You can gauge someone's quality, they say, by listening to the names his enemies call him. Since North Korea, arguably the most abhorrent regime on the planet, refers to John Bolton as 'human scum' this would necessarily validate the high opinion most of us have of him. The North Koreans are not alone in their dislike for Bolton. One could add most of Europe, virtually all of the United Nations bureaucracy and many General Assembly members, the global and US liberal media, and the hard left in America. All join Kim Jong Il in their collective loathing of John Bolton. Sounds like a great recommendation to me!
This makes his appointment by President Bush as Ambassador to the UN not “inexplicable,” as Senator John F. Kerry has said, but quite logical indeed. Since the attack of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush has campaigned thanklessly, suffering severe criticism, to save the UN from its own cowardice, corruption, and ineptitude. Bush has repeatedly challenged the UN to live up to its charter - the core values that are supposed to define the UN as an institution and that presumably confer value upon it. After all, Bush said to the General Assembly, if you cannot or will not enforce your own collective resolutions then what purpose do you serve? Other than mouthing homilies and bromides about international harmony and peace, the leadership of the UN has adroitly avoided answering President Bush's question.
In order to reasonably and fairly judge the UN, one must look beyond the usual platitudes and examine behavior and results. Other than acting resolutely in defending South Korea in 1950 (when the presumptive veto-wielding Soviet Union conveniently boycotted the Security Council meeting) the UN has been stunningly ineffective in preventing war, assisting the downtrodden, punishing genocidal regimes, or promoting general welfare. Despite an abysmal track record in failing to accomplish anything of major importance, the UN has assumed iconic status in many quarters.
A brief recap of the UN’s failures - a longer list would consume all of this space - would include a total lack of initiative in condemning the excesses of communism whether Soviet, Chinese, Eastern Europe, or Cuban; a blind eye toward mass murder whether Iraqi, Cambodian, North Korean, or African; a virulent anti-Semitic anti-Israeli mindset that was expressed frequently and demonstrably; and a level of internal corruption involving money (Oil for Food), sex, fraud, cheating, employee harassment, bureaucratic featherbedding, and outright lying of a magnitude seldom seen in history. The UN welcomes every dictator of any stripe regardless of whatever heinous behavior they bring to the party. And they are prepared to denigrate a democracy - such as Taiwan - for crass political purposes. Add to this noxious history a maddeningly sanctimonious, cynical attitude, and it makes the mental image of Rome plows bulldozing the UN into the East River pleasant indeed.
Despite this abject record many in America and abroad - largely secular humanists - attend the church of the United Nations. Somehow no matter how despicable a regime is - be it a maniacal king in Central African Republic who cannibalizes his subjects, a communist dictatorship like North Korea or Cuba that imprisons and brutalizes citizens, or a fascist theocracy that stones women and terrorizes its neighbors - all of them somehow transmogrify into models of human kindness and rationality by the mere act of crossing into the lobby of the UN building at Turtle Bay. As a consequence, the UN comfortably condemns democracies while promoting dictators, promotes the worst abusers into a position of leadership in agencies charged with safeguarding human rights, and natters endlessly while horrific massacres take place under their watch in Rwanda, Serbia, Cambodia, North Korea, and Sudan.
Upon this Dantean scene comes future Ambassador John Bolton who looks at the UN as the ultimate 'fixer-upper.' With the hammer of truth and reform Bolton is capable of rebuilding failing structures or knocking out rotten infrastructure. He has the refreshingly charming propensity of calling his shots openly, honestly, and with a candor that eschews an overriding political agenda. He has little patience or tolerance for crooks, charlatans, or fools, a combination that has a distressingly high percentage of the UN membership looking for the exits. The fact that John Kerry finds him an incomprehensible candidate to represent America to the 'world community' speaks volumes of the false sanctity that the left confers on the UN. They are willing to subordinate the American Constitution to the UN and its 'global test.' They are willing to accept UN leadership regardless of how flawed.
Bolton rejects such nonsense. He has said that in order to survive the UN must depend on 'US leadership.' Translated that means that future American funding will perforce equate to American influence. In the past the UN has been all too happy to accept American money while cheerfully biting hard on the feeding hand. Bolton summed up his thoughts with a succinct statement: “If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world. And that one member would be the United States.” Bolton has spoken of converting France's seat on the Security Council to an EU seat. To put it gently, Bolton is quite capable of thinking outside of the box and is confident in his moral stance. He is the hard left's worst nightmare.
Bolton is tough on dictators and high on human rights and democracy. This terrifies those who prefer appeasement and stability at the price of human rights and liberty. His repeated, blunt, decidedly undiplomatic condemnations of Kim Jong Il's repressive North Korean regime earned him the sobriquet 'human scum' from that despicable regime. Bolton chortled over the action killing US participation in the so-called International Court of Justice - a travesty designed to handcuff American military operations by submitting soldiers, officers and policy makers to review by a potentially corrupt, agenda-controlled international judiciary without status in the American Constitution - as the 'happiest day' in his public service career. “If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference,” Bolton has said, to the special chagrin of those who reside there and to the shock of those who regard it as hallowed ground.
The UN worshippers speak of “reform” of the UN but really mean absolution. They have no desire to change the basic structure system and values that have become fatally flawed in practice from the ideals enacted in a post-WWII world. They would continue to send children to a day care center run by abusers because they like the building's paint job. Bolton on the other hand approaches the UN as an institution that has little intrinsic value if it cannot perform basic functions. Bolton brings the mindset to the UN that Jack Welch brought to GE: if it doesn't perform properly then fix, sell, or close. Reform will have to be serious, substantive, and institutional under Bolton's ambassadorship or the UN will continue to spin itself into failure. It will be painful but so are all growth processes. Whether the UN reforms or collapses, it cannot continue as the dysfunctional organization it is today. America and the free people of the world will profit from John Bolton's appointment.