Most observers of U.S. foreign policy--and particularly of UN affairs--are well aware of John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and know where he is "coming from" in commentary on the United Nations. Consequently, his speech at Hillsdale College holds no surprises. Bolton does again what he has done repeatedly--elucidate an articulate scourging of the United Nations' membership and its political process.
U.S. support for the UN has waxed and waned over its 60-year history; the Bush Administration's views--for good reasons--are almost entirely negative. Bolton depicts the UN as existentially hostile not just to U.S. foreign policy objectives, but to U.S. domestic policies and constitutional principles. Thus, according to the UN, the U.S. should accept international "norming" and act only in concert with such consensus in every activity from international military action to eliminating capital punishment and private ownership of firearms.
Bolton argues that the UN's implicit objective is to cut the U.S. down to size so that we hitch our ox to the plow of UN objectives. In fact, the UN has failed miserably in virtually every recent venture, from attempting to alleviate misery/massacre in Darfur to stopping nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. Instead, its primary achievement is to pass ritualistic condemnations of Israel--essentially for continuing to exist.
Bolton also explores the aftermath of the oil-for-food scandal in which corruption in the purchase and...