Bolton Outlines U.S. Goals for Reform
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton was praised
by supporters as someone who could give a much-needed jolt to
the international body and touted by President Bush as being able
to "provide clear American leadership for reform."
Bolton has said his mission to U.N. headquarters in New York
would be to serve as the voice of President Bush, adding on the
day of his appointment that the president has made his "directions
on U.S. policy at the United Nations clear and I am prepared to
work tirelessly to carry out [his] agenda and initiatives."
The official U.S. goals concerning reform of the United Nations
have begun to emerge, and not only are many of them up for consideration
but they appear to be well on their way to being adopted by the
"Aides to Bush have outlined six major objectives, and the
administration has won support for all of them from Secretary-General
Kofi Annan and from other countries," the New York Times
reported on Aug. 2, 2005 about Bolton's appointment.
The Times listed the goals:
--Overhaul U.N. management and oversight intended in part to
reduce the likelihood of another oil-for-food scandal
--Create an elected Human Rights Council that could only include
countries with positive human rights records to replace the broader
Commission on Human Rights, which has allowed countries such as
Libya and Sudan to sit in judgment of others
--Create a peace-building commission to help countries emerging
--Set up a democracy fund
--Outline a treaty opposing terrorism
--Lay out policies alleviating poverty
Although many of the details are still being ironed out, Bolton
has already begun the critical role of fighting for the administration's
interests before leaders sign a final reform document at September's
month before the General Assembly was set to approve a 39-page
action plan that outlined the U.N. reforms, Bolton sent a heavily
edited version of the document back to the United Nations for
discussion. The revision left few paragraphs untouched.
And while delegations of several member states cried foul at
the late edits, arguing the reform effort had been left in tatters,
the changes provided additional insight into the tone the administration
wants to take as the United Nations tackles reforming itself.
Here are some of the details:
--Bolton, in his edits of the plan, deleted all reference to
supporting expansion of the Security Council, which Annan initially
introduced as the centerpiece of his reform effort when he released
his proposals in March 2005.
Instead, Bolton added language supporting reforms to the council
to "make it more efficient, transparent and effective."
Several countries, particularly Japan, Brazil, India and Germany,
have been urging for admission as permanent members. The United
States has expressed concern about such an expansion, publicly
supporting only Japan's admission. There are only five permanent
members of the council -- the United States, Britain, China, France
--The edits removed nearly all references to the Millennium Development
Goals adopted by all nations in 2000, including any mention of
the goal to have every country commit at least 0.7 percent of
its gross national product to development assistance by 2015.
--Many of Bolton's changes emphasized support for nurturing business
development in emerging democracies and lesser developed countries.
--Bolton's amendments eliminated calls for more action to address
climate change in part through the adherence to the Kyoto Protocol,
the international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases. President
Bush declined to sign the treaty, saying it would put U.S. businesses
at a disadvantage to other countries that haven't signed onto
--The changes eliminated calls for nuclear disarmament by nuclear
Just weeks before the September 2005 summit, a group of 30 countries,
including the United States, was selected to work out compromises
on the major differences in the draft action plan.
"Our hope is to have a strong consensus document for the
high-level event," Bolton said after submitting his edits,
according to the Associated Press. "We're working on that
and we're making our views known as are other governments."
There is no indication yet that a compromise on the action plan
will be reached ahead of the summit.