Friday, July 28, 2006

A public advocate for the United States

Alan Dershowitz wrote in The Washington Times As a liberal Democrat, I listened carefully to the opposition voiced by many Democratic senators to the nomination of John Bolton as our chief representative to the United Nations. Mr. Bolton has been representing us at the United Nations since August. During the current Middle East crisis, I have been able to listen for myself to what Mr. Bolton has been saying at the United Nations. On the basis of his performance, I have become a Bolton supporter. He speaks with moral clarity. He is extremely well prepared. He is extraordinarily articulate. He places the best face on American policy, particularly in the Middle East during this crucial time....

I rarely agree with Alan, but I do this time.
Were he not to be confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at this crucial juncture it would send a powerful message to the international community that Senate Democrats do not stand behind our policy in the Middle East. It would be seen as undercutting American policy toward Israel. Even if that were a misunderstanding, it would have a devastating impact on the world's perception of America's solidarity with Israel....

What remains of last year's nomination battle, though, is what I suspect to be the real reason that some Democrats oppose the Bolton nomination. That is, they felt uncomfortable with Mr. Bolton's oft-expressed and blunt skepticism over the United Nations' legal and moral authority. Mr. Bolton can even, at times, come off as "contemptuous of the U.N.," in Sen. Barbara Boxer's words. But Mr. Bolton is right to be skeptical, and all the great U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations — from Adlai Stevenson to Arthur Goldberg to Pat Moynihan to Jeane Kirkpatrick — have shared that skepticism. Mr. Bolton is absolutely justified in pushing for reform of the notoriously corrupt and inefficient bureaucratic structure in Turtle Bay. As he once said, "If member countries want the United Nations to be respected ... they should begin by making sure it is worthy of respect." Most importantly, Mr. Bolton understands that his job is to represent the United States and our interests to the world, and not the other way around.
You are absolutely correct.

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