Bolton: U.N. official's criticism of U.S. a 'grave mistake'

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#1
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States strongly criticized the No. 2 United Nations official on Wednesday for a speech in which he accused the U.S. government of using but not defending the organization and for leaving Americans in the dark about the world body's good works.

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton called Tuesday's speech by Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown a "very, very grave mistake" that could undermine Secretary-General Kofi Annan's efforts to push through an ambitious reform agenda at the world organization.

In the speech, Malloch Brown said the United States relies on the United Nations as a diplomatic tool but doesn't defend it against criticism at home. That policy of "stealth diplomacy" is unsustainable, he said.

While praising Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessors, Malloch Brown lamented that the good works of the U.N. are ignored.

"Much of the public discourse that reaches the U.S. heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News," he said.

"The U.N.'s role is in effect a secret in Middle America even as it is highlighted in the Middle East and other parts of the world," Malloch Brown said.

U.S. officials, including Bolton, said they were especially upset that Malloch Brown, a Briton, mentioned "Middle America."

Bolton said Malloch Brown's "condescending, patronizing tone about the American people" was the worst part about the speech.

"Fundamentally and very sadly, this was a criticism of the American people, not the American government, by an international civil servant," Bolton said. "It's just illegitimate."

He demanded that Annan repudiate the rare public criticism by a U.N. official, and even suggested that the fate of the organization itself might be at stake.

"I spoke to the secretary-general this morning, I said 'I've known you since 1989 and I'm telling you this is the worst mistake by a senior U.N. official that I have seen in that entire time,"' Bolton told reporters on Wednesday.

...

"You have to engage to help make this institution a better institution," Malloch Brown told reporters. "And you need to engage, if I dare say so, with your own public opinion to explain better why the U.N. matters to American interests."

The dispute underscored the difficult relationship between the U.N. and the United States in recent years. That "unhappy marriage," as Malloch Brown called it, has been strained by sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers, fraud and corruption by officials involved in the U.N. oil-for-food program, and the Security Council's refusal to back the invasion of Iraq.

A Gallup Poll in March found that 64 percent of Americans think the United Nations is doing a poor job, but the vast majority still want the U.N. to play an important role in international affairs. The findings reflected the lowest ever U.S. opinion of the United Nations.

Malloch Brown's speech was delivered at a conference sponsored by two think tanks, the Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation. Malloch Brown called it a "sincere and constructive critique of U.S. policy toward the U.N. by a friend and admirer."

It was a rare instance of a senior U.N. official directly and openly criticizing a member state.

Malloch Brown used the speech to defend U.N. peacekeeping missions in 18 places round the globe. He criticized the United States for voting against the creation of a new Human Rights Council. It was joined by just three nations, with 170 countries voting for the body.

He acknowledged that the U.N. desperately needs an overhaul -- in the Security Council, over its budget, and even the headquarters building itself, which hasn't been renovated for decades.

But the U.S. tendency to criticize the United Nations and to take "maximalist positions," rather than seeking the middle ground, has made other nations suspicious of its intentions, Malloch Brown said.

Bolton warned that Malloch Brown's comments could undermine the very reforms that Annan wants and that the United States supports.

"Even though the target of the speech was the United States, the victim, I fear, will be the United Nations," Bolton said.
Source

While I find the comments that Brown makes to be somewhat pointed, I think that he is being disciplined for voicing a logical and realistic interpretation of the relationship of the UN and the U.S-namely that the population of the U.S is rather cold towards the UN and its policies because the administration (and then the media) does little to support the efforts of the UN, particularly in Iraq and Iran, which are places where the UN and the U.S need to cooperate. What are your thoughts?
 
#2
I think by criticizing his own country he wasn't doing the job that he was put in place to do, so it's understandable that those who put him in power would be upset. However, I think it was a very bold and important thing for him to do, because what he said was a relevent issue that has only been hushed up in the name of keeping things calm.
 
M

Mecha

Guest
#4
Bolton warned that Malloch Brown's comments could undermine the very reforms that Annan wants and that the United States supports.
If you've seen the edits he tried to push through to the UN reform, (which was why he was nominated when he was) you know the man does not have a decent bone in his body. Not only that, his actions derailed the almost complete process. And thats ignoring the well recorded (short of audio/video) of his infantile behavior...

Bolton said Malloch Brown's "condescending, patronizing tone about the American people" was the worst part about the speech.
The biggest reason against there being a god, in my eyes sometimes, is that when certain people like that say things like that.

~Mecha
 
R

Rhoades

Guest
#5
Why are we still in the UN again? Waste of tax dollars IMO. Frankly, I'm a little tired of the US dealing with such a corrupt organization (Not that the US government isn't corrupt, because it most definitely is). But the fact that these international organizations tries to deal with our internal affairs and destroy our sovereignty?(http://www.thenewamerican.com/artman/publish/article_3680.shtml) Along with UN programs such as Agenda 21(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21)That just is not right.
 
#6
Why are we still in the UN again? Waste of tax dollars IMO. Frankly, I'm a little tired of the US dealing with such a corrupt organization (Not that the US government isn't corrupt, because it most definitely is).
To start with, the US is one of the five founding nations of the UN... it's our creation. Additionally, the idea of the UN is to facilitate international peace and security, and as one of the most (if not THE most) powerful nations in the world, it is our responsibility to partake in this global effort.

But the fact that these international organizations tries to deal with our internal affairs and destroy our sovereignty?(http://www.thenewamerican.com/artman/publish/article_3680.shtml)
Here's a quote from the article you linked to:
It is against this background that we should read an article published in the Taiwan-based Taipei Times on February 21 entitled "State Sovereignty Must Be Altered in a Globalized Era."
What, the international organizations such as the Taiwan-based Taipei Times? I hardly think that's comparable to the UN.

Along with UN programs such as Agenda 21(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21)That just is not right.
Here's a quote from the wiki you linked to:
There are 40 chapters in Agenda 21, divided into four sections:
Section I: Social and Economic Dimensions
including combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, population and demographic dynamics, promoting health, promoting sustainable settlement patterns and integrating environment and development into decision-making.
Section II: Conservation and Management of Resources for Development
including atmospheric protection, combating deforestation, protecting fragile environments, conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity), and control of pollution.
Section III: Strengthening the Role of Major Groups
including the roles of children and youth, women, NGOs, local authorities, business and workers.
Section IV: Means of Implementation
including science, technology transfer, education, international institutions and mechanisms and financial mechanisms.
That sounds SO TERRIBLE doesn't it? Seriously, what's wrong with it? It's saying "let's make the world a better, cleaner, safer, and healthier place through science and education."
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#7
But the fact that these international organizations tries to deal with our internal affairs and destroy our sovereignty?(http://www.thenewamerican.com/artman/publish/article_3680.shtml) Along with UN programs such as Agenda 21(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21)That just is not right.
Agenda 21, as stated in the article you cite, is completely voluntary among member states. I find it to use the term "destroy our sovereignty" to be excessive.

A lot of the U.S's internal affairs tend to become international affairs (i.e CIA, NSA, corporate policy, environmental views), so I find the UN being involved in them to be valid.