Tuesday, September 13, 2005

John Bolton's "editing" is very welcome...

Exerpts from the Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal - Featured Article: Sunday, September 11, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT (this is edited for brevity - follow the link for the full article)

The U.N.'s prose--and policy--finally gets a close look.

... new U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton has taken a red marker to (...Kofi Annan's vision for a reformed U.N. and to which world leaders are supposed to affix their names when they meet this week in New York. It is a product of an opaque U.N. process...) and dozens of other misbegotten statements and suggested new language in their place. This is causing consternation in predictable quarters, but we hope Mr. Bolton keeps at it.

On foreign aid, for example, he wants to stress ...that the aid should go "particularly for countries that are making efforts to use resources wisely, strengthen governance, and reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth." That is, the aid should go to countries that aren't corrupt and will do something useful with it.

By the way, the U.S. has increased its development assistance by 90% since President Bush took office, to $19 billion from $10 billion--a point rarely mentioned by those who carp about U.S. "stinginess."

There's more. In the section on nonproliferation, ... Mr. Bolton rightly wants to strike ...language, which is often used by Iran and other rogue states as an alibi to skirt their nonproliferation commitments. In its place, he suggests: "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and the possibility that terrorists might acquire such weapons, remain the greatest threats to international peace and security." As Henry Kissinger likes to say, that has the added advantage of being true.

Some of Mr. Bolton's edits seem small but are literally worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The U.N. draft "commends" the Secretary General "to modernize the United Nations, in particular its headquarters." Mr. Bolton deletes the language about headquarters. ...millions in savings could be realized if the U.N. alters existing plans.

He also focuses on management reform, which came into special focus with the release last week of Paul Volcker's fourth report on the Oil for Food scandal. The report stressed Mr. Annan's multiple supervisory failures, yet Mr. Annan wants the world's leaders to accept his reform plan as a fait accompli before Mr. Volcker's findings are even read, much less considered.

...Mr. Bolton is doing (...the UN...) the favor of taking its words seriously. Those who want something more than a feckless and corrupt world body should welcome his efforts.

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