Thursday, January 15, 2009

Surrender Is Not an Option

A book review from The Movie Snob

Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad, by John Bolton (2007). You may remember John Bolton as Bush 43's nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, whose nomination came undone when Senator Voinovich from Ohio decided Bolton was too mean to be our ambassador. W. gave him a recess appointment anyway, and he served from August 2005 until December 2006. In this rather thick book, he talks about his days at the UN, as well as some of his work in the State Department before then. He is highly critical of both the UN and the State Department, and folks who are already UN skeptics will find plenty of fuel for their fires here. According to Bolton, the UN is a tremendously dysfunctional institution, is shot through with financial corruption, and is wholly incapable of making any difference in a crisis because the Security Council's members have fundamentally opposing interests on many basic issues. The State Department is hardly any better, being clogged with careerists who suffer from "clientitis"--believing that their job is to represent other countries to the U.S. instead of vice versa. Bolton, shockingly, argues that U.S. personnel at the UN and State alike should adopt the mindset that their job is to be advocates for the U.S. He is far from complimentary about the administration's policy, or lack of a firm policy, towards North Korea and Iran. (I was surprised to learn that he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his role in exposing Iran's nuclear program.) Anyway, this is a long book, full of acronyms and diplomatic jargon, but I still found it pretty interesting. And I'm all for his last prescription--make every country's financial contribution to the UN voluntary, and condition Americas's contributions on demonstrated results.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter