The United Statesí unprecedented and embarrassing discomfiture in losing her seat it held on the UN Human Rights Commission since 1947, followed by its ouster from the 13-member International Narcotics Control Board, should serve as notice of growing frustration with America's attitude toward international organizations and treaties, as reflected by its huge debt in overdue payments to the United Nations budget, the Bush administration's rejection of the Kyoto pact to reduce global warming and decision to develop a missile shield in violation of the 1972 antiballistic missile treaty and to arms control in general.
The arrogance and insensitivity of the Bush administration in leaving the post of US ambassador to the United Nations vacant for nearly four months have contributed in no small measure to the US debacle.
This is no reason for Malaysia however to gloat at USís discomfiture or to construe it as vindication of Malaysiaís human rights policy and record, which had been the subject of criticism by the United States government.
Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the US failure to secure a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission reflected the condition of US human rights record and that the US had not signed a few human rights convention over a period of time.
The United States should be faulted for the blemishes of its human rights record, in particular over the treatment of blacks by the police and the prisons.
These human rights failings, however, are not reason enough for the ouster of the United States from the Human Rights Commission - or blatant abusers of human rights would not have been elected into the Commission at all.
Concerns have been expressed by human rights activists and groups that the Human Rights Commission may degenerate into a "a rogues' gallery of human rights abusers" - which would be a major setback for human rights worldwide.
At home, Abdullah should initiate a study of the human rights conventions which have still not been signed and ratified by the Malaysian government, which should issue a report within a month to state the government stand, together with the reasons, on each international human rights convention which it is not prepared to endorse.