Magazine article The American Prospect

Bolton Begins

Magazine article The American Prospect

Bolton Begins

Article excerpt

JOHN BOLTON IS IN THE building.

Just three weeks before some 170 heads of state converged on New York for the September 14-16 United Nations summit, which considered the most ambitious set of reforms in the organization's history, the new recess-appointed U.S. ambassador tossed a wrench in the works. Discarding months of diplomatic toil, Bolton submitted a modest 750 alterations to the 39-page text of proposed UN reforms, throwing the negotiations into complete disarray.

Many of these edits were merely grammatical, and some were just petty jabs at the organization, such as eliminating the word "all" from the second paragraph ("We recognize the valuable role of all the major UN conferences ..."). But some marked a significant change in the U.S. bargaining position heralded by Bolton's arrival at Turtle Bay.

Perhaps none of these was more obnoxious (and more instructive of Bolton's new influence) than the systematic removal of all 14 references to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)--and then, their subsequent reinsertion.

The MDGs grew out of a global agreement on aid and poverty eradication, known as the Millennium Declaration, that was signed at the UN's summit in September 2000. The goals that Bolton initially decided the United Nations should not acknowledge are a set of eight development targets that grew from the declaration. These include reducing by half the proportion of people who live on less than a dollar a day and reducing by two-thirds the child-mortality rate by 2015. …

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