- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

The early returns are in: A number of retired U.S. diplomats, George Soros and the renamed World Federalist Association (now doing business as Citizens for Global Solutions) think what is needed now is less an American ambassador to the United Nations than an advocate for the U.N.’s dismal status quo assigned as a representative to the Bush administration.

Fortunately, President Bush believes very differently. He understands that the United Nations needs — now more than ever — the United States to have as its ambassador there someone who is not only a seasoned and highly skilled diplomat, deeply knowledgeable about the institution and the preeminent organizational and substantive challenges it faces. The times also require an individual who will represent with energy, intellectual prowess, articulateness and, yes, when necessary, assertiveness, the interests of the United States at U.N. headquarters.

Specifically, as Mr. Bush has made clear repeatedly — and most pointedly in his past three annual appearances before the U.N. General Assembly — the United States wants to realize the promise of the founding principles of the so-called “world body.” These are enshrined in the inspiring opening phrases of the United Nations Charter that speak of “the peoples of the United Nations’ ” determination to spare future generations the “scourge of war” by: “reaffirm[ing] faith in fundamental human rights… , establish[ing] conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and… promot[ing] social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom…. ”

Mr. Bush said Sept. 21, 2004: “Both the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaim the equal value and dignity of every human life. That dignity is honored by the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, protection of private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance. That dignity is dishonored by oppression, corruption, tyranny, bigotry, terrorism and all violence against the innocent. And both of our Founding documents affirm that this bright line between justice and injustice — between right and wrong — is the same in every age, and every culture, and every nation.”

To be sure, this is a very different vision of what the U.N. is supposed to be — and can yet become. Some diplomats, international bureaucrats and other practitioners of realpolitik effectively insist the United Nations’ duty is not to advance freedom but to enshrine and protect the status quo. Regrettably, for most of the U.N.’s history, the only exceptions have been communists and other left-wing authoritarians (notably, Leonid Brezhnev, Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat and Hafez Assad) whom the “world body” at best accommodated and at worst lionized for aggression at freedom’s expense.

President Bush is clearly committed to seeing the United Nations, with the active and constructive support of the United States, return to first principles. He appreciates this is perhaps the most promising moment in the nearly 60 years since the U.N. was created to effect the sorts of systemic reforms that would be entailed.

Mr. Bush appreciates that such reforms are needed not only to correct the worst abuses in U.N. history (the notorious Oil-for-Food program that corruptly kept Saddam Hussein a going concern, the U.N. peacekeeper rape squads in Congo and elsewhere, the corruption, misconduct and malfeasance at the highest levels of the U.N. bureaucracy, including the secretary general’s own family, etc.) They are also needed if the United Nations is to help promote freedom by ending tyranny, protecting human dignity, encouraging economic opportunity and creating the conditions under which international law deserves — and actually enjoys — widespread respect.

To advance this quintessentially American, and most necessary, agenda at the U.N., President Bush has wisely chosen John Bolton. Like Mr. Bush, John Bolton recognizes how far the U.N. has strayed from its founding principles. Like Mr. Bush, Mr. Bolton believes the U.N. could be a force for real good in the world were it able to return to and act upon those principles. And Mr. Bolton may be uniquely capable of assuring the continuing support of many millions of Americans disaffected by what has become of this “world body” — by demonstrating, in the exemplary tradition at the U.N. of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick, that our ambassador there will fearlessly say and do what he must to effect such change.

Perhaps the most eloquent recognition of the value of John Bolton’s appointment came last month from Tim Wirth, Bill Clinton’s undersecretary of state for global affairs and now the president of the Ted Turner-financed U.N. Foundation:

“In the past, Mr. Bolton has been tough on the U.N. We hope that if he is confirmed by the Senate, he will be an advocate for improving the vital U.S.-U.N. relationship, and for helping the U.N. to achieve its many complex missions, ranging from global health to advancing democracy, strengthening human rights and forging stronger global environmental standards, caring for refugees and feeding millions of disaster-stricken people. The U.N. needs the support of the U.S. both to sustain its mission, and to reform itself for the demands of the 21st century.”

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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