Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bolton out of the gate

I knew there was a reason I liked this guy. In his first major initiative as U.N. ambassador, John Bolton has written a letter to the other 190 ambassadors urging them to stop dragging their feet on U.N. reform. He is pushing for changes in the current 39 page draft prepared by General Assembly president, Jean Ping of Gabon which includes the striking of some 400 passages:

He [Bolton] proposed immediate negotiations, starting with Ping's draft , and urged his fellow envoys to remain "open to alternative formats if they help us achieve consensus." He said, "I plan on participating personally in this exercise, and hope you will do the same."

Translation: "Get off your fat butts and get to work."

More than 170 heads of state have confirmed plans to attend the conference, starting Sept. 14, to consider approval of what are seen as the most sweeping changes at the United Nations in its 60-year history.

The extent of the deletions sought and the late hour of the move brought complaints that the United States was sabotaging the U.N. effort to meet demands -- many of them originating from Washington -- that the institution reform itself to adjust to modern times and make its operations transparent and accountable.

"It would be very unfortunate and not in the interest of the United States or the international community for the new U.S. ambassador to barge in and undermine an important summit negotiation process," said William Pace, general secretary of the New York-based World Federalist Movement.

Richard Grenell, the spokesman for the U.S. mission, said, "The fact that we took this document seriously and put it through a thorough interagency process to evaluate its policy implications and then we commented on our ideas should be celebrated, not criticized."

Bolton, who was appointed by the White House while Congress was in recess after he failed to gain Senate approval, was championed by President Bush as the best person to bring about needed reform at the United Nations.

Among the changes under consideration by the world body are the substitution of the Human Rights Commission with a more powerful Human Rights Council that would no longer allow rights violators on the panel; the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission to help counties emerging from conflict; the defining of terrorism to exclude its justification as a national resistance or liberation tool, and the empowerment of the international community to intervene in countries that fail to protect their populations in cases of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The U.S. objections center on parts of the document that approve measures and offices that the United States has opposed in other forums. Among them are the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and a pledge to devote 0.7 percent of gross national product to development.

Sounds good to me. All that Bolton is trying to do here is insert common sense into this draft and remove the provisions that undermine U.S. sovereignty. Personally, I think we should scrap the whole U.N. charter and dissolve the entire body. It consists of nothing but beaurocrats and nations who make no pretense about their dislike for our country while holding out their hands for more American money to fund their corrupt programs. But still this is a good start.