What UN Reform?


The Washington Post today has an interesting tidbit: apparently the Bush administration wants to hold a floor vote on its almost-derailed nominee for ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, even if his nomination gets sunk in committee. As Laura Rozen says, “If they can’t win playing by the rules, then their next move is … to change the rules.” But reading down to the end of the Post story, it seems the White House wants to do something else with a floor vote on Bolton:

Dan Bartlett, a senior adviser to Bush, said the president is eager for a floor fight over the United Nations and the need to shake it up. “A vote for John Bolton will be a vote for change at the United Nations,” he said. “A vote against will be for the status quo. The president believes the status quo is unacceptable and wants a person . . . who will be an agent for change.”

Right. The White House wants to let the United Nations know that it should be afraid, very afraid, to mess with the United States of frickin’ America. But all this talk about “a vote for change” strikes me as a bit of a red herring. What change? As far as I know, the Bush administration hasn’t proposed a single reform to the UN. We know the White House got upset that members of the United Nations were allowed to oppose the war in Iraq, and there’s a bit of mock outrage over Oil-for-Food—please, if conservatives were this upset about multimillion dollar scandals, embezzlements, and private contractor corruption, I can think of any number of examples closer to home they might get frazzled over—but nothing in the way of actual ideas for changing things up.

Kofi Annan himself is the only major world leader genuinely trying to shake things up, and there’s no reason to believe that John Bolton, a man who thinks international institutions are flat-out useless, will help things along in this regard.

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