Jewish World Review April 8, 2005 / 28 Adar II 5765

Paul Greenberg

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Waiting for Bolton | Some of us can hardly wait for John Bolton to get to the United Nations, where he promises to be the most candid American emissary since the charming Daniel Patrick Moynihan, or maybe the astute Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Each towered over (and told off) that distinguished den of thieves, tyrants, haters, apologists for terror, and pompous nullities who can speak forever and still say nothing. At the U.N., talk comes by the yard and action by the inch.

It's about time the U.S. of A. once again sent the United Nations an ambassador with an attitude.

Who better to represent the land of the free and home of the brave at this moment than a walrus-moustached, straight-talking, undiplomatic diplomat?

Here is John Bolton's concise reply when someone suggested that the United States, in accordance with the old carrot-and-stick strategy, offer some inducement to rogue states like North Korea to behave themselves:

"I don't do carrots."

It's the kind of brief yet comprehensive comment that makes you want to stand up and cheer.

There has seldom been a more accurate appraisal of North Korea's beloved leader offered by an American diplomat than this one from Ambassador Bolton:

"While he lives like royalty in Pyongyang, he keeps hundreds of thousands of his people locked in prison camps with millions more mired in abject poverty. For many in North Korea, life is a hellish nightmare."

Mr. Bolton was immediately pilloried for his comment — not because it wasn't true, but because he dared say it out loud.

As his confirmation hearings approach, John Bolton is about to be attacked not just by the usual, totalitarian suspects but by every appeaser in the Western world. Because he tells the truth. With the bark off, as we say in these parts.

But, no, we can't have that if pretenses are to be kept up, dictators appeased and the holy aura of the U.N. preserved inviolate. Some truths must never be spoken. It would be . . . undiplomatic.

C.S. Lewis said it even before there was a United Nations. "The greatest evil," he observed in "The Screwtape Letters," is not done "in concentration and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice."

C.S. Lewis could have been describing every diplomat who ever stood quietly by while evil was done, massacres allowed to proceed unchecked, money funneled to terrorist regimes . . . .

C. S. Lewis could have been describing the U.N.'s ironically named Commission on Human Rights. Its membership roll reads in large part like a Who's Who of homicidal tyrannies.

No wonder His Excellency Felipe Perez Roque, foreign minister of Cuba, the oldest continuous gulag in the Western hemisphere, predicted that the human-rights commission will take no action against the regime he represents. He may be right. Just look at the commission's membership. It includes such stalwart defenders of human rights as Sudan, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Egypt, Swaziland, Bhutan, Communist China, and, yes, Cuba itself.

Frida Ghitis, who keeps up with these international charades, said it: This human-rights commission has all the moral authority of a crime-fighting committee headed by Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson.

The irony and pity of it all has become routine by now, like a long neglected item that's always on the U.N.'s agenda but is never addressed.

It takes a movie like "Hotel Rwanda" to awaken our conscience, even for a couple of hours. After that, it's back to the usual platitudes and politics at the U.N.

Maybe if someone someday would utter just one real word in those echoing halls, instead of making another excuse or issuing another defensive press release, light might break through at the United Nations, painful as it would be to see what was revealed.

But at this point, reality is the last thing one expects from the U.N. and its inflated bureaucracy.

For example, it just issued a long, detailed report on the genocide being conducted in Darfur without once uttering the word Genocide. The truth would be undiplomatic. To quote John Bolton's concise judgment on the 38-story U.N. building: "If it lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Mr. Bolton can't get there fast enough for some of us.

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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