Location: People's Republic of Madison, Wisconsin

Monday, August 01, 2005

Who's afraid of John Bolton?

Today John Bolton received a recess appointment as ambassador to the United Nations. Democrats and the media (if you'll pardon the redundancy) have loudly condemned the move, and have thrown out just about anything they can think of to discredit the man. Republicans, also true to form, have offered nothing but vague generalities in support.

After all the silly objections are dismissed, opposition to the Bolton nomination boils down to one thing: John Bolton doesn't revere the United Nations. Reverence for the UN is such a bedrock principle for the Western Left, that any deviation seems like an endorsement of war and poverty. After all, the UN was supposed to serve the cause of peace, justice, and humanitarian goodness, so how could any oppose it?

The answer, of course, is anyone who notices that the UN acts in direct contradiction to its stated ideals. Where the UN was supposed to stop aggressive dictators, it coddles them. When given the opportunity to "feed the children", the UN has consistently skimmed off the cash, and shared the loot with the same corrupt regimes that keep their countries in poverty.

The UN's problems are not superficial. They cannot be solved by changing leaders or implementing a few bureaucratic reforms. They are fundamental to the conception of the UN. You can't bring freedom by sharing power with dictators; dictators are by definition people who hate freedom. Yet the Soviet Union and Communist China both had permanent seats in the most powerful UN body. You cannot possibly achieve world prosperity while treating socialism as just another choice in economic systems. But the UN seems agnostic in the matter. (OK, maybe I'm being too generous to the UN on that score. The world body is far more likely to promote poverty-inducing socialism than anything vaguely capitalistic.)

These should have been the main issues in the Bolton nomination. Bolton's previous contemptuous statements gave an opportunity to make it into a debate about the nature of the UN. Why, then, did this become a debate about whether John Bolton was sufficiently nice to his subordinates? At a time when the top leadership of the United Nations was clumsily covering the oil-for-food scandal, would it have been so hard to highlight UN corruption?

The blame lies squarely with the Bush Administration. It's not just that the Administration is half-hearted about publicly defending itself - although that is often true. Fundamentally, George Bush can't end our suicidal association with the UN because he agrees with the Democrats. He agrees that the UN is an unquestionable force for moral good. So even when he defies UN opinion, he feels the need to consult and beg and offer protestations of his love.

The UN is not good. It is a force for evil. And American foreign policy can never really serve American interests until we have a President who is willing to say so.


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