I had something else posted here, but just read this essay from Phyllis Bennis and had to make reference to it here. A good portion can be found below. The entire essay can be found at:
Important reading, I think. -Dan
When John Bolton, Bush's hotly contested but newly appointed ambassador to the United Nations announced the U.S. proposed response, it was easy to assume this was just John Bolton running amok. After all, Bolton, a longtime U.N.-basher, has said: "There is no United Nations." He has written in The Wall Street Journal that the United States has no legal obligation to abide by international treaties, even when they are signed and ratified. So it was no surprise when Bolton showed up three weeks before the summit, demanding a package of 450 changes in the document that had been painstakingly negotiated for almost a year.
But, in fact, this isn't about Bolton. This Bush administration’s position was vetted and approved in what the U.S. Mission to the U.N. bragged was a "thorough interagency process"—meaning the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and many more agencies all signed off. This is a clear statement of official U.S. policy—not the wish- ist of some marginalized extremist faction of neocon ideologues who will soon be reined in by the realists in charge. This time the extremist faction is in charge.
The U.S. proposal package is designed to force the world to accept as its own the U.S. strategy of abandoning impoverished nations and peoples, rejecting international law, privileging ruthless market forces over any attempted regulation, sidelining the role of international institutions except for the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, and weakening, perhaps fatally, the United Nations itself.
It begins by systematically deleting every one of the 35 specific references to the Millennium Development Goals. Every reference to concrete obligations for implementation of commitments is deleted. Setting a target figure of just 0.7 percent of GNP for wealthy countries to spend on aid? Deleted. Increasing aid for agriculture and trade opportunities in poor countries? Deleted. Helping the poorest countries, especially those in Africa, to deal with the impact of climate change? Deleted.
The proposal puts at great risk treaties to which the United States is already a party, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The U.N. Summit draft referred to the NPT's "three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy." That means that states without nukes would agree never to build or obtain them, but in return they would be guaranteed the right to produce nuclear energy for peaceful use. In return recognized nuclear weapons states—the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia—would commit, in Article VI of the NPT, to move toward "nuclear disarmament with the objective of eliminating all such weapons." The proposed U.S. changes deleted all references to the three pillars and to Article VI.
The U.S. deleted the statement that: "The use of force should be considered as an instrument of last resort." That’s also not surprising given the Bush administration's “invade first, choose your justifications later” mode of crisis resolution...
The Bush administration has given the United Nations what it believes to be a stark choice: adopt the U.S. changes and acquiesce to becoming an adjunct of Washington and a tool of empire, or reject the changes and be consigned to insignificance...
I wonder if our anti-UN friends will see fit to comment on the topic. I welcome all thoughts, but you should know that I find this unilateralism by the Bush White House disturbing to say the least.