- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2005

I am particularly keen about the controversy in the Senate concerning the appointment of John Bolton as our ambassador to the United Nations. I have just returned from the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, where I served as ambassador and the head of the U.S. delegation. It certainly convinced me that not only the United States, but the United Nations itself, needs and will profit from a no-nonsense representative like Mr. Bolton.

Americans must understand that the United Nations is not a very friendly forum for our country. The State Department puts out a study of voting patterns of the 191 nations that constitute the U.N. General Assembly. Only 10 of those 191 voted with the United States more than 50 percent of the time last year. I recognize that many Americans may blame the United States for that. As it happens, I don’t. We may be wrong, but certainly not that often. Some may question our intentions, but I regard our country as a messenger of peace and democracy. We are not seeking empire or aggrandizement at the expense of others.

The United Nations is a tough-minded place. Indeed, all of international diplomacy is a tough-minded business. Ambassadors look you in the eye and lie. “It’s part of their job description,” chortled a friend of mine. A tough-minded Mr. Bolton who can see through that is just what we need. President Woodrow Wilson warned that the United States could not be a lamb among wolves in international affairs. Since the United Nations cannot really be credible without the very active involvement of the United States, a tough-minded Mr. Bolton is just what the United Nations needs as well.

The United Nations has failed in the principal role of which its founders dreamed, the business of keeping the peace, repelling tyranny and spreading human rights to all peoples. It failed in Cambodia, then in Rwanda, and it is failing at this very moment in the Darfur region of Sudan where upwards of 300,000 have been killed, 2 million made homeless and many more brutalized — particularly women. A U.S. ambassador at the highest level has to bluntly and persistently help return the United Nations to its original mission. Mr. Bolton is just the man to get that done.

At the six-week session of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) this spring — a commission made up of 53 countries, including some of the worst human rights abusers — we could only come up with a consensus resolution — albeit a fairly strong one — about Darfur that did not mention the government of Sudan by name as an abuser, though the implication was pretty clear. Last year, when we insisted on a strong Darfur resolution condemning Sudan, the vote against it was 50-1 (the one being the United States) with two abstentions. The CHR membership has too many arsonists and too few firemen.

Because of the makeup of the commission, this year we did not try to get any resolution against Iran, Zimbabwe, China or even Turkmenistan, where the dictator has renamed the months and days of the week after family members. Six weeks during the CHR session is not enough. It will take the year-round persistence of a strong-willed Mr. Bolton to return the United Nations to the mission we all hoped for it.

But the commission had no difficulty this spring (or any other spring) in condemning Israel — not once but in four separate resolutions. In the last session of the 191-nation-member General Assembly, 26 human rights resolutions aimed at member states were passed. Amazingly, 22 of those 26 condemned the State of Israel.

It has been that way at the United Nations for many many years. Such ongoing blatant, persistent anti-Semitism at the United Nations needs the strong minded attention of a John Bolton who, in 1991, as assistant secretary of state for international organizations, devoted himself to a dogged pursuit of repealing the General Assembly resolution of 1975 that equated Zionism with racism. He called it his “ZR Campaign.” The New York Times reported: “Countries were targeted one by one, with Bolton systematically pursuing their ambassadors and tracking the results on charts.”

It is widely recognized that the job would not have gotten done without Mr. Bolton. Said the Washington director of the Anti-Defamation League: “he’s really a hero of that effort.”

Mr. Bolton is tough, relentless, logical and very smart. The United States needs him at the United Nations. So does the United Nations itself if it is to return to its founders’ dreams of peace and human rights across the length and breadth of our planet.

Ambassador Rudy Boschwitz is a former senator (1978-91) who served on the Foreign Relations Committee (1980-91). He currently is head of the delegation to the 61st session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

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