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John Bolton: A Commitment to Freedom and Human Rights

Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:00 AM

Senator Joseph P. Biden (D-Del.), Ranking Minority Member of the Committee, reflected this view during Monday's hearing on the Bolton nomination. He expressed "grave concern" about Bolton's "diplomatic temperament." Biden argued that presidential appointees do not deserve his vote if they are "hostile to the mission to which they were assigned" and claimed surprise that Bolton would want the job when he has criticized the United Nations.

Bolton not only has the credentials to handle this assignment, he has the commitment to do the job. Bolton, a Yale Law graduate, recently served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs in President George Herbert Walker Bush's administration and was an Assistant Attorney General in the Reagan Administration. He was Senior Vice President for Public Policy Research at the American Enterprise Institute and was appointed to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. What the bare resume fails to show is his commitment to freedom and human rights.

Bolton has earned the respect of conservatives, such as former Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who commented, "Given the challenges faced by the United Nations as we learn more about the Oil-for-Food scandal and other abuses by U.N. officials, John Bolton is the right man to represent the United States in its efforts to carry on much-needed reforms of the United Nations."

Bolton believes in a United Nations that is a streamlined, effective organization committed to effective diplomacy rather than an unchallenged staging ground Third World dictatorships might use to fire diplo-missives against our country and our allies. My opinion of the United Nations has never been very high but if there is any hope for this organization to recapture at least some of its purpose then Bolton can assist. Diplomats from Third World countries with egregious human rights records engage in diatribes against our country and steadfast allies such as Great Britain while other democracies fail to stand up for what is right. Remember that in 2001 it was the United States that was kicked off the U.N. Human Rights Commission while human rights abusers Sudan, Syria and Libya suffered no sanction. The United Nations obviously isn't what it was supposed to be.

The United Nations was formed in 1945 by the World War II Allies. Its original membership was composed largely of democracies. The Soviet Union and China (the mainland not yet Communist) were two of the principal members, which with the United States and Great Britain drafted the original U.N. plan. Over time the United Nations membership has been enlarged to include countries devoid of democratic principles, economic freedom or human rights.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is a member. So is Iran. Libya is a member, as is the Sudan. Each has compiled a terrible record on human rights. North Korea and Iran are not the best bets to exercise restraint when in use of weapons of mass destruction that they might -- or soon will -- possess.

Bolton tells it like it is - he is not the most diplomatic diplomat. He speaks the unsugarcoated truth. It was John R. Bolton who, as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, led an effort to erase the U.N. General Assembly's 1975 resolution comparing Zionism to racism.

When the original resolution passed, Chaim Herzog, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, explained that the intent of the resolution was to condemn racism and colonialism. "[A] group of countries drunk with the feeling of power inherent in the automatic majority and without regard to the importance of achieving a consensus on this issue, railroaded the UN in a contemptuous maneuver by the use of the automatic majority into bracketing Zionism with the subject under discussion," he explained. What Herzog denounced has become standard U.N. operating procedure. The bad guys jump on the good guys mercilessly.

Bolton's words about, and actions toward, North Korea have cut through the falsehoods like a knife drawing protests from that country's Communist dictatorship. The North, he said, had made life for its citizens a "hellish nightmare" with millions of people "mired in abject poverty, scrounging the ground for food."

Praise for Bolton has come from some unexpected places. Mark Malloch Brown, Chief of Staff to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, made the point March 13th on Fox News Sunday that an effective U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations must be effective in both New York and Washington. "[T]hat's where there's a real silver lining to John Bolton's appointment, because if he can corral the different congressional points of view and the administration's point of view into a single set of recommended reforms for the UN, which we can respond to, that's good news for us." Malloch Brown reminded viewers and host Chris Wallace that Bolton had been "very effective" in dealing with the United Nations as Assistant Secretary of State.

WASHINGTON POST columnist Anne Applebaum credited Bolton with being "one of the few people in public life willing to draw the distinction between what the United Nations actually is and what everyone would like it to be." She sees Bolton's bluntness and unwillingness to play up to the foreign-policy establishment as strong assets. "In the past," she noted, "he has been unafraid of arguing his points, even in Europe, where they are deeply unpopular." She says Bolton has a record of expressing concern about the United Nations and other international institutions that lack respect for the sovereignty of nations and poke their noses into everybody else's business but are not held accountable for their own actions.

When Bolton's nomination for his current position was considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee four years ago Jesse Helms helped guide him through. Helms is no longer in the Senate and Bolton faces a tougher fight. Yet Bolton has friends in the conservative movement who have made clear his nomination is important to advancing our national interest and the cause of human rights and freedom. They wrote to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard E. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Ranking Minority Member Biden indicating that the U.N. has failed to live up to its self-declared mission to "reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person." The conservatives declared that the United Nations must regain its bearings and there is no better envoy capable of helping the United Nations to confront its failures than Bolton.

The Left's checkbooks have been opened. Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) have been the targets of television advertising urging a vote against Bolton's confirmation. Morton Halperin, Executive Director of Soros' Open Society Policy Center, appeared at a press conference sponsored by Citizens for Global Solutions to urge the deep-sixing of Bolton's nomination. The reason such groups oppose Bolton is because of his unwillingness to stand for the guff too many U.S. diplomats accept as the norm. Do Chafee and Hagel, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, have the understanding and mettle to do what is right, particularly given that they are under such pressure from the Left?

The Oil-for-Food scandal is just one more reason for the United States seriously to reevaluate our support for the United Nations and what proper role - if any -- it should play in world affairs. This reexamination is long overdue. The world is a very different place than it was in 1945 when the United Nations was formed and the way it has come to reflect those changes disparages its own mission. What kind of institution devoted to peace and human rights would have Syria, Sudan and Libya serve on its Human Rights Commission?

We need a representative who can press the UN to come clean about all that has happened in its bureaucracies. We need a representative who can deliver a hard line when it comes to presenting our position, not just offer more State Department-speak. We need a representative who will be an unyielding advocate of human rights. That representative should be John R. Bolton; no one is better prepared to represent our county before the United Nations. Given all that is at stake, second best simply will not suffice. Let's hope that the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, particularly Senators Chafee and Hagel, realize that. (Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.)


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Senator Joseph P. Biden (D-Del.), Ranking Minority Member of the Committee, reflected this view during Monday's hearing on the Bolton nomination. He expressed "grave concern" about Bolton's "diplomatic temperament." Biden argued that presidential appointees do not...
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:00 AM
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