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OfflinePhred
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The New US Ambassador to the UN
    #3943396 - 03/20/05 11:10 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Normally for an article this length I would post a few excerpts, then a link to the URL. However, this is from a member-only access site (though membership is free) so I thought I'd save y'all the aggravation of having to sign up to read it, for it is good. Very good indeed.

The inimitable Mark Steyn hits the nail squarely on the head yet again. http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php?id=5855&page=3


Nuts and Bolton
Mark Steyn


If you?re going to play the oldest established permanent floating transnational crap game for laughs, you might as well pick an act with plenty of material. What I love about John Bolton, America?s new ambassador to the UN, is the sheer volume of ?damaging? material. Usually, the Democrats and media have to riffle through decades of dreary platitudes to come up with one potentially exploitable infelicitous soundbite. But with Bolton the damaging quotes are hanging off the trees and dropping straight into your bucket. Five minutes? casual mooching through the back catalogue and your cup runneth over:

The UN?

?There is no such thing as the United Nations.?

The UN building?

?If you lost ten storeys, it wouldn?t make a bit of difference.?

Reform of the Security Council?

?If I were redoing the Security Council, I?d have one permanent member ...the United States.?

The International Criminal Court?

?Fuzzy-minded romanticism ...not just naive but dangerous.?

International law in general?

?It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law.?

Offering incentives to rogue states?

?I don?t do carrots.?

But he does do shtick. I happen to agree with all the above statements, but I can see why the international community might be minded to throw its hands up and shriek, ?Quelle horreur!? It?s not just the rest of the world. Most of the American media are equally stunned. The New York Times wondered what Mr Bush?s next appointment would be:

?Donald Rumsfeld to negotiate a new set of Geneva conventions? Martha Stewart to run the Securities and Exchange Commission??

Okay, I get the hang of this game. Sending John Bolton to be UN ambassador is like ...putting Sudan and Zimbabwe on the Human Rights Commission. Or letting Saddam?s Iraq chair the UN conference on disarmament. Or sending a bunch of child-sex fiends to man UN operations in the Congo. And the Central African Republic. And Sierra Leone, and Burundi, Liberia, Haiti, Kosovo, and pretty much everywhere else. All of which happened without the UN fetishists running around shrieking hysterically. Why should America be the only country not to enjoy an uproarious joke at the UN?s expense?

In recent years, I?ve had the pleasure of watching John Bolton in action on a couple of occasions at semi-private gatherings comprised mainly of ??what?s the word? ??foreigners. They were remarkable performances. Most of the Americans who hit the international cocktail circuit are eager to please. In Davos the other week, for example, CNN honcho Eason Jordan declared that US troops in Iraq were deliberately targeting journalists. Thanks to an enterprising blogger in attendance, this got him into hot water back home, and he wound up having to resign, mainly because it?s completely untrue. Also in Davos, Bill Clinton endorsed the mullahs: ?Iran today is, in a sense, the only country where progressive ideas enjoy a vast constituency. It is there that the ideas that I subscribe to are defended by a majority.? That?s true in the very narrow sense that in both Mr Clinton?s sex life and the ayatollahs? repressive theocracy it?s the gals who wind up as the fall guys. But surely that can?t account entirely for Slick Willie?s effusions on Iran: ?In every single election, the guys I identify with got two thirds to 70 per cent of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.?

I?ve never been to Davos, but I?ve sat next to the hot-looking Eurototty in the Alpine bar and tried to wangle me a little apr?s-ski action and there comes a point in the evening when she says, ?Zat George Boosh. What an idiot, hein!? And you start to bristle, but then you realise that America and Old Europe are riven by as deep a divide as the magnificent plunging cleavage beckoning from her low-cut Fahrenheit 9/11 T-shirt and maybe now would be a good time for some transatlantic outreach in a very real sense, so you say, ?Yeah, Bush. What a chump. Not like that Ruud Lubbers, eh?? And you stare down her cleavage and catch your creepy sweaty face reflected in her shoes and feel momentarily ashamed, but not for long. My guess is that that?s what Bill Clinton and Eason Jordan were up to when they respectively hailed the progressivism of Iranian politics and defamed the entire US military. You?re with a bunch of foreigners and you want them to like you and it?s easy to get carried away.

That?s what was so stunning about Bolton. In a roomful of Euro-grandees, he was perfectly relaxed, a genial fellow with a rather Mitteleuropean moustache, but he thwacked every ball they served back down their gullets with amazing precision. He was the absolute antithesis of Schmoozer Bill and Pandering Eason: he seemed to relish their hostility. At one event, a startled British cabinet minister said to me afterwards, ?He doesn?t mean all that, does he??

But he does. And that?s why the Bolton flap is very revealing about conventional wisdom on transnationalism. Diplomats are supposed to be ?diplomatic?. Why is that? Well, as the late Canadian prime minister Lester B. Pearson used to say, diplomacy is the art of letting the other fellow have your way. In other words, you were polite, discreet, circumspect, etc., as a means to an end. Not any more. None of John Bolton?s detractors is worried that his bluntness will jeopardise the administration?s policy goals. Quite the contrary. They?re concerned that the administration has policy goals ??that it isn?t yet willing to subordinate its national interest to the polite transnational pieties. In that sense, our understanding of ?diplomacy? has become corrupted: it?s no longer the language through which nation states treat with one another so much as the code-speak consensus of a global elite.

For much of the civilised world the transnational pabulum has become an end in itself, and one largely unmoored from anything so tiresome as reality. It doesn?t matter whether there is any global warming or, if there is, whether Kyoto will do anything about it or, if you ratify Kyoto, whether you bother to comply with it: all that matters is that you sign on to the transnational articles of faith. The same thinking applies to the ICC, and Darfur, and the Oil-for-Fraud programme, and anything else involving the UN. It was at the heart of Clare Short?s freaky objection to the Aussie?American post-tsunami relief effort. ?I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to co-ordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN,? she told the BBC. ?Only really the UN can do that job. It is the only body that has the moral authority.?

Leaving aside the question of whether one can be the only body with moral authority when one?s tastes run mainly to bodies under the age of 12, the reality is that the UN couldn?t do the job. Its permanent 24/7 365-days-a-year humanitarian bureaucracy took a month to get to Banda Aceh. The ad-hoc US?Australian operation was on the ground within hours. Miss Short?s position seems to be that she?d be willing to forgive Washington?s very effective relief effort as long as the Americans were more rhetorically submissive to the UN. In that sense, it?s not so much that the American rapid response ?undermined? the UN as that the normal Western deference to the organisation has grossly over-inflated its ?legitimacy? and ?moral authority?.

That?s what John Bolton had in mind with his observations about international law: ?It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so ? because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.? Just so. When George Bush Sr went through the UN to assemble his Stanley Gibbons coalition for the first Gulf war, it may have been a ?diplomatic triumph? but it was also the biggest single contributing factor to the received wisdom in the decade and a half since that only the UN has the international legitimacy to sanction war ??to the point where, on the eve of Iraq?s liberation, the Church of England decided that a ?just war? could only be one approved by the Security Council. That in turn amplifies the UN?s claim to sole global legitimacy in a thousand other areas, big and small ??the environment, guns, smoking, taxation.

Yet the assumption behind much of the criticism of Bolton from the likes of John Kerry is that, regardless of his government?s foreign policy, a UN ambassador has to be at some level a UN booster. Twenty years ago, the then Secretary of State George Schultz used to welcome the Reagan administration?s ambassadorial appointments to his office and invite each chap to identify his country on the map. The guy who?d just landed the embassy in Chad would invariably point to Chad. ?No,? Schultz would say, ?this is your country? ??and point to the United States. Nobody would expect a US ambassador to the Soviet Union to be a big booster for the Soviets. And, given that in a unipolar world the most plausible challenger to the US is transnationalism, these days the Schultz test is even more pertinent for the UN ambassador: his country is the United States, not the ersatz jurisdiction of Kofi Annan?s embryo world government.

A slyer argument is that yes, the UN?s in a terrible state, what with the Oil-for-Fraud and the Congolese moppets and the flop response to Darfur and the tsunami, but that?s all the more reason why America needs an ambassador able to build consensus for much-needed reforms. The problem with that seductive line is that most of the proposed reforms are likely to make things worse. Again, Bolton is right to be dismissive about restructuring the Security Council. Even as the second world war victory parade preserved in aspic, it makes little sense: in 1945, both de Gaulle?s France and Chiang Kai-shek?s China had less convincing claims to a permanent seat at the table than Canada. Today, Russia is literally the sick man of Europe and the emaciated cadaver of Central Asia. Midway through its transition from ?superpower? to ghost town, the country already has lower male life expectancy than Bangladesh; by 2050, it will have a smaller population than Yemen. As for Germany, why should a European Union with a European foreign policy and a European foreign minister get a third permanent vote on the council? India? Brazil? South Africa? To be sure, they?re all important regional powers, but regionalism is the curse of the UN: it?s the division of the organisation into regional voting blocs with regional candidates that leads to the absurd elevation of Libya to the chairmanship of the Human Rights Commission. Giving every corner of the world its own permanent member and veto will only ensure that the response to the next decade?s never-again genocide is even more sclerotic.

Reporting on the Bolton appointment in the Financial Times James Harding wrote, ?Mr Bush is eager to re-engage with allies, but is unapologetic about the Iraq war, the policy of pre-emption and the transformational agenda.? ?Unapologetic?? What exactly should he be apologising for? The toppling of Saddam? The Iraq election? The first green shoots of liberty in the desert of Middle Eastern ?stability?? When you unpick the assumptions behind James Harding?s sentence, Mr Bush?s principal offence is that he remains ?unapologetic? about doing all this without the blessing of the formal transnational decision-making process.

For the purposes of comparison, consider the Nick Nolte character in Hotel Rwanda. Nolte plays a UN commander based on Canadian general Rom?o Dallaire, and plays him very sympathetically. You don?t see, for example, the moment when Dallaire stands by as the Hutu mob seizes the Belgian troops nominally under his command and takes them away to kill them. In the decade since, General Dallaire has had boundless sympathy for his uselessness in Rwanda. If he were to be nominated for secretary-general, he?d enjoy the support of the world because he embodies the highest UN ideals: an impotent Western hand-wringer whom the tinpot thugs steamroller over.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, isn?t as pithy as Bolton, but an unreported speech of his in 2003 captures the mood of Washington, too:

?Increasingly multilateralism is a synonym for an ineffective and unfocused policy involving internationalism of the lowest common denominator....We are prepared to join coalitions of the willing that can bring focus and purpose to addressing the urgent security and other challenges we face.?

The UN is structurally unable to address those challenges. In recent years, for example, I can find only one example of a senior UN figure having the guts to call a member state a ?totalitarian regime?. It was former secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali last autumn, and he was talking about America. John Bolton?s sin isn?t that he?s ?undiplomatic?, but that he?s correct.








Phred


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: Phred]
    #3943658 - 03/20/05 12:52 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

good article.

but i just want the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US.


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: lonestar2004]
    #3943830 - 03/20/05 01:52 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Well duh! Doesn't everyone? Sadly, that will probably not happen any time soon.

Wouldn't it be just the absolute tits if it did though? If Bush just said, "All rightie, folks. We're outta here and y'all have got eighteen months to move your sorry asses to Brussells or Kuala Lampur or wherever."

I think he would then become my god.



Phred


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Invisiblevampirism
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: Phred]
    #3944576 - 03/20/05 04:51 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

:rolleyes:


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OfflineJesusChrist
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: vampirism]
    #3946530 - 03/20/05 11:18 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Great article.

I am not sure I would do away with the whole UN concept entirely, but it would be nice if they fired everyone and started from scratch with some smaller and more realistic goals.


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Tastes just like chicken


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: JesusChrist]
    #3946583 - 03/20/05 11:26 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

On another message board I post on, someone said they should have an international UN-like organization that's only for liberal democracies, so only governments that are elected by their citizens are represented.


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InvisibleGijith
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: JesusChrist]
    #3946630 - 03/20/05 11:35 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

JesusChrist said:
Great article.

I am not sure I would do away with the whole UN concept entirely, but it would be nice if they fired everyone and started from scratch with some smaller and more realistic goals.




Wow. I actually agree with you 100%. There's a first.

I think the world will always benefit greatly by having an international forum where all nations can meet together to discuss issues, try to mediate conflicts, etc. I'm still optimistic that the UN can be thoroughly reformed and scaled down, rather than abandoned.


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what's with neocons and the word 'ilk'?


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OfflineRoseM
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: Gijith]
    #3948366 - 03/21/05 12:36 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Much ado about nothing.

Americans complaining about a corrupt U.N.

From where I sit, (and from where I sit, I have a nice view of the U.N. building... I like the top 10 floors... just like I enjoyed the top 10 floors of the WTC towers.)... the U.N. is EXACTLY as corrupt as it should be.

Just like the U.S. govt, or the International Olympic Committee, people with power are vulnerable to corruption. It doesn't mean everybody in the U.S. Govt., the I.O.C. or the U.N. are corrupt, nor does it mean the ideas behind them are corrupt.

People everywhere, who vote on important issues, will be vulnerable to bribery, corruption and politics.

I think it may be counter productive to put someone with such pessimism, in place as America's U.N. representative... but I can understand, and respect why he was put in place. Here's hoping he does a good job... instead of sulking in a corner, because the U.N.'s sooooo outdated.


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Fiddlesticks.



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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: Rose]
    #3948778 - 03/21/05 02:19 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

correct but it still bothers me.

Did you know that last month, Parade Magazine had its 2005 list of the Worst 10 dictators in the world and FIVE of them are on the UN's so-called "Human Rights" Commission? Sudan, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe? Libya, also on this list, was the chair state of the so-called UN "Human Rights" Commission in 2003. http://www.parade.com/ This more than anything else shows what a corrupt, unreformable cesspool the United Nations is.


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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OfflineRoseM
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: lonestar2004]
    #3949392 - 03/21/05 04:40 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

lonestar2004 said:
This more than anything else shows what a corrupt, unreformable cesspool the United Nations is.




Actually, it only shows corruption.

Never say never. It COULD still be reformed. Will it be reformed? Doubtful... but it COULD be.


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Fiddlesticks.



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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: lonestar2004]
    #3952223 - 03/22/05 03:39 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Did you know that last month, Parade Magazine had its 2005 list of the Worst 10 dictators in the world and FIVE of them are on the UN's so-called "Human Rights" Commission? Sudan, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe? Libya, also on this list, was the chair state of the so-called UN "Human Rights" Commission in 2003. http://www.parade.com/ This more than anything else shows what a corrupt, unreformable cesspool the United Nations is.




Well that depends how you look at it. Does membership of the commitee imply that a country has a good human rights record? If that was the case then yes it would be a joke.
That seems a little too obvious though doesnt it? Perhaps those who decide the membership have brought these countries together to discuss human rights for a reason? Maybe because they are the worst offenders is the reason they were chosen to take part in active discussion on the subject?


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Always Smi2le


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InvisibleCJay
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: GazzBut]
    #3952376 - 03/22/05 06:17 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

no! that's inferring intelligence


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InvisibleCJay
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: lonestar2004]
    #3952392 - 03/22/05 06:38 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Did you know that last month, Parade Magazine had its 2005 list of the Worst 10 dictators in the world and FIVE of them are on the UN's so-called "Human Rights" Commission? Sudan, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe? Libya, also on this list, was the chair state of the so-called UN "Human Rights" Commission in 2003. http://www.parade.com/ This more than anything else shows what a corrupt, unreformable cesspool the United Nations is.




And what of the UN's most powerful member - the self apointed policeman and multi theatre moral warrior - how does the US deal with these nations?

Libya - Now Libya has graciously signed all its oil over to US firms the diplomatic channels are open and restrictions lifted. Human rights abuses take a back seat and get the usual US diplomatic lipservice. The ole 'we are concened' line that means nothing unless Libya disagrees with the US regime...which is when it means everything.

Saudi Arabia - Again lipservice on human rights from the US - just keep pumping that oil for Uncle Sam and the US will stay your best friend no matter how grotesque and backward the Saudi regime is.

China - Well they make pretty much everything Walmart sells, and its cheap. Who cares how the country is run. US morals about human rights - nonexistent when money comes into play. (again)

Sudan - Well wait a minute, the regime that protected bin Laden as well as arranging the infamous meeting(s) with Iraq. And whats that? Murderation, genocide and corruption beyond belief. Who owns the oil there? China....ok better leave em to it, after all that blossoming democracy China is one of the Uncle Sam's best friends...and a friend to be feared. Best talk about it as little as possible, most Americans don't even know where Sudan is so *shhh*

Pakistan - They comply when orders are issued. How they keep their establishment is therefore of no concern; unless they stop complying of course, which is when it will become a burning issue.

Zimbabwe - Who cares, deepest darkest Africa is deep and dark...leave the savages to it, no one cares and there's no US interest. Go on Mugabe be deep and dark. Anyway - lets talk ablot Iraq...

Yes the US is doing so much for human rights, so much more than the UN - and offering so much support to the UN. Praise the Lord - the US is on top of things and the US is getting good and fat off the land. Top 10 dictators in the world? Bosom buddies with Uncle Sam as long as they serve the US capital interest, (or another feared nation's...). Step outta line on that account and they might be in trouble...until that day let them on their merry way.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: CJay]
    #3952426 - 03/22/05 07:53 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

To use Lonestar's earlier turn of phrase:

This more than anything else shows what a corrupt, unreformable cesspool the United States is.    :grin:


Of course really this kind of corruption has much more to do with a mindset than with nationality or affiliation to a certain group such as the U.N.


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Always Smi2le


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: GazzBut]
    #3952761 - 03/22/05 10:53 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

i hear you.


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: lonestar2004]
    #3952891 - 03/22/05 11:49 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Are you sure?


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Always Smi2le


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Offlinelonestar2004
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Re: The New US Ambassador to the UN [Re: GazzBut]
    #3952985 - 03/22/05 12:20 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

yes... just being a smart ass.


--------------------
America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
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