It turns out that, during the months Mr. Bolton was being denied a Senate confirmation vote as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Kofi Anan’s folks and those from other countries who tend to dominate UN deliberations (generally, undemocratic and unfriendly sorts) were organizing what might be described as a surprise party for President Bush. The idea was, when he turned up for a special summit meeting from September 14-16, to oblige him to sign on to the most far-reaching – and outrageous – UN agenda in years. He wouldn’t be able to refuse at the last minute, lest he reinforce the rap that he is a “unilateralist cowboy.”
That agenda is laid out in a forty-page paper dated August 5 with the self-important title “Draft Outcome Document of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly of September 2005.” It reads like a wish-list assembled by advocates of world-government and foes of American sovereignty and power.
For example, the Outcome Document would have us believe that the United Nations has a critical role to play in all world affairs. Reforms it envisions for the institution are largely cosmetic, not the far-reaching, systemic and ongoing ones so clearly required. Support is also given to what amounts to an evolving permanent UN army.
Were President Bush to sign on to this Document, he would commit the United States to “meeting all commitments and obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.” Last time I checked, that was something he has strongly and repeatedly refused to do.
Then there are the disarmament provisions. Signatories would agree to “maintain a moratorium on nuclear test explosions pending the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and call upon all States to sign and ratify” that treaty – something a majority of the United States Senate refused to do a few years back, judging the treaty to be inconsistent with America’s national security interests.They would also authorize “the commencement, without delay, of negotiations on…effective measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space.” Successive U.S. administrations of both parties have opposed such negotiations as incompatible with our need to have assured access to and control of space.
Most egregious of all, perhaps, is the bold grab the Draft Outcome Document makes for “globotaxes” – the authority to raise revenues for UN functions by levying taxes on various international transactions. Obviously aware of the radioactive nature of such an idea with most tax-averse Americans, the drafters have come up with a variety of euphemisms to obscure what they are about: “innovative and additional sources of financing for development on a public, private, domestic or external basis”; “solidarity contributions on plane tickets to finance development projects”; and “other solidarity contributions that would be nationally applied and internationally coordinated.”
If ever there were proof that President Bush was right to insist on having a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who represented him and the American people, this document is it. Although press reports and Senate critics of Amb. Bolton claimed that the job was being competently done by Foreign Service professionals, none of them (in New York or Washington) seemed to have any problem with these myriad assaults on this country’s policies and interests.
Now that John Bolton is on the job, he is demanding that changes be made to the Outcome Document. The howls can be heard from Turtle Bay to Foggy Bottom. On August 17, Reuters ran as a news article what sounded like a press release issued by the UN Association, suggesting that Mr. Bolton is vindicating his critics’ complaints about his inability to work-and-play-well-with-others at the UN. It quoted diplomats as upset that the United States is trying to “return to square one and launch line-by-line negotiations on the document.”
If the UN’s planned September AmBush is to be wholly avoided, however, John Bolton will require reinforcements. The House Majority Whip Roy Blunt helped when he secured unanimous agreement in that chamber last month to oppose any UN taxes. This legislative prohibition should be enacted as a first order of business when the Senate returns after Labor Day. And, if there is to be an Outcome Document, it had better reflect the sorts of real reforms called for in a House-approved bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde – and leave out new commitments to development, disarmament and environmental initiatives contrary to this country’s interests and, properly, unacceptable to its President.