The Magazine

The U.N. Also Rises

American power and Israeli security may never be the same

Oct 30, 2000, Vol. 6, No. 07 • By JOHN R. BOLTON
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President Clinton has tacitly encouraged reversing America's long-standing opposition to a major U.N. role in the Middle East. Why would he do so? The answer is that weakness in the president's personal position led him to reach out to whomever could "help," regardless of the larger consequences of doing so. Some ascribe this tendency to the all-consuming quest for a Clinton "legacy," and that is certainly a factor. But it is also evident that "assertive multilateralism," the original Clinton-Albright doctrine, has now emerged in the Arab-Israeli dispute. The secretary general, the Security Council, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the General Assembly, and the yet-unborn investigative commission are all now loose in the field, in every case to the detriment of American dominance. Clinton himself will not have to personally bear the consequences of his ill-considered behavior, but his successor at the White House will face terrain much less favorable to the United States and Israel.

John R. Bolton is the senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute. During the Bush administration, he was the assistant secretary of state for international organizations.