Mona Charen

In the late 1990s, John Bolton published an article titled "The Creation, Rise and Fall of the United Nations." If you had read this essay and not witnessed one minute of his confirmation hearings, you would already know that Democrats were going to despise him.

 Here is Bolton's take on the post of U.N. secretary-general: "... One should not invest excessive hope in any secretary-general. The U.N. Charter describes the secretary-general as the U.N.'s 'chief administrative officer.' He is not the president of the world. He is not a diplomat for all seasons. He is not Mr. Friend of the Earth. And most definitely of all, he is not commander in chief of the World Federalist Army. He is the chief administrative officer. Nothing less than that, to be sure, but, with even greater certainty, nothing more."

 A wound to the quick! In a few words, Bolton ridiculed liberal U.N. worship. It's no surprise that they did not thank him for bringing them down to earth with a jolt. Bolton's point in that article is that the United Nations is a tool, not an end itself. Rather than the "parliament of man" liberals fondly imagine, the United Nations is a collection of nations each pursuing its own interests, and an unaccountable bureaucracy awash in waste, sloth, luxury and abuse.

 Frankly, in a decade that has brought us the Oil for Food scandal, the child sex slave trade carried on by U.N. workers, U.N. failures to confront horrific human rights disasters like North Korea and Sudan -- indeed, even offering the genocidal regime of Sudan a place on the Human Rights Commission (other members: Zimbabwe, Congo, Cuba, Saudi Arabia) -- the real question ought to be not why John Bolton isn't sentimental about the United Nations, but rather why Democrats are.

 Bolton is not of the "U.S. out of the U.N., and U.N. out of the U.S." persuasion. He believes that the United States should lead the body, rather than be led by it. Bolton was our point man in seeing to it that the infamous "Zionism is Racism" General Assembly resolution was overturned.

 He thinks the United Nations has been useful at times. The Security Council helped negotiate and monitor a truce between Iran and Iraq in the late 1980s. The United Nations supervised free elections in Namibia, and provided monitors as Soviet troops departed Afghanistan and Cubans left Angola. The first Gulf War, Bolton argues, was the only historical example of the Security Council behaving as the United Nations' founders envisioned. That vigorous reversal of blunt aggression was possible only because of American leadership.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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