Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bolton Whines About Comments By U.N. Official

The odious John Bolton can dish it out with the best of them. When it comes to catching heat, our U.N. ambassador's thin skin becomes apparent for all to see.

The U.S. ambassador rebuked the United Nations' second-highest-ranking official Wednesday for delivering a speech asserting that U.S. officials have undermined the world body by withholding support and failing to defend it from its harshest critics here.

Ambassador John R. Bolton called on Secretary General Kofi Annan to "repudiate" the speech given by his top aide, Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown, or live with "adverse" consequences.

"Even though the target of the speech was the United States, the victim, I fear, will be the United Nations," Bolton told reporters. "My hope is he looks at the potential adverse effect that these intemperate remarks would have on the organization" and repudiate them.

Bolton called Malloch Brown's speech a "very, very grave mistake," the worst by a U.N. official that he had seen in more than 15 years. He said the address, given in New York on Tuesday, represented a "condescending and patronizing" attack against the American people.

Annan dismissed Bolton's warning, saying that he "agrees with the thrust" of Malloch Brown's speech, according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric...

In his speech to a group of foreign policy experts, Malloch Brown said that the "prevailing practice of seeking to use the U.N. almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable. You will lose the U.N. one way or another."

Malloch Brown voiced frustration that the United Nations receives little gratitude, although it frequently advances U.S. policies from the Middle East to Africa, where it is currently organizing a U.N. peacekeeping operation in Sudan.

He said the United Nations' role is "in effect a secret in Middle America, even as it is highlighted in the Middle East and other parts of the world."

Malloch Brown said the United States has not done enough to highlight the United Nations' contributions, citing its role in managing 18 U.S.-backed peacekeeping operations.

"That is not well known or understood, because much of the public discourse that reaches the U.S. heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors, such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News," he said...

The speech was an implicit criticism of Bolton's blunt diplomatic style, which contrasts with the traditional give-and-take of U.N. diplomacy. Malloch Brown urged the United States to show a greater willingness to compromise, citing its decision to threaten a possible end of funding to the United Nations if it does not embrace U.S.-backed reforms.

"No more take-it-or-leave-it, red-line demands thrown in without debate and engagement," he said. "In the eyes of the rest of the world, U.S. commitment tends to ebb much more than it flows. And in recent years, the enormously divisive issue of Iraq and the big stick of financial withholding have come to define an unhappy marriage."

The "grave mistake", to use the words of our ambassador, was when President Bush gave the recess appointment to the U.N. to a man as undiplomatic as John Bolton.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "grave mistake", to use the words of our ambassador, was when President Bush gave the recess appointment to the U.N. to a man as undiplomatic as John Bolton.

Well, yes, but as we know, such appointments are never based on competence, but, as in the case of Gonzales, allegiance to the Crown.

6/08/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


You have a point there.

Some say (and I believe) that Bolton was installed as U.N. ambassador precisely because of his abrasiveness and distain for the institution of the United Nations.

To put them in their place, so to speak.

6/08/2006 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- Sorry Eff, that was me.

Yikes! Put them in their place. - We all know how much we like it when someone does that...


6/08/2006 10:18 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


No problem, it is always delightful to hear from you.

I liked how Kofi Annan put Bolton in his place by pointing out that the comments that Bolton found so objectionable happened to be true.

Little things like that tend to make my day.

6/08/2006 10:29 AM  
Blogger Zeeshan Suhail said...

Sorry to gatecrash the party, but I just needed to jubilate over the "putting of Bolton in his place" as well. I found that part to be most interesting also, because Annan rarely has to categorically state his support for what his subordinates say or believe in. His coming out forthright in support of Brown was really symbolic of Bolton overstepping his boundaries.
Does Bolton really have the clout to pick up the phone and have a one-on-one with the SG whenever he pleases? Not surprising, but just odd I guess.
Thanks for the post!

6/09/2006 8:50 AM  

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