So rather than deconstructing the Bolton side of this red herring, let's go to the UN side: the UN needs reforming. Baby, you ain't kiddin'. But guess as to why I think the UN needs reforming? Hint: it's from the influence of some"one" with a name and initials very similar to the UN... So I've called in as guest writer J circa 2002, from a Fray post in response to an old Slate article on the UN by Max Boot:
Unilateralists' Odd Logic
Date:May 9 2002 12:07PM
Mr. Boot admits much of the UN's effectiveness has been in the past hampered by US actions, and that the US is an essential linchpin.
Relatively close to these admissions, he says the UN isn't and never will be effective, and the US has to take leadership and its own initiative. This seems to be a favorite hawkish argument, but if you put this thought together with the previous one, you get a kind of Mobius strip:
If the UN is often ineffective because of us, the US, and we have to take leadership and initiative into our own hands, then why don't we, guess what, take the leadership and initiative to help increase the UN's effectiveness and advance a multilateral agenda?
Why? Because multilateralism insists on compromising our own interests for larger ones, even in somewhat flawed bargains but supremely important bargains like Kyoto and the International Court. This may sound unpalatable, but stop and think -- are our own INTERNAL policies, agreements, and regulations without flaw? C'mon, think things through here.
The only reason the UN doesn't, and "may never" work is that the world's superpower keeps dragging its feet about it. It may be unimaginable that a world body can ever be effective, but important steps are often unimaginable. (Try explaining US democracy in ancient Sumeria, see how plausible they'd've thought it. Or hey, imagine convincing the post WWI US that today's UN would work at all.) But equally unimaginable is the status quo -- only by *making* the UN effective will the US ever be able to retire as the world's intervenor.
(Editor's Note: This is from a far less revolutionary J; besides which, the "world's intervenor" bit was a more a bone thrown to the opposite side -- who feel we have a moral obligation to intervene and feel it burdensome that we only get criticized when we do so; what does it matter if we only do so for our own self-interest and usually fuck it up? "We're a superpower, it's what we do" seems to be the attitude. In any case, that past last sentence notwithstanding, J is not necessarily a big advocate of US or even UN intervention militarily in most matters (though Darfur might be a good place to do SOMETHING for flying fucks' sake) but does agree the UN is quite often hamstrung in even its peaceful and/or humanitarian goals. The reason, quite often, is the US, which has often been the only objector and has, for example, not signed international agreements committing to children's rights, women's rights, workers' rights, particularly notable in my line of work, signed but never ratified the 1976 Covenant on Cultural, Social, and Economic Rights, which includes within it the right to food and committment of governments to provides means for which their own citizens may all acquire sufficient food for a healthy and active lifestyle). Being the only country, say, using napalm, the largest country still using anti-personnel landmines, the country with the largest number of worldwide military bases, the country condemning other countries for torture while shipping prisoners there to be tortured, to say nothing of our immense prison population, execution of minors and those with developmental problems still legal in some states, capital punishment in general still being legal, and carried out ever-so-sloppily by then-Governor Bush (in the process of which he also bypassed some more international agreements), developing new nuclear bombs...
All that is to say, one of the main problems with the UN is it is dependent largely on the superpowers for it to accomplish anything, in terms of both resources necessary to do them and the votes in the Security Council and the political will to support the UN and multilateralism in general, that if the self-proclaimed world leader refuses to lead in, for example, addressing hunger, which afflicts 800 million people in the world as well as posing dangers to the health and development of an additional 1.2 billion people (i.e. 1/3rd of the world's population give or take) and views expediency as more important than obeying nuclear treaties and justifies increasing the number of times we can raze the surface of the earth and the depths to which we can do so with... well, nothing. We need to be safe, therefore, we need the power to kill you.
And why is this causing a problem with your humanitarian aims which we support less only in money than in rhetoric?... it's simple: all of you other little countries and brown people stop fucking up and allow us to dominate you so that we can slap the shit out of you if you do fuck up, why can't we all just agree to that as a matter of founding UN principle?
Bolton is almost an explicit supporter of this philosophy, saying it in not quite those words but still in no unclear terms... this is the reform we need?
Sending a small child or Ted Kaczinski into the UN as our rep would "shake things up" too -- not all blathering blustering shaking-upping bravado is GOOD for reform, you twits...)