Washington, D.C. – Because John Bolton is a blunt-spoken guy, Democrats believe they must rally their Rodney King – "can't we all just get along" – constituency to defeat his nomination and force him to pack his bags and leave the United Nations once his recess appointment expires in December. In his place, they would like to send to the UN an American who – like too many previous U.S. Ambassadors – will allow themselves to be used as a doormat for the international riff-raff assembled in Turtle Bay.
The fight over John Bolton's nomination is not about the man's qualifications for the job – on that front Bolton wins hands down as the most qualified, most capable representative the United States has ever sent to the United Nations. His last fifteen months on the job demonstrate his ability and willingness to defend American interests against our fiercest antagonists.
What this fight is about is the amount of authority the competing interests in Washington are willing to give the United Nations. John Bolton's skepticism of the UN is well documented and well deserved. But for liberals who have more faith in Kofi Annan that in George Bush, this mindset is troubling. Increasingly, the Political Left in America puts more faith in the United Nations than in their own government. They believe that the UN Charter is a higher authority than the United States Constitution.
Among Bolton's many critics is Steve Clemons, a senior fellow and director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. Writing in the Huffington Post, Clemons says, "Why are we to believe that John Bolton, who has now had a lot of time on the clock, is any good at all at getting what America wants done at the UN? He has had no successes."
But what Clemons and his liberal colleagues want is not what America wants – and they are trying to tag John Bolton with the failures of the United Nations.
The Washington Note, a liberal blog posted "Bolton's Blunders" as "evidence" of his failure to protect U.S. interests at the UN. Let's take a closer look.
The Note cites as diplomatic failure Bolton's decision to delete references to the Millennium Development Goals in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document at the last General Assembly meeting in New York. What is left unsaid is that the Millennium Development Goals are nothing more than a UN-imposed tax on the American economy which would amount to $80 billion annually. The UN has been trying to fully implement this tax since the Nixon administration and globalists like Jimmy Carter fully endorse it.
UN lovers in America fault John Bolton for trying to keep human rights abusers off the newly created UN Human Rights Council. They complain that he offended UN diplomats for not taking part in their charade of concern for people around the world who are oppressed by dictatorial regimes. As predicted, the new UN body has spent much of its time criticizing U.S. policy in the war on terror.
There is universal agreement that the United Nations is in desperate need of management reform. While Kofi Annan and the UN pay lip service to such ideas, they drag their feet to prevent themselves from having to be more accountable to countries like the United States which fund the bulk of UN operations. Growing disgusted with the lack of change in the corrupt management at Turtle Bay, Mr. Bolton tried to increase his leverage over the process by suggesting that the U.S. might withhold funding if minimal changes were not made. But to Kofi's defenders at the Note, this only "helped further the impression at the U.N. that Ambassador Bolton and the U.S. were more focused on cost-cutting than building a strong and effective institution capable of responding to the problems facing all nations."
But therein is the problem for liberals. They are trading in their faith in the United States for a hopelessly corrupt institution which is not capable of responding to – let along solving – international problems. John Bolton understood this before he took his post and still recognizes that fact today. During hearings last week, Bolton was asked by Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) if his opinion of the United Nations has changed. "Not really," Bolton said candidly.
Power to shape world events is a zero-sum game. And liberals who seek to derail Mr. Bolton's nomination should be asked whether they want a strong United States or a strong United Nations. To vote against the confirmation of John Bolton is to choose the corrupt Kofi Annan over the President of the United States. The vote is coming and the question to senators is, "whose side are you on?"
Thomas P. Kilgannon is the president of Freedom Alliance and the author of the new book Diplomatic Divorce: Why America Should End Its Love Affair with the United Nations.