Thursday, April 28

Why John Bolton is the Man for the Job

Pundita's support for John Bolton as the US ambassador to the UN is pragmatic to the point of cynical. I think the United Nations is a relic of a time in history that is gone and won't return--a time when a handful of nations could control all the rest. But because the US government is bound and determined to send an ambassador to the UN, I support sending John Bolton.

He is someone who knows the UN joint inside out, and to the extent anyone can get things done there, he is that person. So he represents an honor accorded to the original idea behind the organization: before washing our hands of the United Nations, at least give it the best try we can to make parts of the United Nations functional.

From that viewpoint, I present some weighty endorsements of Bolton's capability for the job, which frankly is ambassadorial in name only. He's being sent to break up logjams and ram through reforms that halt the UN's worst offenses.

I consider the endorsements weighty because they are well-reasoned and focus on Bolton's accomplishments and his proven skill at representing US interests. The first endorsement is my selection of quotes from a piece that was published in the Washington Post:
...Bolton, who has been writing about the United Nations for decades, is one of the few people in public life willing to draw the distinction between what the United Nations actually is and what everybody would like it to be.

The United Nations is not a popularly elected world government; it isn't even a collection of well-meaning people who just want peace. It is a group of different agencies with different agendas, some of which are relatively effective and some of which are ineffective or even dangerous...

But if the United Nations isn't good in and of itself, neither is it evil. It is only as good or bad as its employees, all political appointees whose activities are, by ordinary government or business standards, subjected to shockingly little oversight. Unlike, say, the U.S. civil service, or the Japanese bureaucracy, the U.N. bureaucracy is not beholden to a democratic government or even a sovereign government.

There is no electorate that can toss the Libyans out of the human rights commissioner's chair, no judicial system that can try corrupt officials. As I understand Bolton's critique of the United Nations and other international institutions (when he isn't being Rumsfeldesque in his turn of phrase) it is precisely this that concerns him:

Indeed, he has spoken and written for many years on the threats to America's sovereignty -- and everyone else's sovereignty -- from international institutions that owe nobody any allegiance, are subject to no independent review and have no democratic legitimacy of their own.

The trouble with many U.N. defenders is that they refuse to see this fundamental problem, and demand a constantly expanding role for the United Nations without explaining how its lack of democratic accountability is to be addressed.

The trouble with many U.N. detractors, in Congress and elsewhere, is that they see the corruption and nothing else. But there is a role for U.N. institutions -- in Afghanistan, or in international health -- as long as that role is limited in time and cost. And there is a desperate need for U.N. reform. In defense of John Bolton: He may, if he can get confirmed, be one of the few U.N. ambassadors who has thought a good deal about how to set such limits and make such reforms.

-- From Defending Bolton
By Anne Applebaum
Washington Post, March 9, 2005; Page A21
The next endorsement represents passages from a Senate Floor statement by Senator Gordon Smith on April 21, 2005. Kindly note the mention of Bolton's pro bono work for the UN:
As an Assistant Secretary for International Organizations from 1989 to 1993 in the first Bush administration, Under Secretary Bolton worked for Secretary James Baker on UN reform matters and on the repayment of arrearages and assessments.

While serving as the Assistant Secretary for International Organizations, he detailed his concept of a unitary UN that sought to ensure management and budget reforms that impacted the entire UN system, not only the UN Secretariat...This is the type of creativity and resourcefulness we need in order to address the enormous problems within the United Nations.

In 1991, Under Secretary Bolton was the principal architect behind the initiatives that finally led the United Nations General Assembly to repeal the resolution that equated Zionism and racism, one of the more notorious and heinous resolutions ever passed by the United Nations...

During his time out of government, Mr. Bolton served the United Nations on a pro bono basis between 1997 and 2000 [emphasis mine], as an assistant to former Secretary of State Baker in his capacity as the Secretary General's personal envoy for Western Sahara, working to resolve the dispute over that territory--quite an effort from someone who does not believe in the power of multilateralism and international organizations, which is alleged against him but is not true...

He also shaped the administration's approaches to countering the threat of WMD proliferation and, most importantly, the proliferation security initiative, a program that led directly to the discovery of Libya's nuclear program and its subsequent disarmament.
And finally, a letter of endorsement signed by 53 distinguished former ambassadors:
April 12, 2005

The Honorable Richard G. Lugar
Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee...

Dear Senator Lugar,

Your Committee will soon be reasoning together on the nomination of John R. Bolton as our country's next Ambassador to the United Nations. We urge you to give special weight at this time to the explosions of freedom now taking place in Ukraine, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, to name just a few. We believe that these early stirrings of courageous groups within countries that for too long have held on to rigid authoritarian or in some cases totalitarian rule reflect in large measure the policies and optimistic realism of President George W. Bush.

No one in the world of diplomacy and geo-political policy has a better grounding of proven experience than John Bolton. He was on hand as an active participant during the period of the break-up of the Soviet Union and made important contributions to policy-making at a time of total ambiguity when the world of two superpowers was morphing into what we have today.

We believe it is in the best interest of the community of nations as represented by the United Nations, for the maintenance of world peace and security, that the views of America's President be clearly and directly presented in both the General Assembly and the Security Council of the UN.

It is for this reason more than any other that we urge you to quickly and clearly approve John's nomination.


Bruce S. Gelb, former Director of USIA; former Ambassador to Belgium

Anne L. Armstrong, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom

William S. Farish, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Walter J.P. Curley, former Ambassador to France and Ireland

Richard R. Burt, former Ambassador to Germany

Peter Secchia, former Ambassador to Italy

Edward N. Ney, former Ambassador to Canada

Chic Hecht, former Ambassador to The Bahamas; former US Senator

Alfred H. Kingon, former Ambassador to the European Union; former Assistant Secretary of Commerce

Thomas Patrick Melady, former Ambassador to The Vatican, Uganda and Burundi

Frank Shakespeare, former Ambassador to Portugal and The Vatican

Michael Sotirhos, former Ambassador to Greece and Jamaica

Robert D. Stuart, Jr., former Ambassador to Norway

Weston Adams, former Ambassador to Malawi

Everett E. Bierman, former Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

Stephen F. Brauer, former Ambassador to Belgium

Nancy G. Brinker, former Ambassador to Hungary

Keith L. Brown, former Ambassador to Denmark and Lesotho

Richard W. Carlson, former Director of VOA; former Ambassador to Seychelles

Gerald P. Carmen, former Ambassador to the United Nations

Sue McCourt Cobb, former Ambassador to Jamaica

Charles E. Cobb, Jr., former Ambassador to Iceland

Peter H. Dailey, former Ambassador to Ireland and Special Envoy to NATO

Diana Lady Dougan, former Ambassador - US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy

Richard J. Egan, former Ambassador to Ireland

William H.G. Fitzgerald, former Ambassador to Ireland

Joseph Ghougassian, former Ambassador to Qatar and Senior member in Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq

Joseph B. Gildenhorn, former Ambassador to Switzerland

Glen A. Holden, former Ambassador to Jamaica

Richard L. Holwill, former Ambassador to Ecuador

Charles W. Hostler, former Ambassador to Bahrain

Roy M. Huffington, former Ambassador to Austria

G. Philip Hughes, former Ambassador to Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Lester B. Korn, former Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social

Paul C. Lambert, former Ambassador to Ecuador

L.W. Lane, Jr., former Ambassador to Australia and Nauru

Ronald S. Lauder, former Ambassador to Austria

John Langeloth Loeb, Jr., former Ambassador to Denmark

Gregory J. Newell, former Ambassador to Sweden; former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations

Julian M. Niemczyk, former Ambassador to Czechoslovakia

Sally Z. Novetzke, former Ambassador to Malta

Penne Korth Peacock, former Ambassador to Mauritius

Joseph Carlton Petrone, former Ambassador to the United Nations European Office (Geneva)

Charles J. Pilliod, Jr., former Ambassador to Mexico

James W. Rawlings, former Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Frank Ruddy, former Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea

Paul A. Russo, former Ambassador to Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica

Ronald J. Sorini, former Ambassador and Chief Textile Negotiator

Timothy L. Towell, former Ambassador to Paraguay

Helene van Damm, former Ambassador to Austria

Leon J. Weil, former Ambassador to Nepal

Faith Whittlesey, former Ambassador to Switzerland

Joseph Zappala, former Ambassador to Spain

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