8/26/2005

Daily Kos: Bolton Gets On With Difficult Task of Halting U.N. Reforms

Bolton Gets On With Difficult Task of Grounding U.N. Reforms
by Hunter
Thu Aug 25th, 2005 at 15:34:01 CDT

Well, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who Bush insisted was the only possible man for the difficult job of reforming the U.N., has taken on his first task: blocking the previously negotiated plan for U.N. reform.

Instead, Bolton seeks to scrap the existing negotiated document and return to line-by-line negotiation of everything in it, and has proposed reducing the draft document to a "punchier" three-page version. (It does my heart good to know that the U.N. -- apparently a bastion of corruption and anti-American sentiment, to hear conservatives talk about it -- can be reformed by roughly the same amount of words as a high school book report.)

Filling in for Josh at TPM, Steve Clemons has received the leaked draft document [PDF] containing Bolton's personal requested edits. The short version: Bolton is requesting the removal of various large areas of proposed reforms. As Clemons summarizes:

[T]he document does the following:

* knocks out entirely the Millennium Development Goals
* continues to undermine collective efforts against climate change
* knocks out targets and timetables for all goals and objectives
* guts any efforts toward further disarmament objectives and focuses exclusively on non-proliferation, while both had always been important objectives in the past
* strikes the section that states that countries will use force only as last resort
* and oddly, strikes out the need to establish a legal definition of terrorism, which the Bush administration has previously stated is a requirement before proceeding towards a U.N. Convention on Terorrism.

So there ya go. The previously negotiated -- mind you, with full U.S. input -- material on disarmament, terrorism, climate change, and the legality of military force has to go. Anyone surprised by that list?

In short, Bolton's idea of U.N. reform primarily is targeted around the notion that we need a whole lot less reform around here.

This is nothing, of course, that anyone paying the slightest bit of attention didn't expect. For the next few years the U.N. is going to be all-but-useless to U.S. interests, as John Bolton treats the world community as his own personal sandbox -- and as the other ambassadors snigger at him while he does it. I think you can count on any meaningful U.N. reform -- minus a few photo ops and happy flag-waving sessions -- to go into a box for the duration of the Bush presidency. And given the incompetence of the Bush presidency, that's probably the best we can hope for.

Daily Kos: Bolton Gets On With Difficult Task of Grounding U.N. Reforms

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