“Have you no shame, Mr. Bolton. At long last, have you no shame?”
I’m borrowing Joseph Welch’s famous words to Senator Joseph McCarthy which initiated his eventual downfall. But this time the shame is directed at that contemporaneous bully and sleaze-bucket, John Bolton, who had the sheer audacity to prevent the Security Council from hearing Juan Mendez, Kofi Annan’s special representative for genocide, give an update on Sudan’s latest outrages against the residents of Darfur (see Yahoo! story). It seems that Bolton squelched the talk (at least according to him) not because he’s opposed to taking action against Sudan (on the contrary!), but because he’s tired of talk and wants action:
Bolton said he had objected to the briefing to make the point the council should be “talking more about the steps it can take to do something about the deteriorating security situation” in Darfur. He gave no new proposals.
“How many officials from the secretariat does it take to give a briefing?” he said, noting the council had just concluded a briefing on Darfur from Hedi Annabi, the assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations.
But isn’t it interesting that his allies in this effort to derail Mendez’s report to the Council were none other than Algeria, China, and Russia, all of whom for some God-only-knows reason are opposed to strong action against Sudan?
Council diplomats who wanted to hear from Mendez said it was a council tradition to give the envoy a platform when Annan called for a briefing from his adviser on genocide.
They noted Bolton had lined up with the three council members — Algeria, China and Russia — which have watered down action against Khartoum.
“He’s playing into the hands of people who don’t want to do anything,” said one council diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to irritate Washington.
The NY Times story raises another tantalizing possibility that may explain part of what lies behind Bolton’s thinking (if there can be any said to going on here):
Mr. Mendez later briefed reporters, saying Sudanese officials were taking only cosmetic steps to prevent systematic human rights abuses there. He accused the Sudanese government of refusing to cooperate with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a tribunal strongly opposed by the Bush administration…
I bet Bolton knew that Mendez planned to talk before the Council about Sudan’s refusal to cooperate with the ICC and the big guy wanted to deny the ICC the legitimacy of being discussed before the world body.
When the UN and world community finally does get off its ass and do something about Darfur there will be genocide charges against Sudanese government officials. Guess who would hear these charges? The ICC. Is it possible the U.S. might not want the UN to take action in order to prevent the Court from gaining legitimacy through meting out justice in the Darfur genocide? We want justice for Darfur, but without the involvement of the hated ICC. Seems ridiculous, outlandish, even far-fetched, you say? Is it any more far-fetched than Bolton’s own appointment to represent in U.S. in a body (the UN) he detests?
Condi’s assured all of us during Bolton’s failed effort to win legitimate Senate confirmation (as opposed to his illegitimate recess appointment) that there’d be nothing to fear from this bull in a china shop (see cartoon) because she’d be calling the shots for him. So is this really the message Condi wants to convey to the UN and the rest of the world? That the U.S. gags UN representatives who want to prevent genocide? My, that’s a lovely message to send to the world when your government’s trying to convince said world that it supports liberty and democracy everywhere.