John Bolton: living down to expectations at the UN.
John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has voiced firm opposition to U.N. reorganization measures that the Bush administration fears would inhibit U.S. authority to use force and place new legal obligations on countries to intervene where genocide, ethnic cleansing or war crimes were being committed.
He also urged the deletion of language calling on nations to prevent “incitement” of mass atrocities, saying it runs counter to the U.S. First Amendment protections of speech.
Bolton also pressed for changes in the U.N. document that would ensure that U.S. or Israeli forces would not be exposed to terrorism charges if they killed or injured civilians during military operations. Bolton wrote that the “scope” of the terrorism provision should be limited to “terrorist actions,” not “military activities that are appropriately governed by international humanitarian law.” Arab governments have insisted for years that the Israeli army has engaged in “state terrorism” against Palestinian civilians.
Bolton urged the U.N. members to deliver a strong statement condemning terrorism but to defer any discussion on a definition of terrorism to the General Assembly, which is negotiating a convention on terrorism. The United States argues that the convention should exclude any acts by armed forces during a conflict.
Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University economist advising Annan on the world summit, on Wednesday charged that the United States was engaging in a last-minute campaign to “gut” the summit document “with arguments that change by the day.”