Sunday, September 18, 2005

What is Bolton Up To? Not Much.

Here is a sympathetic profile in the WSJ of newly-installed U.N. Ambassador John Bolton's activities during the latest U.N. reform effort. Perhaps I am wrong when I argued here that U.N. ambassadors, and ambassadors in general don't matter very much. But then again, this profile doesn't really suggest Bolton has been able to do very much, one way or the other, during the supposedly-crucial U.N. negotiations in recent months.

Which makes me wonder again about all the noise and thunder surrounding his nomination and recess appointment. What was the point of all of that? Has Bolton done anything to radically undermine the U.N.? Or to stand up to the U.N. in the way conservatives wanted? Not that I can tell. The moment where Bolton might have made the greatest difference in U.S. relations with the U.N. has pretty much passed. And barely anyone noticed.


Blogger Not my real name said...

The US required 700 amendments to the reform doc! What else is that other than standing up to the UN in a way conservatives want?

Not everybody else, but lots of other governments want UN reform. I am not following the GA especially closely at the moment, but it seems that most are being reasonable (apart from giving up veto power, without which no reform is a reform at all). I can understand the US wanting to ensure its interests are protected at the UN. However, the longer no reform occurs, because of positions such as requiring 700 amendments, the less legitimate the UN becomes.

The less legitimate the US becomes, the more John Bolton and the Bush Admin have achieved their goal. Less legitimacy = more ability to circumvent international processes and go it alone.

9/18/2005 8:53 PM  
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