Senator Coleman has been the outspoken voice (along with Senator Colburn) in the Senate on the UN reform and the dire need for change in so important a world body rife with well documented corruption, graft, abuse etc. Senator Norm Coleman has been appointed a member of the U.S.'s United Nations delegation by President Bush. A brilliant appointment I might add.
His remarks at the Hudson Institute Symposium for UN reform were sharp, incisive and ought to be the clarion call for Congress to start pulling our considerable financial weight in the UN.
Senator Coleman thought the oil for food scandal would be a mirror in the face of the UN and yet nothing has been accomplished since the conclusion of the permanent subcommittee. Despite the UN having signed on to the UN reform document.
"The original human rights was so outrageous, so egregious it seemed like low hanging fruit. Change that, reform that. That should have been easy. But the UN has tried to make this a left right issue. Blaming the United States and in the case of Malloch Brown, even FOX NEWS."
Here is the audio of the interview
Senator Coleman said;
"We need to continue push the reform agenda. It's dead in its tracks right now. The minimal reform by the Secretary General was cast aside by the G77 in a very telling vote Those 50 nations that paid close to 90% of their dues all voted to keep reform moving forward and those 50 nations that paid under 15% all voted to block reform.
We are making little or no movement on mandate review."
Keep in ind that there are over 9,000 (!) mandates.
I made the point after our investigation on oil-for-food that the Secretary General is incapable of pursuing and delivering a reform agenda. Time has proven that correct. That is the reality.
He [Kofi}was so damaged by oil-for-food and damaged by the structural infirmities of the UN there was no capacity, no ability to change the UN. History has proven that prognostication correct.
We need to be looking for the next Secretary General and have on the table one of the things we need to look at is a commitment to reform.
If another oil for food scandal were to happen again, the UN could not handle it [without change, without reform]
The world is a dangerous place. [Lebanon, Darfur, Iran, North Korea]When you have an organization that is weak and rotting on the inside it is not going to have the strength to do what has to be done .
It was interesting that before Senator Coleman opened it up to our questions he said he thought it was very important to have this conversation with bloggers
Coleman: "It was very hard in dealing with the mainstream media to get out this message of reform. Folks didn't want to hear about it. Here we've got an organization that .....21 billion dollar fraud...the numbers are overwhelming..........the bloggers can raise the level of consciousness."
"I do not want the reform agenda to die"
Thank Gd for folks like Coleman. Those billions of dollars are ours. Raise your voices people.
Anne Bayefsky asked about the financial leverage and why it was given up........will we revisit using financial leverage?
Coleman: Absolutely .........and I hope that the President raises that issues.
Ambassador Bolton has said we need to use that leverage to effect change. When we used our budget to effect change, what happens is you get a New UN human rights council that's just as bad as the one before it -- the only permanent item on their agenda is Israel --you have Cuba on it, Saudi Arabia ---
You have an infirm human rights council ........... and then you get close to June and there has been no reform, its been thrown out, and then instead of using the leverage to put in place a budget and saying you guys have to got to move forward. instead you get Malloch Brown blaming FOX news or US legislators aren't supporting the United Nations.
Any leverage there was cast aside. I think the political calculation has been made that the will doesn't exist in the Congress to use that. I think if there is continued failure of reform that will will become apparent.
Claudia Rosett noted that the last time the US tried to use financial leverage, Ted Turner gave 31 million to the UN to cover the back dues. Is it appropriate for any party to step in that way and interfere in foreign policy. Would be you condone such a thing again?
Coleman: I am not against a private fund to pay for buy-outs of some of the [deadwood] Personnel reform is a major issue. Using private funds to clear out some of those people...........
Coleman is not against public/private partnership but I can't imagine having private citizens like a mentally unstable Turner or a hate America Soros undermining our foreign policy efforts by shtuping the UN under the table -- but Coleman did not address that.
Rosett: Turner's money was to pay the Secretariat salaries staff. And should we tolerate Kofi's stonewalling on financial disclosure?
Coleman: One of the things I was hoping for reform was the kind of disclosure US Senators have, members of Congress have, and that Secretary Generals should have. It's outrageous. Financial closure. The Secretary General must disclose.......first and foremost. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
He would be in favor of a public private partnership
John, Tom and I asked about the status of the Bolton nomination...........
Coleman: The most significant thing that we could do to insure that reform happens is to confirm John Bolton, the most significant steps that we can take right now is to confirm John Bolton as Ambassador.
We have two weeks left to achieve that goal. It is my hope we will get there.
It is my hope we will get a recommendation out of committee that will get it to the floor whether its a positive recommendation or whether its moving to the floor without recommendation. It's got to be done. I am also hopeful that it will move forward without a filibuster. Not in the Democrats best interest, not in the best interest of the country.
This is beyond just the reform issue, this goes to the ability in these very difficult times in which we are worried about Iran getting a nuclear weapon, we have seen the reality of Iran interfering and supporting terrorists groups like Hezbollah who have unleashed death and destruction in the Middle East and have destabilized an already fragile region, we have Jong Il and North Korea's nuclear weapons, Darfur on and on. These are difficult times.
Without the President's chosen Ambassador.........Voinovich said he observed Bolton and he is doing a god job.
I hope enough of Dodd's colleagues tell Dodd he's wrong [about a filibuster].
I asked about the WaPo here article yesterday and the Republican officials remarks about it dead as far as the Senate is concerned,
Coleman: Don't believe everything you read in the Washington Post. [clearly]
That article was way off base. I had a conversation with the committee administrator and my colleagues at a coffee yesterday morning said that article was way off base, that was the phrase way off base.
How do you get it out of committee?
Coleman: There are two ways. In the past Chafee did vote to move it forward. To get an affirmative vote. He has concerns about foreign policy particularly US foreign policy in the Middle East. He has a different perspective. He has a different perspective on foreign policy than I do but Secretary Rice as going to answer and I think he did receive a response yesterday.
He can get out without recommendation. Thats how it went to the floor last time.
No one has mad a public statement that they are going to kill it.
Coleman wished he could address the hecklers and demonstrators that were escorted out during Bolton's hearings. He said he was sure they could not articulate a single quote from John Bolton that they'd have trouble with.
They are angry at George Bush. They angry at President 's policy on Iraq. Barbara Boxer when she was questioning Bolton spoke her entire time talking about Iraq and said this is not about you John.
The President gets to make that choice. We get to confirm based on integrity, credibility, experience, performance which we've seen.
Is there a way to get him out, yes. We are not at that point right now but we are certainly going to take a run at it next week. The article in the Washington Post is way off base.
We want to act on it before we leave September 30th.
I see a path to his confirmation and I am going to pursue it as vigorously as I can.
We need Democratic votes for a filibuster. In this we need to put partisan stuff aside. We have more thn 50 votes to confirm him. Frankly I think the Jewish community should be doing more to get Bolton confirmed. Where is UJA, JCPA, AIPAC...............these guys aren't doing anything. Bolton was responsible for getting rid of the odious "zionism is racism."
Coleman represents whats best in government. If you are interested in hearing his speech at the UN reform Symposium on September 11 th - go here and scroll down.
It seems clear to me that without Bolton there will be no UN reform, and without UN reform the goals of US foreign policy of truth, justice, freedom and the American way is nothing short of a historical footnote. The bad guys win.
We must let our lawmakers know how fed up we are as evidenced here. First and foremost we must raise our voices and get Ambassador Bolton confirmed, I am sure those fat bureaucrats at the UN are rubbng their hands in abject glee at the thought of his absence. Power without law is unacceptable, it breeds the absolute worst behavior as we have so witnessed. I ask every reader here, every person that cares, that wants to do something, to go here, Blogging for Bolton.