Thursday, March 10, 2005

Anne Applebaum has a Wapo opinion piece defending Mr. Bolton arguing that he may just be the man to shake up this undemocratic behemoth by being his outspoken and blunt self. I see two factors that will prevent this from being the case. First is that Mr. Bolton is a nationalist and not a globalist. His “achievements” are predominantly times when he took the initiative to disregard what the rest of the world was saying and did what was in the interest of the US. There is nothing wrong with that but it seems that building up lost credibility and restoring some dignity to the UN (especially as a more democratic body) is not necessarily in the national interest of the US. What Mr. Bolton may see as being in the interest of the US is likely to not be in the interest of the UN or member countries and it is difficult to see how this might be reconciled.

Second, I think it is crazy to think that one man can change the UN. Nobody denies that the UN needs reform but the ability to do so rests on gaining the support of member nations. It seems highly unlikely that change can be achieved by charging forward alone or by aggravating other members of the UN to the extent they became a greater hindrance than ever. Mr. Bolton has shown distinct lack of tact and charisma that would be needed to coax reluctant nations to join the US vision of UN changes. And he simply cannot make any changes without support from other countries. I personally do not see him as being the person who can drum up a coalition supporting change. Especially if some of those changes will diminish the power of some the nations whose support is requisite.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui