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March 12, 2005

Comments

Where to start?

I mean do we care about what the rest of the world thinks? or do we care only to the extent that it affects our agenda for the world?

By all means, since you have the power, challenge the waning moral authority and ineffectual leadership of the UN with the waning moral authority and ineffectual leadership of the US just don't expect the result to be anything good.

"democrasunami" ?

WTF is that ?

but I wonder if it's no coincidence that The Diplomad signed off for good on February 5th and Bolton was appointed just one month later.

Oh dear god...


And yes, what absolute cheek for Kofi to lambast the erosion of civil liberties in the Whar on Terrah

It's like the terrorists have won.

"democrasunami" ?

WTF is that ?

The clinical term is premature e-jubliation

Oh, Chas. You really are ruining the site.

Bolton is on the record saying he doesn't give a flying fig about things like Darfur.

And if you listened to Adam Ereli's press conference it's clear that Annan was espousing the same position as the Bush Administration; that Hizbullah is a force in Lebanese politics nad it has to be taken into consideration. Even Michael Young knows that.

Annan is staying, and the Bush administration has already determined not to seek his ouster.

While there is no shortage of tut-tutting and worries from unnamed sources...

Most of the sources I'm familiar with are named and proud of it.

As they should be, since the UN has more often than not worked against American and global interests than with them.

Are you deliberately implying that the highest good is the direct interest of the United States?

I mean do we care about what the rest of the world thinks?

Yes, but not at the expense of what's in our best interests. I also believe that there's a lot of overlap between US and global interests, postit.

"democrasunami"? WTF is that?

The tidal wave of freedom and democracy that's been rolling since last October, starting when Afghanistan had its election, as noted here, cleek.

And yes, what absolute cheek for Kofi to lambast the erosion of civil liberties in the Whar on Terrah

Annan's problem is his knee-jerk response of blaming America first, 2shoes, no matter that 50 million have been liberated and that it launched a whole movement of countries looking toward freedom and democracy.

Oh, Chas. You really are ruining the site. Bolton is on the record saying he doesn't give a flying fig about things like Darfur.

Rubbish on the ruining business AND on Bolton's opinions of Darfur, praktike. Just because I write an opinion you don't agree with just mean the site is going down the tubes. As for Darfur, Bolton's opinions on genocide are here. Remember also that this post is about I what I think Bolton should, not what he will do. I hope he takes my counsel.

And if you listened to Adam Ereli's press conference it's clear that Annan was espousing the same position as the Bush Administration...

Condi Rice was clear about Hezbollah. She directly rebutted and refuted what the NY Times had to say.

nuh uh

..do we care about what the rest of the world thinks?

Yes, but not at the expense of what's in our best interests. I also believe that there's a lot of overlap between US and global interests, postit.

There are no global 'interests' Charles only global consencus on shared interests. The appointment of Bolton as UN ambassador is as clear and unequivical as "your with us or against us".


Annan's problem is his knee-jerk response of blaming America first

For what? I say again: For what?

For terrorism? From your own citation:

He [Annan] said the root cause of terrorism was the belief by certain groups that such tactics were effective and had the support of people in whose name they were used. "Our job is to show they are wrong," he said.

I say again: For what?

"Two of the three are deliberately confrontational. As they should be, since the UN has more often than not worked against American and global interests than with them."

If the UN works against American and global interests how come the veto-wielding members permit that? A more plausible statement would be: some or all of the governments of the USA, China, Russia, Britain and France pursue bad policies and veto good ones.

There isn't much that Kofi Annan can do about that. The permanent members have the power. The UN has always been a scapegoat picked on by those who don't want to look closer to home for real culprits.

"Are you deliberately implying that the highest good is the direct interest of the United States?"

How do you get that from: "As they should be, since the UN has more often than not worked against American and global interests than with them."

You are confusing "Poodles are dogs" with "All dogs are poodles".

How do you get that from

Er, probably with the equation of the world's interest as being the American interest.


Actually, that should be vice versa.

Sebastian - I think perhaps its the undisguised arrogance implied in the assertion that American interests and global interests are necessarily one and the same.

Or perhaps its Birds complete lack of understanding of how the UN works that could lead him to believe that the UN could ever act against global interests when there are no global 'interests' only a global concensus on shared interests as represented by the UN, therefore the UN could never be shown to be acting against its own interest since it has none.

Still with me?

So far very little about Bolton, a great deal about the UN. Given the overall situation Bolton is the right man.

Charles does not assert that US interests and world interests are an identity. He asserts "the UN has more often than not worked against American and global interests than with them."

If the sentence had said "the UN has more often than not worked against American and UK interests than with them..." that would not imply that Charles believed American and UK interests were always identical, or that US interests were always UK interests or that UK interests were always US interests.

It does suggest that on instances when US and global interests were aligned, the UN more often than not worked against them. I'm not sure that is true if you count minor issues, but on major issues I would tend to agree.

Take Dafur for instance. You can certainly argue that the US has not done enough, but what it has tried to do has been thwarted in the UN first by France, then by China and then by Russia, (and I think now by China again but I am not following it as closely as I did the first two years).

"Or perhaps its Birds complete lack of understanding of how the UN works that could lead him to believe that the UN could ever act against global interests when there are no global 'interests' only a global concensus on shared interests as represented by the UN, therefore the UN could never be shown to be acting against its own interest since it has none."

This expresses a huge category error. A lack of global consensus does not imply a lack of global interests. The idea that large administrative agencies can't have their own interests is likewise incorrect--they tend to doesn't make them non-interests.

Kevin's argument is slightly more colorable, but only slightly: "If the UN works against American and global interests how come the veto-wielding members permit that? A more plausible statement would be: some or all of the governments of the USA, China, Russia, Britain and France pursue bad policies and veto good ones."

This is of course ignores the UN permission for action angle. The UN is fundamentally a stasis oriented organization. As more and more states have used its edicts as a channel for international legitimacy, it becomes more and more difficult to do anything decisive. Dafur is once again an excellent example. Genocide has been taking place for more than two years now with no real action from the UN. The US and global interests were in taking action, France and then China and then Russia resisted. Saying that they resisted and that the UN did not is incorrect. The UN resisted because it is set up in such a way as to allow those countries to do so. Since the UN is stasis oriented, there is no shame attached to thwarting action even if doing so kills more people than action. France especially wants to thwart US leadership more than it can exercise leadership itself. See again the Sudan.

So no, I'm not with you at all.

I'm only thankful that google says Charles didn't pick up the ridiculous and tone-deaf term "democrasunami" from anywhere. For a second there I thought we'd found the new "idiotarian."

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/politics/11114594.htm>Another recruit to the administrations foreign affairs 'charm' offensive.

Chas
While I disagree with your take, I really want to thank you for putting your name, marking the crosspost and putting the stronger stuff below the fold. Maybe I'm valuing form over substance, but it really makes a huge difference imho. Having a knock down drag out over a subject like this seems to be substantially different from the previous ones. I would ask that people lighting into Charles to be a little more, well, substantive rather than pop off a bunch of rhetorical questions.

I think it is pretty fascinating to wonder who pushed for Bolton to be appointed. News reports are pretty unclear. Was it really Condi, or is she really just a figurehead here?

I'm also wondering what you think about Bolton's unequivocal stance on the ICC. Given the problems with abuse of detainees (and the WaPo, I think, had a article outlining the probability that problematic interrogation tactics and lax attitudes began in Afghanistan and were imported into Iraq. Unfortunately, the WaPo site seems to be down for maintenance) and given your agreement with the problem, I'm wondering how you can justify opposition to the ICC.

Finally, it seems that the UN certainly did a better job of monitoring potential weapons sites than the US did.

Dr. Araji's statements came just a week after a United Nations agency revealed that approximately 90 key sites in Iraq had been looted or razed after the American-led invasion. Satellite imagery analyzed by two United Nations groups - the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, or Unmovic - confirms that some of the sites identified by Dr. Araji appear to be totally or partly stripped, senior officials at those agencies said. Those officials said they could not comment on all of Dr. Araji's assertions, because the groups had been barred from Iraq since the invasion.

If the sentence had said "the UN has more often than not worked against American and UK interests than with them..." that would not imply that Charles believed American and UK interests were always identical

Yes, actually it does. Or, at the very least...."mostly identical".

Note, too, the global community is not some separate entity from the United States: America is part of it.

I'd also point out that tsunami should be analyzed as tsu-nami (harbor wave), so it should be democra-nami, unless you want to imply that it is a hugely destructive wave confined to a relatively confined location ;^)

"Yes, actually it does. Or, at the very least...."mostly identical"."

I don't see that 'does not' is going to help you to see it so feel free to interpret it however wrongly you want.

"Note, too, the global community is not some separate entity from the United States: America is part of it."

Ok, and what of it? I presume you don't mean to imply that when the US acts in its own interest it automatically acts in the interest of the global community. So what point do you want to make?

Perhaps next time he can refer to it as the airliners of democracy taking down the towers of tyranny. It would be about as tasteful and appropriate.

LJ: You must really hate "workaholic" and "telethon".

LJ: You must really hate "workaholic" and "telethon".

Now that you mention it...

I don't see that 'does not' is going to help you to see it so feel free to interpret it however wrongly you want.

Warning: Inane semantics alert ahead

"Midge more often than not worked against Betty and Veronica's interests"

vs.

"Midge more often than not worked against Betty and Humanity's interests"

Whoops, Bolton's confirmation ran into a bit of a snag

The idea that democracy is breaking out all over the Middle as a direct result of Bush's actions and policies is tiresome and silly. Arrogant, too.
Democratic ideas have been promoted within Middle Eastern societies since the mid-1800's when the Egyptians made some attempts at elections. Starting about twenty years ago a whole series of Middle Easttern countries instituted democratic reforms: Algeria, Tunesia, Yemen, for example. Some of the experiments failed, Algeria, for example , but the efforts should be acknowlegded by us, nethertheless.

Lebanon and Turkey have been democratic for sometime now. Jordan has a limited democracy within a monarchy. While none of these examples are ideal,they are all a great deal more democratic than regimes created by the US, such as the Shah in Iran.

So where do we get off claiming credit for everything, as if Middle Easterners were too benighted to manage anything for themselves?

Lily,

Thanks for listing those bastions of democracy. Don't you feel silly yourself actually citing those examples?


Sure Lily, the U.S. taking down a dictator had nothing to do with it...

I agree with prakike up above... the site has gone down the tubes, but it isn't because of Bird.

Congrats to pratike for the award from Steven Clemons. No i don't feel silly. There is a long tradition in American politics of defining countries as democratic if their government behaves as our government wishes, and defining the countries as not democratic if they act independently of us. I think you are responding withhin that tradition. I was using the term 'democratic" to mean simply that people got to vote. As I said, none of the countries are perfect, and, in some cases the democratic reforms failed. The assertion that the anti-Syrian demonstrations were inspired by our invasion of Iraq is a faith-based assertion, exclusive of any facts that could establish cause and effect.

"democrasunami"? WTF is that?

The tidal wave of freedom and democracy that's been rolling since last October...

...killing everyone it strikes.

Probably not the imagery you really want to go for, here.

"France especially wants to thwart US leadership more than it can exercise leadership itself. See again the Sudan."

How do you reconcile this with France and us acting together in Lebanon, Sebastian? (Incidentally, do you think it's helpful to speak of a shifting set of people in a regime as if they truly embodied a nation's will?)

I'd also point out that tsunami should be analyzed as tsu-nami (harbor wave), so it should be democra-nami, unless you want to imply that it is a hugely destructive wave confined to a relatively confined location ;^)

At the risk of a Karnak award in the service of punnery, I'd conjecture that Charles was trying for democra-tsumashii--Democracy on the cheap, which seems to be the Bush administration's typical method. :>

"the UN has more often than not worked against American and global interests than with them."

Simply reflects all of the under the table money being funneled under the auspices of the UN.

"How do you reconcile this with France and us acting together in Lebanon, Sebastian? (Incidentally, do you think it's helpful to speak of a shifting set of people in a regime as if they truly embodied a nation's will?)"

Because unlike in the Sudan, they think they can publically take the lead due to their previous contact in the area.

Ah, the usual cogent and reasoned analysis from Charles.

The idea that Bolton would go to bat with the UN to end the genocide in Darfur is particularly amusing.

You are confusing "Poodles are dogs" with "All dogs are poodles".

No, that's why I said "implying" rather than "stating". Chas never directly asserted the two notions -- that of American interest and that of global interest (and I'm not sure what he means by "global interest" anyway) -- were equivalent; his phrasing was, however, sufficiently ambiguous that I felt the question was warranted.

[And, I note, still unanswered.]

As for Bolton, it's an appointment in the style of James Watts or Lt Calley: we apparently have to burn the UN in order to save it. I suppose one could call giving the rest of the world the bird (pun intended, but only because I'm easily amused) "bold" if one were so inclined; me, I'm not sure what purpose it's supposed to serve beyond the mere catharsis of exercising power. I suspect it doesn't really have one, and that whatever the nominal strategic purpose of the appointment is, it will work at cross-purposes with our supposed strategic goals. Which means nothing more than business as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I made a thoughtless statement upthread. Of course there is more to democracy that just voting; there has to be a regular process for voting on meaningful choices.
Iraq isn't an outpost of demcracy because countries at least as democratic as we hope Iraq will be already exist in the Middle dEst. There are also governments that are partly democratic, like Jordan, and governments that are struggling to be democratic like Yeman. We are not teaching the Middle East anything they didn't already know.

Appointing someone like Bolton to emphasize Bush Admin's contempt for the rest of the world is just the thing to do now that the rest of the world is pulling back from the US financially and diplomatically.

I look forward to Bolton's speech to the UN when our creditors stop shedding T-notes discreetly, as they've been doing, and decide to bite the bullet and dump them altogether, as they're bound to do if they decide Bush means it when he says the SocSec trust fund doesn't exist because the IOUs in it are meaningless.

I also look forward to the next "We Must Go To War Against Nation X" presentation Bolton or Rice give at the UN. I wonder if even the most lifelong, hardened, humorless UN ambassador will be able to keep a straight face.

Remember also that this post is about I what I think Bolton should, not what he will do. I hope he takes my counsel.

Sure, and I hope Bill Gates takes my counsel to give me a billion dollars. I'll let you know how that works out; why don't you do the same?

I gather Bolton used to be undersecretary of state for arms control. Anybody got any information on his effectiveness in that role?

It might be a useful pointer as to whether Sudan, Syria and the UN Secretariat have anything much to fear.

I'm afraid I was unable to read this post without thinking of The Phantom Menace. Not that I'm suggesting John Bolton, or President Bush for that matter, is Palpatine, but nevertheless.

I call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum!

Bird advocates that we give the rest of the world the "bird" [credit to Anarch] so that we can further American interests. Appoint a jerk like Bolton and wind him up to spew his vomitous ideology on our behalf.

I know Bush fans revel in noting that under Bush, world opinion of the US has dropped to an all-time low -- squandering in unbelievable fashion the world outpouring of sympathy from 911. Somehow that serves as proof of the correctness of his ideology -- we most clearly show our strength by inducing loathing from others. I would say they have the same attitude toward domestic issues as well.

The UN post is the symbolic face of US diplomacy. Diplomacy is the art of getting along while furthering your own interests. Normally that means at least paying some attention to the interests of others.

What is advocated instead is a policy of belligerence allegedly on behalf of good (Darfur -- Syria pullout). That is guaranteed to get the normal reaction to belligerence while achieving none of the good. Of course, to the Bush man this would only further prove the decadence of the rest of the world since in resisting our belligerence, they are allegedly proving that they are against "good." The more they hate us, the more we must be doing the right thing.

All in the name of spreading freedom and democracy. Except you are not.

John Bolton asks, "How many dead Americans is it worth to you to stop the brutality?"

His answer seems to be...none.

Wow.

Here we have one recommendation that the UN is already following without Bolton and his tender ministrations, one recommendation that we stop something that (as Chuchundra notes) Bolton is on record as saying is not the sort of thing we should actually lift a finger to stop, and one recommendation that we fire the head of the UN, where the main cite given (apart from the Tacitus piece, which won't open for me) is a statement where he says that the US should not sacrifice human rights in the war on terror, a point that (if I am not mistaken) all the authors of this site agree with, but that somehow turns into 'blame America first' when Kofi Annan makes it.

I'm with Josh. I think that President Bush was a "bold" choice for President, and I hereby call on him to rescind all his tax cuts. Let's see how that pans out.

Some stuff from the Washington Post relevant to the likelihood of Bolton pushing the UN on Darfur:

"Bolton flatly opposes the use of U.N. peacekeepers in civil conflicts, because he does not deem these "threats to international peace and security." By his logic, the United Nations has no business doing peacekeeping in many places where the Bush administration has supported its deployment of forces.

Bolton has testified against U.N. involvement in Congo, an inter-state conflict that has cost 3 million lives. He blasted the United Nations' concept of operations for its Ethiopia-Eritrea operation and rejected the U.N. civil administration missions in Kosovo and East Timor. Will Bolton undergo such a conversion on the road to First Avenue that he can effectively support U.N. peace operations?

Finally, Bolton criticized any " 'right of humanitarian intervention' to justify military operations to prevent ethnic cleansing or potential genocide." One must wonder how forcefully he will work to halt what the administration deems genocide in Darfur."

liberal japonicus said I think it is pretty fascinating to wonder who pushed for Bolton to be appointed. News reports are pretty unclear.

We agree that the nomination is a giant middle finger extended at the U.N. and supporters of the U.N. Who does that remind you of? Our distinguished Vice President... whose influence is hard to overstate.

There are no global 'interests' Charles only global consencus on shared interests. The appointment of Bolton as UN ambassador is as clear and unequivical as "your with us or against us".

It is a global interest to expand human freedom and democracy, and every nation acts in its own best self-interest, as we should as well. Rubbish to Bolton's appointment as a "your with us or against us" move. Andrew Sullivan:

Whatever some European hysterics believe, it is not a sign of renewed Bush administration go-it-alone-ism. In the past couple of weeks the president has signalled a willingness to let the Europeans take the lead with Iran and in coaxing the Shi’ite Hezbollah into Lebanese politics. What more do they want? If you look at the broad composition of Bush’s second-term cabinet you see something rather close to his first-term cabinet with a subtle but important adjustment.

The first term had a blend of realists and neocons. The same with the second term — with the realists more prominent. The State Department has a more realist cast. Douglas Feith, a major neocon, is quitting the Pentagon.

The UN needs someone from Kirkpatrick-Moynihan mold.

Note, too, the global community is not some separate entity from the United States: America is part of it.

A basic question, 2shoes: Do you believe that what's good for America is also good for the planet? At the expense of sounding jingoistic, I do believe that.

The idea that Bolton would go to bat with the UN to end the genocide in Darfur is particularly amusing.

You must be thinking Bolton is some sort of free agent, Chuch. He serves the president. I'm not letting Bush off the hook here. The administration has done practically squat on Darfur for the last six months.

Bird advocates that we give the rest of the world the "bird" [credit to Anarch] so that we can further American interests.

Your assumption that pursuing American interests is implicitly bad for the rest of the world is disturbing, dm. I don't think the majority of Ukrainians or Afghanis would agree with you, or the millions of others who want to liberate and democratize their countries.

Most enjoyable C. Bird post here so far. Thanks, Charles, it's going down well with my morning coffee. You are a wonderful foil that brings out the best in some people, and I think the growing popularity of ObWi is certainly due to the stirring of the pot that resulted when you joined the crew.

I think there is a concious effort on the part of this administration to continually and pointedly illustrate to the rest of the world that the US is not at all interested in global concensus, nor gloabl interest (as global interests should surely be determined by global concensus, therefore by a forum like the UN). The administration is apparently not interested in reforming the UN to align its views to anything. They're seemingly intent on repeatedly giving the finger to the UN. Reform takes diplomacy, and this appointment is anything but diplomatic.

Eh, ca ne faire rien. We, the rest of the world, will just look to our new masters, le Français.

A basic question, 2shoes: Do you believe that what's good for America is also good for the planet? At the expense of sounding jingoistic, I do believe that.

Not only is it jingoistic (in the bad way), it's also almost childishly naive. Clearly, things that we pursue in our own best interests have made large parts of the planet worse off, unless you believe that the realpolitik goal of choosing Iraq's side in the Iran/Iraq war made life for Iranians, Iraqis or Kuwaitis better. And I don't think you believe that. Likewise, our pursuit of what was "good for America" in Latin America led to untold misery in Chile and Argentina. It doesn't make you a bad person to admit these things Charles, but it does make you look like a fool to deny them. "What's good for America is good for the world" is far from axiomatic.

Your assumption that pursuing American interests is implicitly bad for the rest of the world is disturbing, dm. I don't think the majority of Ukrainians or Afghanis would agree with you, or the millions of others who want to liberate and democratize their countries.

Oh, pshaw -- that democratization will only be good for America to the extent that the newly empowered citizens of all these nations choose governments that we like. The first time they don't, that democratization will have ceased to be a good thing from where we sit. You know it, I know it, and everyone here knows it, so who exactly are you trying to convince?

And I call a major effing Karnak on you for pretending to know what "the majority" of anyone who doesn't live in your head thinks about much of anything.

Bird - Rubbish to Bolton's appointment as a "your with us or against us" move. Andrew Sullivan: [pablum redacted]

In other words we should be gratefull we didn't get Feith?

A Moynihan I could agree with but Kirkpatrick? wasn't she the kook who wanted to shelve the 'special relationship' with our current best ally Great Britain over the Falklands fiasco?

++ungood, the French aren't going to accept you in their new world order if they notice your grammar...

Jeez, what a pile-on: I guess CB could use a bit of support about now: Sorry, but he won't get it from me: since I can see several major holes in his three suggestions for (what one presumes will be) soon-to-be Ambassador Bolton - which, in reverse order are:

1. Kofi Annan/UN internal reform
2. Darfur
3. Lebanon/Syria

1. Given that there are several problems with the UN's internal controls on corruption/nepotism/misuse of funds, etc., do you really think it wise that the new US Ambassador starts off his tenure by making "demands" on the organization to "reform", and its (freely-elected) leader to resign? Even given that the problems at issue exist and are serious, do you think any good will be served by Amb. Bolton pushing yet another "do it our way or else" ultimatum on the UN? Especially since the institution's "lost moral authority" seems to be "lost" mainly in the eyes of right-wing Americans (who have generally expressed support for the UN and its works solely when it wholeheartedly backs US initiatives). Perhaps, in this case, behind-the-scenes diplomacy might be more productive, and a cooperative, rather than confrontational approach more fruitful (i.e., Bill Clinton for UNSG next time round)?

2. As to Darfur, the main tragedy has probably already happened, and while ameliorative efforts (by the UN, or anyone else) can still certainly be of use, the only thing that (as Tacitus pointed out on his blog last summer) will actually do anything to help the Fur would be a major outside military incursion to, in effect, enforce a separation of the Darfur region from the Sudan. While I actually agree with you in this case, as to what should I wonder, given Mr. Bolton's expressed dismissal of the Darfur situation as something to get involved, what the chances of his (or anyone else's) pushing for a solution are?

3. As for Lebanon (which, despite your "democrasunami" crack, is really the only substantive move towards anything like "democracy" in the Middle East); the rush to get Syrian troops out before the elections in May is probably a doomed effort from the start. However and whenever the Syrians withdraw will be on their own timetable, and not the UN's (the sanctions bogey nothwithstanding), and will most likely be crafted so as to leave the Syrians' proxies (mainly Hezbollah) in as strong a position in Lebanon as possible. And, hot air about "terrorists" aside, Hezbollah's organization is not just going to fade away. They may, if smart, "disband", and then "reorganize" as, say, "The Republican Party of Lebanon" or something, but are highly unlikely to give up their political leverage just because some US or UN bureaurocrat says so.

However, I do agree with about one point you've made:

The UN needs someone in the Kirkpatrick-Moynihan mold

(especially the Moynihan part) - but how really likely are they to get in the person of John Bolton?

++ungood, the French aren't going to accept you in their new world order if they notice your grammar...

What did I miss?

"faire" is an infinitive (and I'd write "C'est egal" anyway but maybe that's because my German's better than my French), "le" is singular...

"Oh, pshaw -- that democratization will only be good for America to the extent that the newly empowered citizens of all these nations choose governments that we like. The first time they don't, that democratization will have ceased to be a good thing from where we sit. You know it, I know it, and everyone here knows it, so who exactly are you trying to convince?"

I for one don't know any such thing. By way of example, I don't like the elected government of France at all but I still think it is good for the world that they aren't under the heel of Hitler or some other non-democratic crazy. I find the elected government of Germany annoying, but I think it is better off for the world that they are democratic than they would have been under a totalitarian Soviet regime.

Seb, are France and Germany nations without a recent tradition of democratic government moving towards newly-liberalized, democratic governments in the wake of some U.S.-spawned "tidal wave" of democracy? Like the nations Charles is talking about (Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, etc.)? If they aren't, why did you bring them up? I mean, I'm pretty sure I used the words "newly empowered," but if you want to bring up irrelevancies, well, more power to ya, I guess.

Do you believe that what's good for America is also good for the planet? At the expense of sounding jingoistic, I do believe that.

It would be really good for America if it received free oil forever, it's enormous debts cancelled, and every other government in the world acted to promote the prosperity of Americans first. Somehow, I don't think that would be very good for "the planet".

However, let's turn it around: Is what's good for, say, France also good for the planet, Charles?

If not, why? They're a democracy too.

Re the French, I'd say "Ca ne fait rien". Which reminds me of a funny story from French class back in high school: British troops who'd been stationed in France in WWII came back to Ol' Blighty wielding the very odd phrase "San Fairy Anne" as meaning something like "You're welcome". Turned out that all the French folk, delighted at having been liberated from the Nazis, were basically just giving stuff away to their liberators and when the Englishmen tried to pay they'd be brushed off with a "Ca ne fait rien". Brits being Brits, they were constitutionally incapable of actually pronouncing another language, and so they bastardized it into "San Fairy Anne".

As to the US interests versus UN interests (or, for that matter, US interests versus global interests) I think the two tend to correlate... but only if you define American interests in a far more long-term, global dynamic than usually described, especially by so-called "realists" (who, incidentally, I find to be staggeringly unrealistic). By way of simple illustration: I think it is in the US' interest, and indeed the global interest, for there to be some kind of enforceable world order -- that is, a way of enforcing treaties or ceasefires, a mechanism for resolving international disputes without violence, enough liquid force to crack down on human rights abuses, and so forth -- but a necessary part of that order's existence is that it not be directly answerable to the American will. [We lack both the power and the inclination to be the world's hegemon, wishful thinking aside.] That in turn means that this order will necessarily make decisions that contravene our "immediate" interests, whether it be oil rights in Saudia Arabia or bombing Baghdad. This is the price we have to pay, however, for having the stable order in the first place: if we start overturning it to slake our immediate lusts, we destroy the very stability we want to keep long-term.

In that sense, I agree that US interests and global interests coincide. Where I disagree is that the US-interest-of-the-moment is the same as the actual US interest. Too intense a desire is placed on the somewhat infantile desire to always have our way, and not enough premium is paid to developing and nurturing a system wherein such infantile desires are kept in check. Until we, as Americans, become willing to cede some of our immediate power as an investment in long-term peace and stability, that world order -- whether instantiated as the UN or as an informal collections of "Coalitions of the Willing" -- will remain slipshod, tenuous, and violent.

There's an interesting analogy to be drawn here between the US' position in the world and, say, Al Sadr's position in Iraq last year, but I haven't the time to develop it with the delicacy required. And an indelicate approach... that would be bad. Very, very bad. So maybe later.

PS: The technical phrasing for what I'm espousing above is the fact that a "greedy" strategy -- i.e. one that maximizes our (national) utility at every step -- is not necessarily an optimal strategy. Far too often, we Americans fail to appreciate the distinction. I tend to think it's part of our national ADD, wherein our monomaniacal focus on the present obscures (or sometimes obliterates) our view of the past, but it could just be as simple as thinking that we can have it all when really, we can't.

double-plus ungood
Iterating hellwards
Lives out in a dark wood
Keeps a flock of fell birds

double-plus ungood
Muttering in funky French
Squints cross-eyed at Mac's "You should..."
Settles on a monkey-wrench

"Do you believe that what's good for America is also good for the planet? At the expense of sounding jingoistic, I do believe that."

And I believe that what's good for me is good for the planet. I trust your $1000 contribution to me -- for the good of the planet, and America! -- is on its way now, Charles.

Of course, it's always possible that either proposition is slightly more complicated than as put here, but let's not worry our minds with such petty and unnecessary details, please.

"Your assumption that pursuing American interests is implicitly bad for the rest of the world is disturbing, dm."

What do you think of the propositions that France pursuing French interests is good for the world, that China pursuing Chinese interests is good for the world, that Canada pursuing Canadian interests is good for the world, that Sweden pursuing Swedish interests is good for the world, or that Japan pursuing Japanese interests is good for the world? Is this a case of American exceptionalism, or a universal case for every country, or a case for all democratic countries, or what, that you are making with this assertion?

"I don't think the majority of Ukrainians or Afghanis would agree with you...."

Is it your position that it's impossible for Ukrainian and American, or Afghan and American, interests to conflict? Does this apply to all democracies, or what? What, precisely, is the rule you are asserting?

++ungood says: "The administration is apparently not interested in reforming the UN to align its views to anything."

This is another point of view, but also more an assertion than a proven fact.

Anarch, in the 01:14 PM comment, makes sense.

What's good for General Motors is good for America, and therefore good for the world.

Why not just have Bolton declare openly that the UN is valuable when, and only when, it serves as an extension of the US State Department and be done with all the roundabout nonsense? Seriously. This pretense that we believe there's anything we can learn by participating in this organization makes a mockery of the efforts good-intentioned people who work there.

Oh, I know, no one is calling for the disassembly of the UN...only the parts of it that have any teeth or could ever be useful in curbing US excesses. Let the parts that
feed the poor, fight disease, or clean up after natural disasters keep those little countries busy while we independently busy ourselves with ensuring that all the lucrative contracts available throughout the countries in the wake of the democrasumani (or whatever the ludicrous mutant term is) fall to the multinationals who donate generously during GOP fundraisers.

CB

Your assumption that pursuing American interests is implicitly bad for the rest of the world is disturbing... said ala Darth Vader, no doubt.

Well, good for you CB, in responding by simply making something up. I guess you began typing furiously after reading the first few words, and missed this part of my post: Diplomacy is the art of getting along while furthering your own interests. Get it? furthering your own interests is the goal, but you should also try to get along in doing so.

So you missed my main point that appointing the undiplomatic Bolton to a diplomatic post is basically stupid. My favorite description of Bolton? He carries a big stick but forgot about the speaking softly part.

And your other point -- that opposing Bolton means opposing democracy and freedom around the world? This has the same intellectual maturity of labeling those against the Iraq war as for the terrorists.

What is delusional is Bolton is on record saying (re Serbia) that it is not worth any American lives to fight to overcome repression overseas. Makes one think that the Bush foreign policy doctrine of spreading freedom and democracy is not backed up by much substance.

As for the Afghans, I imagine they would much prefer that in addition to elections, we do something to provide security for their nascent democracy so that their "president" is, in actuality, something more than the mayor of Kabul, and that their country is not de facto ruled by drug warlords, which so far appears to be fine with Bush and certain to kill any democracy that he is allegedly nursing.

The Bush Admin has a near-perfect record in giving top jobs to people ideologically opposed to the very existance and mission of the agencies they run. (I'd even include Rumsfeld in that category, since he's presided over the ruin of the armed forces' morale and supply infrastructure in pursuit of his crackpot theories.)

In this context, Bolton is just more of the same.

The Bush Admin has a near-perfect record in giving top jobs to people ideologically opposed to the very existance and mission of the agencies they run.

It's not just the top jobs either.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/politics/11114594.htm>Another recruit to the administrations foreign affairs 'charm' offensive.


Way late, but...

LJ--I'd also point out that tsunami should be analyzed as tsu-nami (harbor wave), so it should be democra-nami

Would that make the Bush Doctrine the 'Democranamicon'?

Klatu...

Verata...

Ni(cough, cough)!

Who is this quote talking about? It's not who you think.

"He was the kind of person who, let's put it this way, did not speak diplomatically...he did not speak in half-measures. He got right to the point."

link

I should point out that the article makes no comparison.

Klatu...

Verata...

Ni(cough, cough)!

Prone as I am to helpfully offering spelling aid: that's "klaatu barada nikto."

Gary--Prone as I am to helpfully offering spelling aid: that's "klaatu barada nikto."

Ah...that explains my little zombie problem.

Prone as I am to helpfully offering spelling aid: that's "klaatu barada nikto."

No, it's not. Be careful, lest you confuse one pop-cultural reference with another.

Bad day for using languages other than English, apparently. Excuse my fouled French above.

"Be careful, lest you confuse one pop-cultural reference with another."

I don't think Ash did know his damn words. And, besides, he had one of those cheap knock-off, Necronomicons, not an authentic one.

Gort, on the other hand, would only respond to the correct words (although if you're familiar with the original story, "Farewell To The Master," by Harry Bates, you'll know that Gort, in fact, was the boss of Klaatu). I have inherent faith in Gort, because a wise galaxy sent him, doncha know.

praktike has more of the behind the curtain stuff regarding Bolton.

lj - your praktike link doesn't work.

Sorry about that. It's here

http://www.liberalsagainstterrorism.com/drupal/?q=node/575

"The U.N. job is, in fact, Bolton's consolation prize."

Speaks volumes about the priorities of this administration that Cheney could get a crony the post as a consolation prize.

I'm happy to stay on the sidelines on this, except that Moynihan has been praised in this thread, something which made me choke. Moynihan took credit for insuring that the UN would be ineffective in doing anything about Indonesia's genocidal invasion of East Timor. But hey, he really was a passionate critic of UN hypocrisy. Probably just self-loathing at work.

To be fair to Moynihan, later in his career I think he became more sympathetic to the Timorese, but my source for this is a biography of Bishop Belo which I loaned to someone and can't check.

I'm just wondering where anyone has gotten the idea that Bolton was a crony of Cheney, which I believe speaks volumes of who ever raised the comment.

To be fair to Moynihan, to be fair to anyone who sits the seat, the individual represents the POV of the man who hired him. But Pat had great style as will Bolton, and style matters in the UN.

That perfect storm? its a gathering threat.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4346283.stm>China passes Taiwan secession law

If the republicans claim the administrations actions in Iraq have had a positive effect on the Lebanese will they also acknowledge there has been an effect on the Chinese too, and not forgeting the Iranians and North Koreans of course.

You just don't bother to read other posts or follow links do you Timmy.

"His chief ally, Vice President Dick Cheney, wanted to award him with a big post, sources say. And there weren't many left. Bolton had also failed to get the No. 3 job at Defense that was being vacated by Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith, and the post of Cheney's chief of staff and national-security adviser, currently held by Lewis (Scooter) Libby. A Bolton confidant says Cheney, adviser Karl Rove and White House chief of staff Andrew Card proposed him for the U.N. job."

Color me unsurprised!

Some analysts have said China's emphasis on "non-peaceful" means appears designed to include alternatives to military force, such as blockades or sanctions.

So the PRC's position is new, well who knew. But you are right about North Korea and Iran. Especially Iran, nothing worries the Iranian fascists more that a successful Republic of Iraq.

Gosh, I was going to respond to all sorts of things, but Timmy's last comment is so easy:

Slate: "At State, Bolton's main job was to serve as Vice President Dick Cheney's agent at Foggy Bottom, monitoring, opposing, and, to the extent possible, thwarting from within the moderating influence of Secretary Colin Powell and his crew of pin-striped diplomats."

NYT: "A top Republican foreign policy official close to the administration said that it was well understood that Mr. Bolton might alienate Europeans, but that Mr. Cheney had pushed for him for the United Nations job."

WaPo: "Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice, who passed over Bolton for deputy secretary despite strong support for him from Vice President Cheney..."

WSJ: "At a time when President Bush is trying to repair relations with allies badly strained by the Iraq war, the nomination is a further sign of the power of administration hard-liners and especially of Vice President Dick Cheney, who long has backed Mr. Bolton's career."

Newsweek: "His chief ally, Vice President Dick Cheney, wanted to award him with a big post, sources say."

I could continue, but you get the idea. The volumes spoken by postit's reference to Cheney are probably ones Timmy didn't read.

What would we do without unnamed sources postit? Now go read the definition of "crony" and then read Bolton's CV.

And Timmy: why would Bolton's CV tells us whether or not he was "a close friend especially of long standing" of Cheney's? Do you list your friendships on your CV?

hilzoy, kind of disappointed that you don't understand the definition of "crony"

Do you list your friendships on your CV

Absolutely, they are called references.

Now go read the definition of "crony" and then read Bolton's CV.

crony - a close friend especially of long standing.

My bad, I neglected to precede crony with political, for brevity's sake you understand. By the way my CV does not list my cronies, sorry close friends.

What would we do without unnamed sources postit?

Well for one thing we couldn't out CIA agents with impunity as political payback. I think this administration in particular would have a very difficult time of it without recourse to unnamed sources and unatributable comments.

By way of simple illustration: I think it is in the US' interest, and indeed the global interest, for there to be some kind of enforceable world order -- that is, a way of enforcing treaties or ceasefires, a mechanism for resolving international disputes without violence, enough liquid force to crack down on human rights abuses, and so forth -- but a necessary part of that order's existence is that it not be directly answerable to the American will.

What in the world does this have to do with the UN? When it comes to important treaties like the NPT, North Korea and Iran violate with impunity. When it comes to human rights, there is whining about Americans while nothing is done about an ongoing genocide. Genocide. Instead of resolving international disputes without violence, the UN sits back and pretends that nothing is happening. The UN has almost nothing to do with this vision of world interest that you have.

When it comes to important treaties like the NPT, North Korea and Iran violate with impunity. When it comes to human rights, there is whining about the UN while nothing is done about an ongoing genocide. Genocide. Instead of resolving international disputes without violence, the US sits back and pretends that nothing is happening. The US has almost nothing to do with this vision of world interest that you have.

Actually rilkefan your symmetric argument is just lame. The US is one of the only major powers in the UN which has tried to do almost anything about genocide in the Sudan, and it is one of the only powers that seems to take anti-proliferation measures seriously at all.

Also one of the key problems in the lame understanding of the UN is that many international disputes cannot be resolved without violence.

Feel free to try again with a real argument. Or don't.

postit, simply put who brought Bolton into government and who has he worked for. A political crony has a certain ring to it. That is, Rober Kennedy was a political crony of his brother, the President.

I did like the segue though and I'm sorry that none of the people you've worked, can be referred to as "your friends".

A political crony has a certain ring to it.

Yes it certainly does, just as I intended it to after reading this,

"His chief ally, Vice President Dick Cheney, wanted to award him with a big post, sources say. And there weren't many left. Bolton had also failed to get the No. 3 job at Defense that was being vacated by Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith, and the post of Cheney's chief of staff and national-security adviser, currently held by Lewis (Scooter) Libby. A Bolton confidant says Cheney, adviser Karl Rove and White House chief of staff Andrew Card proposed him for the U.N. job."

Some of us have a life outside work Timmy, strange perhaps even painful as that realisation may be to those who don't.


The UN has almost nothing to do with this vision of world interest that you have.

We both disagree on the extent to which that's true, and the culpability of the US in that regard. Shall we spare ourselves the agony of running through this topic again and leave it there?

The US... is one of the only powers that seems to take anti-proliferation measures seriously at all.

To forcibly drag the thread back on-topic, how's the securing of the Russian nukes going?

Sort of missed the admin's actual investment of any diplomatic/political capital or, well, anything actually useful in Sudan. Let's assume for the moment that the Europeans do squat - when do you think Bush&Co are going to take serious steps in Sudan? How long do you think it will be before those serious steps lead to a serious amelioration of the problem? At least the Clinton admin was afterwards ashamed of its horrible reaction to Rwanda.

We all know the admin has been lame on proliferation, don't we? Re Pakistan maybe there's some argument for lameness, but re Russia's nuke material? And they've been lame on WMD precursors too. Why am I reading in the NYT evidence from the excluded-from-Iraq UN inspectors about how badly we neglected Iraq's machine-tools weapons caches? Well, the recent outreach to Iran in concert with the Europeans was at least something.

Feel free to try again with a reality-based argument. Or don't.

Sebastion - Also one of the key problems in the lame understanding of the UN is that many international disputes cannot be resolved without violence.

Oh I don't know, world poverty, disease, population control, there's a whole host of things the UN can do for the good of the planet without resorting to violence.

http://catholicexchange.com/vm/PFarticle.asp?vm_id=26&art_id=27744&sec_id=53170>Of course we don't need any more of this crap.

I would agree tho, in what you infer, that if violence is needed then the UN from past experience is not the preferred vehicle.

And by way of piling on.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/03/13/ING8CBNC1N1.DTL>Another negative for Bolton

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