On balance, though, I think we've probably made the correct decision - it shows us taking a strong stance on freedom of speech. Even though the proposed communique, or position statement, from the conference was getting watered down in negotiations, there was still a real prospect that the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and its allies would have toughened it up again at the conference itself, since they have the numbers, and that Durban II would have issued wording which condemns "defamation of religion". That may well happen, now, but whatever comes out of Durban II will have severely-damaged credibility, with
This development makes me wonder - again - about the future of the UN itself. Now that the UN is so dominated by illiberal parties, such as the OIC countries and the Vatican, it cannot be assumed that international norms will take a direction that's compatible with liberal political theory. If the UN goes down an increasingly illiberal path, then those countries that still value fundamental liberties, such as freedom of speech, will increasingly reject whatever verbiage emerges. A time may even come when the Western liberal democracies see no point in retaining membership, in which case they could pull the plug entirely and concentrate on relations among themselves. The UN could turn into a rabble of theocracies and dictatorships.
The next couple of decades will be very interesting.