Saturday, September 10, 2005

Barking at the moon

from the Guardian: World summit on UN's future heads for chaos
The British government is mounting a huge diplomatic effort this weekend to prevent the biggest-ever summit of world leaders, designed to tackle poverty and overhaul the United Nations, ending in chaos.
The Guardian has learned that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, has made a personal plea to his American counterpart, Condoleezza Rice, for the US to withdraw opposition to plans for wholesale reform of the UN. He has asked Ms Rice to rein in John Bolton, the US ambassador to the world body.

Mr Bolton has thrown the reform negotiations into disarray by demanding a catalogue of late changes to a 40-page draft document which is due to go before the summit in New York on Wednesday.

Mr Bolton, one of the US administration hawks, became ambassador last month only after a long confrontation with the US senate, mainly caused by his ideological dislike of the UN.

The foreign secretary is planning to make calls to fellow ministers around the world over the weekend.

Mr Straw spoke to Ms Rice in a three-way conference call last Tuesday organised by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, to try to break the deadlock.

Mr Annan has been weakened by the criticisms voiced this week by an inquiry into the UN's running of the Iraq oil-for-food programme and needs a successful summit to avoid renewed calls for his resignation.

The British government, in a rare divergence from the US, is fully behind Mr Annan's reforms and fears the summit will fail to build on the agreements on aid reached at the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

The Brits appear to be laboring under a few false assumptions. They seem to think talking to Condiliar will accomplish something, and that Bolton has wandered off the reservation. They are acting as if they think that if they could just explain to Bolton's wealthy parents that their bully of a son was causing a lot of anguish for the poorer kids in the class, they would sit him down for a stern lecture or even a spanking.

Not that it makes any damned difference, because the whole point of letting Bolton undo fifty years of progress is that nobody in the Bush Administration gives a rat's ass about poverty, or the environment or the U.N. or, when it comes right down to it, the British. At best, they are pawns; at worst, consumables. A strong U.N. is a more effective counterweight to American dominance. Derailing reform isn't the byproduct of Bolton's abrasiveness: it was the point of installing him in the first place.

In short, when Straw comes to tell Mom and Dad that their little Johnny is a bully, the folks won't discipline him. They'll beam with pride and give him a gold star -- or a Medal of Freedom.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Different day, different setting, same plan. Theirs, not yours.

4:45 PM  

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