Sunday, March 13, 2005

John Bolton a good choice for U.N. post

President Bush has nominated John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Mr. Bolton has a great deal of experience, currently serving as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Mr. Bolton is not everyone’s first choice, and his selection has caused much consternation among liberals.

Wesley Pruden wrote in his inimitable way in his column in The Washington Times, “The New York Times, still in recovery from a full swoon, can't imagine a real American standing up straight, looking the nation's enemies in the eye and telling them to stuff it. The editorial page of the old gray lady is particularly upset that Mr. Bolton is skeptical of the International Criminal Court, a transparent creation of the vest-pocket nations of the world with names that sound like an entree in a fish restaurant in Lower Volta ("Burkina Faso is served on a bed of shredded cucumber with a reduction of arugula over toasted risotto"), which would enable the envious and churlish of the world to put American soldiers and maybe even commanders in chief in the dock as war criminals just for doing their assigned jobs.”

Mr. Bolton has said the ICC, "is based largely on emotional appeals to an abstract ideal of an international judicial system." This system doesn't make much sense in the real world, and we are bound to live in the real world, not some idealized version of it that doesn’t exist.
Following are comments by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and Mr. Bolton on the appointment:

Secretary Rice: “Now, more than ever, the UN must play a critical role as it strives to fulfill the dreams and hopes and aspirations of its original promise to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith and fundamental human rights and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. President Bush has sent our most skilled and experienced diplomats to represent the United States at the UN. Today, I am honored to continue that tradition by announcing that President Bush intends to nominate John Bolton to be our next Ambassador to the United Nations. 

“The President and I have asked John to do this work because he knows how to get things done. He is a tough-minded diplomat, he has a strong record of success and he has a proven track record of effective multilateralism. For the past four years John has served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. In that position, John has held primary responsibility for the issue that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has identified as one of our most crucial challenges to international peace and security: stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. "

Mr. Bolton: “Madame Secretary, my record over many years demonstrates clear support for effective multilateral diplomacy. Whether it be the Proliferation Security Initiative, the G-8 global partnership or adopting UN resolutions, working closely with others is essential to ensuring a safer world. We all agree that there are numerous challenges facing the United States and the security of our country and all freedom-loving peoples must be protected. Close cooperation and the time-honored tradition of frank communication is central to achieving our mutually-held objectives. The United Nations affords us the opportunity to move our policies forward together with unity of purpose. 

“As you know, I have over the years written critically about the UN. Indeed, one highlight of my professional career was the 1991 successful effort to repeal the General Assembly's 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, thus removing the greatest stain on the UN's reputation. I have consistently stressed in my writings that American leadership is critical to the success of the UN, an effective UN, one that is true to the original intent of its charter's framers.” 

Full text here.

Mr. Bolton, if confirmed, will not be the first plain-spoken U.N. Ambassador. He was preceded by Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, both outspoken and effective. No doubt Mr. Bolton will do a fine job at a time when the U.N., wracked with scandal and inefficiency, needs backbone.


JL Pagano said...

The current US administration shows disdain for the UN and the ICC because they stand in the way of its own aims.

This appointment does nothing but provide confirmation of President Bush's lack of respect for the international community at large.

I have heard many an American, from both sides of the political spectrum, expose the vagaries of their own Federal government. It may be a cash-cow and an annoying beaurocracy, but it's necessary to keep the 50 states in line under the stars and stripes.

Why can't the UN be the same for the planet as a whole? Yes it has its scandals, so does Washington. Yes it has its excesses, so does Capitol Hill. It needs the USA as a participant, not a dissident.

Appointing someone who is going to undermine an institution is hardly a means for providing a backbone, it's more a recipe for diminishing its authority even further, which I dare say is firmly on President Bush's To Do list.

Perhaps my hopes for the UN are idealistic, but I would argue they are no less so than those ideals which formed America herself.

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