Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Multilateralism in peril...

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Here are some quotes I found on google from John Bolton, who George Bush recently appointed as US ambassador to the UN:

► "If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world."

► "Diplomacy is not an end in itself if it does not advance U.S. interests."

► "There's no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a
bit of difference."

► "Renouncing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court “was the happiest moment of my government service."

I'd also ask you to watch this video. It is from an anti-Bolton website, but, to be honest it is not edited down, and the political point is only made right at the end. It is a fairly accurate representation of Bolton's perspective on the role of the United Nations in the world.

Video: Bolton on the United Nations

It seems clear to me that Bolton's appointment is a statement of intent to undermine any role the United Nations plays that isn't politically compatible with the Bush Administration's world view. This is the man upon whose shoulders rests the initiative to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict. The initiative to resolve Kashmir and the problems between India and Pakistan (which, incidentally, consolidate the presence of Islamic extremists in the Pakistani intelligence community, and makes it harder for Musharraf to confront terrorism). This is the man who is the US voice for confronting global warming. This is the man who will help chart the course of peace via diplomacy for the civilized world.

My political opposition to everything that John Bolton stands for is a mute point. What I find so sad is the way in which this recess appointment has been deceitfully justified upon the basis that Democrats were simply playing obstructionist politics. Is it really that difficult to fathom that Democrat's objections to Bolton are sincere. John Bolton undermines, with everything he stands for, the notion of a co-operative global community taking steps together to address global problems. He believes that the power of the United States endows it with the supreme responsibility of determining the political direction of the world community. The concept of a global community... the principle of nations coming together to act in the common interests of people everywhere... is now, sadly, in such grave peril. The United Nations has been caricatured into a two dimensional cartoon of fat cat bureacrats lining their pockets with backhanders from tyrannical dictators. The integrity of an institution where Adlai Stevenson confronted the Soviet Union about missiles in Cuba, and earned peace via the support of the international community... the institution where the state of Israel was established after the horror of WW2... has been cast aside as an emotional, abstract ideal.

The problem I have with Bolton right now isn't so much his appointment, it is the way Republican's have manipulated the situation to misrepresent Democratic objections. My belief in the importance of the integrity of our international institutions really does transcend my political affiliations. It's why, after all, I supported the Iraq war.

I'll leave the last word to Republican, Senator Voinovich:
"What message are we sending to the world community when in the same breath we have sought to appoint an ambassador to the United Nations who himself has been accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends, of acting unilaterally, of bullying those who do not have the ability to properly defend themselves?"

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