John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has voiced firm opposition to U.N. reorganization measures that the Bush administration fears would inhibit U.S. authority to use force and place new legal obligations on states to intervene in countries where genocide, ethnic cleansing or war crimes were being committed, the Washington Post reports on Thursday page ones, RAW STORY has learned. Excerpts follow.
Bolton outlined his positions in a series of letters to U.N. delegates participating in negotiations to draft a 39-page statement to be read by world leaders at a summit on development and U.N. reform that begins Sept. 14. The six letters, intended to clarify proposed U.S. amendments to the draft, constitute the most detailed public picture of Bolton's thinking on a range of issues since he became ambassador, including on the fight against poverty and terrorism, the promotion of human rights and the streamlining of the U.N. bureaucracy.
Together, the letters reflect Bolton's long-held opposition to international agreements that he considers incursions on U.S. sovereignty, and provide a glimpse at how he is working to influence a lengthy internal negotiating process that has been dominated by foreign policy professionals in the State Department.
Bolton argued that the U.N. Security Council already has sufficient legal authority to send foreign troops to halt atrocities in places such as the Sudanese region of Darfur. He insisted that the U.N. charter "has never been interpreted as creating a legal obligation for Security Council members to support enforcement action." He also urged the deletion of language calling on states to prevent "incitement" of mass atrocities, saying it runs counter to First Amendment protections of speech.
Bolton wrote that the United States "stands ready" to intervene in select cases where governments fail to halt mass killings on their soil. But he said that world leaders should not "foreclose" the military option by the United States and other governments "absent authorization by the Security Council."