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Friday, December 02, 2005

NYT: Bolton Not Going Along Is Bad For US Diplomacy

Bill Suda provides this link from the NYT editorial page:

The NYT editorial "Blocking Reform at the U.N." bashes John Bolton for his "threatening to hold up its entire two-year operating budget unless his demands for major reforms are met almost immediately".

The editorial provides readers neither the specific reforms proposed by the UN, the budget proposed nor our ambassador's stated or written arguments against either. The editorial merely claims that his arguments indicate an intransigence towards the august organization. Like other Americans (see Skip March's comment below), my inclination is to support Bolton because of the mismanagement (if not outright corruption) of Annan

What the NYT claims is diplomacy means going along with the proposals. The reporter mentions the reforms include some limits on who can serve of the civil rights commission and who oversees it. We get no specifics about Bolton's arguments. Writes the NYT:

His demands and his threats to bypass the U.N. if it doesn't bow to them have fed the impression that the whole reform agenda is a power grab by Washington. Hard as it is for Americans to believe, much of the world now suspects Secretary General Kofi Annan of being Washington's lackey.

Mr. Annan made a promising start earlier this year at building a consensus for reform, only to have it derailed by Mr. Bolton. Soon after taking over the American mission this summer, he issued a long list of last-minute demands. As a result, a special international summit meeting that had been organized to adopt real reforms ended up endorsing a document that was mostly fudge and mush.

What demands? Other than refusing to go along, I have no information about the substance of Bolton's position. I may agree or disagree but this report has not provided anything.

But actually it may indicate more about the NYT. The mere refusal of Bolton to approve everything proposed is by definiton a "lack of diplomacy". Shall I accept on faith that the UN proposals should be accepted without any offer of compromise? Is that what the world wants in order for the US to regain its lost stature on the world stage?

Maybe the NYT should provide some background information. Otherwise, I cannot accept their characterization of Bolton's behavior.

From Skip:

Mr Annan building a concensus for reform???????? Building a concensus with who...the General Assembly that has resisted reform for how long? The same General Assembly that the writer suggests ought to have powers of management and appointments taken away from?? How about some legitimate, uncorrupted leadership.......to start. The move towards concensus for reform hasn't been derailed by Bolton...it has been derailed by exactly those that need to be reformed. How hard is that to figure out

Skip

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