Yesterday at a conference co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation, Mark Malloch Brown — the #2 official at the U.N. — offered a constructive critique about the way the United States treats the organization:
[T]he prevailing practice of seeking to use the UN almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics is simply not sustainable. You will lose the UN one way or another.
Brown noted that rampant U.N. bashing in the United States makes even renovating their dilapidated headquarters difficult:
[T]he only government not fully supporting the project is the U.S. Too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping over too many years“”manifest in a fear by politicians to be seen to be supporting better premises for what they unjustly regard as overpaid, corrupt UN bureaucrats””makes even refurbishing a building a political hot potato.
In response, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton has lashed out at Brown. He said that if Annan didn’t immediately repudiate the remarks, the United Nations would be the “victim.” From his press release:
Well, on that speech, this is a very, very grave mistake by the Deputy Secretary General…Even though the target of the speech was the United States, the victim, I fear, will be the United Nations. And even worse was the condescending and patronizing tone about the American people. That fundamentally and very sadly, this was a criticism of the American people, not the American government, by an international civil servant it’ s just illegitimate.
…But what we think the only way at this point to mitigate the damage to the United Nations is that the Secretary General Kofi Annan, we think has to personally and publicly repudiate this speech at the earliest possible opportunity.
Looks like Bolton can dish it out, but he can’t take it.