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Monday, October 19, 2009

John Bolton on Obama and Goldstone

In Monday's Wall Street Journal, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton argues that the Goldstone Report shows that the Obama administration was wrong to join the 'Human Rights Council' and that it ought to correct the mistake by withdrawing (Hat Tip: Atlas Shrugs). Of course, the odds of that happening are somewhere between slim and none.
The U.N. General Assembly created the HRC on March 15, 2006, to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission, which had spent much of its final years concentrating on Israel and the U.S. rather than the world's real human rights violators. The Bush administration voted against establishing this body and declined to join it, believing, correctly, that it would not be an improvement over its predecessor. President Barack Obama changed course, and the U.S. won election to the HRC in May. Mr. Obama argued that engagement would be more effective than shunning the HRC and attempting to delegitimize it.

The Goldstone Report thus provides a stark test of Mr. Obama's analysis. Predictably, the administration blamed the report's underlying mandate and its stridently anti-Israel tilt on America's earlier absence from the HRC when the investigation was authorized and launched. Yet the new administration's diplomacy had no discernible impact on the HRC's disgraceful resolution.


Five didn't vote at all, including Great Britain and France. Press reports indicated that London saw its inaction as a "favor" to Israel, a position simultaneously inexplicable and gutless. It is hard to know just how much real politicking the Obama administration did before this vote, but the loss of key allies is telling.

The Goldstone Report has important implications for America. In the U.N., Israel frequently serves as a surrogate target in lieu of the U.S., particularly concerning the use of military force pre-emptively or in self-defense. Accordingly, U.N. decisions on ostensibly Israel-specific issues can lay a predicate for subsequent action against, or efforts to constrain, the U.S. Mr. Goldstone's recommendation to convoke the International Criminal Court is like putting a loaded pistol to Israel's head—or, in the future, to America's.

Mr. Obama has now met the new HRC, same as the old HRC, thus producing a "teachable moment," a phrase he often uses. Quasi-religious faith in "engagement" and the U.N. has run into empirical reality. When the administration picks itself up off the ground, it should become more cognizant of that organization's moral and political limitations.
But it won't. President Obama has a quasi-religious faith in the power of multinational organizations. Withdrawing from the 'Human Rights Council,' rather than 'engaging' it to the point of absurdity (as he has done with Iran and North Korea), goes against his very nature. President Obama rejects the concept of American exceptionalism and has 'ended' the war on terror and therefore has difficulty of conceiving of a situation where the United States might find itself faced with the kind of battle Israel faced in Gaza.

And besides, he hates Israel and he hates Jews.

What could go wrong?


At 4:27 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

More to the point Obama wants to make difficult for any future President to escape the multilateral handcuffs he's slapped on America.

What could go wrong indeed

At 11:36 PM, Blogger Chris M said...

Current trends seem to suggest that the future of Israel will be that of a binational state. While this is not something most Israelis want, even many conservatives Israelis have concluded it may be inevitable.



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