Remember this name?
You don’t? Well, John R. Bolton is President Bush’s choice to be the United States Representative to the United Nations. Remember now?
Let me ask you: Have you heard or read anything about this man since his confirmation in August? Neither have I.
I’ve been wondering what happened to him. After all, the opponents to his appointment screeched and wailed that he was a right-wing war-monger who would run roughshod over the rest of the United Nations representatives, alienating the United States from the world community. He was described as brash, arrogant, and a man who actually spoke harshly once to a poor performing subordinate. Wow. We certainly don’t want to have someone who only treats people with kid gloves, and molly-coddles those who do not do their job. Some of the best learning experiences I’ve had were when I was corrected by a boss, or, while in the Marine Corps, by a Drill Instructor, affectionately know as a DI.
I remember as a kid in the ‘50s a school project to help raise money for the newly formed UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) project. It was important to me as a kid to be involved in helping other kids who were obviously poor and in great need of assistance. But, I have to tell you, that even though I made the school field trips (that’s what they were called) from my home in New York State to the United Nations building in New York City, over the years I have found it difficult to see what relevance the United Nations has on the world stage. Add to that, inept leadership from people whose own countries are typically in a shambles, and I find myself wondering why we are involved in this organization at all.
Please don’t think this to be arrogance on my part. It isn’t. The picture that has emerged in my understanding of the world, is of a United Nations that is without a rudder. They have no clearly defined purpose or mission.
When countries cry out for assistance, they are either ignored, as in the case of the Sudan, or they are determined to require a military presence.
That means the dreaded United States is asked to step in with our military might and gain control of an out-of-control situation.
Look, for instance, at the mess in Bosnia a few years back. This Eastern European country was involved in a civil war, each side attempting to exterminate the other. No European nation wanted to touch this mess that was taking place in their own back yard. President Clinton, when called upon, would only commit to an aerial assault, but no significant troop strength on the ground. At best it was a holding action. But it was the United States that was called by the United Nations. Ditto Kuwait in 1991. And Liberia in 2003.
Can you imagine, for example, a scenario where a European nation arrives on American shores to clean up a mess that was in our own back yard? This is why we developed the Monroe Doctrine, lo, these one hundred and eighty-two years ago. Here is the gist of the Monroe Doctrine: “Essentially, the United States was informing the powers of the Old World that the American continents were no longer open to European colonization, and that any effort to extend European political influence into the New World would be considered by the United States ‘as dangerous to our peace and safety.’ The United States would not interfere in European wars or internal affairs, and expected Europe to stay out of American affairs.” (Source: US Information on the Internet)
This is why President John F. Kennedy sent our Navy to stop Russian ships from bringing missiles into Cuba in the early ‘60s, threatening the safety and security of our nation. This was known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis.”
JFK, rightly so, was acting on the Monroe Doctrine. No nation, in other words, could come into any part of either North or South America and enforce their will on another nation - at least not without incurring the wrath of the United States. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was written and enforced at a time when many European nations were aggressively expanding their territories around the globe. The major players in this imperialism were France, England, Spain and Russia. Other nations had the will, but not the means. What this all meant was, our still young, fledgling nation, having fought off the British in the Revolutionary War, and then again in the War of 1812, was willing to take the necessary steps to prevent any European nation from flexing its muscle on the American Continents.
Many of the nations in the world would like to see a weakened American position in the United Nations leading to a repeal of the Monroe Doctrine. This would be very dangerous for the United States and all other countries in the Americas. This is one reason why our nation needs strong leadership in the White House and in the United Nations.
That John Bolton is a tough customer to deal with makes me smile. He knows his history, and will be standing up for your interests and mine in the halls of the United Nations. Those other national representatives know this, and realize that a weakened United States world position is not likely to occur any time soon.
In this instance, no news from the United Nations, is good news.
Hurrah for Mr. Bolton!