OpinionMeister

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Tyrrell on Bolton

R. Emmett Tyrrell has a worth-reading column on John Bolton's appointment as UN ambassador. Link.
Given the deplorable moral condition of the United Nations over the past dozen years, I have longed for the arrival of an American representative of the quality of Pat Moynihan or Jeane Kirkpatrick. Admittedly a Moynihan or a Kirkpatrick are rare finds, but surely some stentorian voice could be found to abuse the United Nations with a recitation of democratic values. Now President Bush has found one in nominating the State Department's John Bolton to serve where Moynihan and Kirkpatrick served so memorably. (...)

Certainly the moral condition of the UN is not likely to improve soon. In the 1970s and 1980s when Moynihan and Kirkpatrick represented us, the threat to America was mostly ideological and a matter of power politics. The UN did of course allow Zionism to be equated with racism. It did see a moral equivalence between the West and the Soviets. But the moral quality of the UN has actually gotten worse in the absence of the Soviets. Its peace keepers now are guilty of rape and rampage in Africa. Even its bureaucrats have been caught in sexual harassment, to say nothing of graft. The oil-for-food scandal is probably the largest instance of corruption ever recorded. And the anti-Semitism at the UN is even more rampant. Recall, if you will, the 2001 Durban meeting on international racism that seethed with anti-Semitism. Finally there is the absurdity of the UN's Human Rights Commission, where such nations as Cuba and Zimbabwe pass on the alleged human rights abuses of Americans.

Bolton will cut through this corruption, at least with oratory if not with policy. While at the State Department Bolton has fashioned some memorable policy, perhaps the most useful being the Proliferation Security Initiative. At the UN it is hard to see what sort of policies Bolton can get the body to adopt. Its corruption is so extensive and the United States is but one member against the mob. But Bolton can sober up the assembled popinjays by pointing out each UN failure. The fact is that the UN is no longer of any value in maintaining the peaceful intercourse of nations. Possibly Bolton will fulfill the historic role of becoming America's last ambassador to the UN. No gravy train lasts forever.

I was a great admirer of both Moynihan and Kirkpatrick when they served us in the UN. Everything I have read about Bolton, both the praise from the right and the hatred from the left, make it look like George W. Bush has found a worthy successor to those two giants. It appears that, over the years, only the United States and Israel have ever had ambassadors who were willing to speak truth to the United Nations. Speaking truth to the UN is never easy, and it is questionable how much good it accomplishes, but it is always worth doing nevertheless.

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