Monday, September 05, 2005

The Bolton edits to the Annan UN reform proposal

Via the Huffington Post, here is the document mentioned in the Washington Post and other media that contains John Bolton's proposed edits - or anyway, the US State Department's proposed edits - to Kofi Annan's draft proposals for UN reform (technically the draft presented by the President of the General Assembly, following negotiations among GA members, but essentially Annan's reform proposals adapted from his earlier documents), due to be presented at the UN summit meeting in New York starting September 14.

The Huffington Post article is here; the link directly to the Bolton pdf is here.

I of course do not share the Huffington Post's outrage, first, at the idea that the US would propose changes to a document of (presumably) such importance for decades to come - the first real attempt structurally to reform the UN in a long, long time - of course the US will have views, and the views of a country as central to everything that the UN does will carry commensurately greater weight than, say, the views of Luxembourg. Second, the complaint that these edits are coming at the last moment fails to note

  • the US has raised the issues behind the actual line by line edits for long periods of time, typically many years; they are not new;
  • the final draft from the SG has seemed to take the risky, raise-or-call position that the US's long standing concerns could simply be ignored in the final draft and that the US will back down in the face of MSM and international bien-pensant opinion that it is too late to raise objectionsn - but Ambassador Bolton, bless his soul, has called Annan's bluff; and
  • had the entire 'civilized' world not spent so much time attempting to block Bolton's appointment over the course of the last year, then objections thatl clearly carry the view of the administration might have been offered a long time ago.

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