nomination of Kofi Annan as High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations on the basis of conflict of interest. Annan and his close associates were instrumental in supporting creation of the Alliance of Civilizations, initiating the alliance report, and selecting those participating in the High-Level Group, which recommended official status for the alliance in the U.N. system and the creation of a number of new positions and supporting bodies for the alliance. Regardless of what happens with the alliance, in the interest of minimizing the impression of corruption or unprofessional conduct in the U.N., Annan and his associates should not be appointed to positions that they had a key role in creating.
The U.S. should clearly refute the report's false assumptions and biased perspective and oppose any effort to make the alliance a permanent part of the U.N.
We've been warned.