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November 23, 2005
Bolton To UN: Clean Up Or We Go Our Own Way

John Bolton finally delivered the explicit message for which George Bush went to the lengths of a recess nomination to ensure at the United Nations yesterday. The messsage? Either Turtle Bay needs to reform itself and clean out the corruption, or the United States starts looking for other institutions through which to engage its diplomacy:

"Americans are a very practical people, and they don't view the U.N. through theological lenses," Bolton told reporters outside the General Assembly hall. "They look at it as a competitor in the marketplace for global problem-solving, and if it's successful at solving problems, they'll be inclined to use it. If it's not successful at solving problems, they'll say, 'Are there other institutions?' . . . that's why making the U.N. stronger and more effective is a reform priority for us: Because if it's a more agile, effective organization, it is more likely to be a successful competitor as a global problem-solver." ...

Bolton's remarks come as the Bush administration is encountering stiff resistance from poor countries to United States-backed initiatives aimed at streamlining the United Nations' management practices. The influential Group of 77 developing nations recently issued a letter sharply criticizing plans by Secretary General Kofi Annan to establish an ethics office and to review General Assembly-created programs that are more than five years old to determine whether they should be shut down.

The G-77 warning on ethics reforms should give the entire West some pause about the future of the UN. More than 60 nations have been identified by the Volcker report as having some participation in the UN Oil-For-Food scam that put billions into the pockets of a genocidal tyrant and his sick, twisted sons, while simultaneously starving the people of Iraq. That corruption has reached the inner circle of the Secretariat, through Jean-Paul Mrime and through Kofi Annan's son Kojo.

Yet even that practical failure of ethics fails to move the General Assembly and the G-77. Why? Most of the General Assembly operate their own nations on the same model and have no desire to be held accountable for their lack of ethics on the international stage. Neither the General Assembly nor the UNSC consist of a majority of true democracies, although the Security Council comes closer to it. The UN's constituents do not want the accountability on which liberal democracies depend -- they want the corruption that gives them what they want, when they want it.

The US has had enough of funding such a den of vipers. Bolton makes it clear that the US has other venues in which to operate outside of Turtle Bay, venues that rely less on corrupt autocratic models and more on ad-hoc diplomatic alignments based on mutual need and limited mission. We do not hold ourselves as obligated to treat the UN as a sovereign body for all international diplomacy, and will use it only as we see that it provides effective solutions without corrupting influences. The sooner Turtle Bay understands that message, the quicker they can decide whether to reform or follow the League of Nations into well-deserved oblivion.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 23, 2005 5:40 AM

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