More UN Bashing From Bolton

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown gave a speech on “Power and Super-Power” before the Century Foundation and Center for American Progress — Security and Peace Initiative. Much of the speech was directed at encouraging greater participation by the U.S. in both world affairs and the U.N.’s operations and reforms. But while Brown lamented the absence of U.S. participation, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, seemed to take the whole speech as an affront to America and Americans.

Brown’s central observations were concerned with U.S. officials and media that promote hostility toward the U.N.:

“…today, on a very wide number of areas, from Lebanon and Afghanistan to Syria, Iran and the Palestinian issue, the US is constructively engaged with the UN. But that is not well known or understood, in part because much of the public discourse that reaches the US heartland has been largely abandoned to its loudest detractors such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.”

We can add John Bolton to that group. Before his recess appointment (he has never been confirmed by the Senate for his post), he was quoted as saying that, “If the UN Secretariat building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” His response to Brown’s speech demonstrates that his mood has not mellowed.

“Even though the target of the speech was the United States, the victim, I fear, will be the United Nations…Even worse was the condescending and patronizing tone about the American people.”

Bolton went on to say that, should Brown’s speech not be repudiated, he fears the consequences for the organization. Bolton’s predilection for making up affronts to Americans and his fondness for throwing threats around is an affirmation of the substance of Brown’s speech. I’m not sure where we can expect to go from here when we have an ambassador who feels insulted by a colleague who is admiringly pleading for a closer, less hostile relationship with the U.S.


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