- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2005

In all the excitement about John Bolton’s nomination for permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations, some important facts seem to have been overlooked. Since I am intimately acquainted with the period when Mr. Bolton was U.S. assistant secretary of state for international affairs, let me explain what I mean, for the sake of fairness.

When Jeane J. Kirkpatrick left the U.N. as America’s ambassador in 1985, an interesting interpretation of her departure raced through the halls of the U.N. Secretariat and among delegates of the other U.N. member states. Mrs. Kirkpatrick had been fervently advocated repeal of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution that identified Zionism as a form of racism. Now everyone said the U.S. would turn off the pressure attributed to Mrs. Kirkpatrick’s pro-Jewish hang-up, and the U.N. would return to its normal anti-Semitic state.

The toxin of anti-Semitism has been present at the United Nations for many years. Not too long ago at the U.N. Durban conference on racism, Israel was the prime target.

Upon his appointment as State Department assistant secretary for international organizations (i.e. the U.N.), John Bolton took this particular issue in hand. In hearings before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, John Bolton’s powerful voice established once more, without doubt, that the primary U.S. policy at the United Nations was repeal of the Zionism-equals- racism resolution and eradication of anti-Semitism at the U.N.

Mr. Bolton not only exerted his considerable influence publicly at congressional hearings but made certain the U.S. delegation to the United Nations understood that repeal of the obnoxious U.N. resolution was our principal objective.

The point was made without any of the usual diplomatic circumlocutions that muddy human communications at the United Nations. Mr. Bolton was blunt, categorical, unequivocal. He got the point across that the U.S. would not tolerate anti-Semitism under any guise at the U.N. or anywhere else.

As a result of John Bolton’s forceful and courageous efforts, the obnoxious Zionism-equals-racism document was finally repealed by the U.N. General Assembly, a milestone in an environment where half-truths and circumlocutions normally hold sway. Mr. Bolton’s achievement was all the more commendable since it became a fixed norm of U.S. foreign policy no longer attributable to the personal preferences of one or another U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

The United Nations has suffered and still suffers from many contradictions and subversions of its original purpose. Everyone agrees reform is the organizations main objective at present, when so many of its blemishes have come to the surface.

One of the most successful reformers of the United Nations has been John Bolton.

Pedro A. Sanjuan is former political affairs director in the United Nations Secretariat and author of the forthcoming book, “U.N. Gang,” to be published by Doubleday.

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