With a UN Security Council resolution passed authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya, and the use of “any means necessary to protect civilians”, NATO powers are getting ready to enforce the terms of the resolution. The conflict in Libya is about to enter a new phase.
In case you missed it, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was on This Week with George Stephanopolous yesterday, talking about — what else? — North Korea’s missile launch. Full transcript of the interview here.
When the United States abstained at the last minute on last week’s Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, many were surprised, since Washington had made its support for the resolution clear. John Bolton was surprised, too, but in the other direction: if he had been there, the U.S. would have swung the pendulum all the way to a veto.
What’s interesting about Bolton’s stance is not so much the reasoning behind his unthinking opposition to this particular resolution — which he declines to provide in his Wall Street Journal op-ed today, instead simply labeling the measure “anti-Israel” as a matter of course — but the worldview that shapes his convictions. In chastising the United States for not thumping its veto loudly upon the table, Bolton does not seem the least concerned that the resolution passed; what really irks him is what he sees as the United States’ “weakness.” In his black-and-white conception of Security Council dynamics, there are only two positions: strength and cowardice.
But abstaining comes with its own costs. A permanent member’s abstention invariably reflects that it failed to achieve its objectives. It also signals timidity.
Included are some ruminations about other countries’ foreign policies that London, Paris, Moscow, and Beijing might be surprised to learn.
Britain and France avoid vetoes for fear that if they are seen to be too hard-edged, they will be harried off of the Security Council and replaced by one European Union seat. Russia and China are motivated by other pressures. Russia is cautious because its influence is waning. China’s influence is increasing, but it feels the need to tread lightly.
Nowhere does Bolton give any indication that countries might vote for a resolution because they support it, or vote against it because they oppose it. Everything is part of a hard-nosed political game, one with no room for compromise (or “surrender,” as revealingly Bolton terms it in his book). The idea of abstaining from a vote out of a sense of not wanting to derail an entire peace process, then, finds no room in Bolton’s schema. For what is peace in Gaza when there are important objectives like flaunting American power to accomplish?
“The United Nations Foundation welcomes the international effort to reaffirm the tragedy of the Holocaust. Neither the horror of the Holocaust nor the shining example set for international cooperation in response to it should ever be forgotten.”
BBC News: “North Korea says it will not consider halting its nuclear program unless UN sanctions imposed after it tested a nuclear device in October are lifted.
The condition was part of the North’s tough opening statement as six-nation talks on the issue resumed in Beijing after a one-year suspension.”
CNN: “Blaming the United States for instigating U.N. Security Council sanctions against it, North Korea on Tuesday called the resolution approved over the weekend a “declaration of war.”
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency that the country wants “peace but is not afraid of war.”
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.