An ambassador in full (in London)

Ambassador Bolton pursued the issues raised by U.N. Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown in a speech in London yesterday:

Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies in London, Mr Bolton assailed Mark Malloch Brown, the British Deputy UN Secretary-General, for the disparaging remarks he made about the American public this week. “Mark Malloch Brown has a sentence in his speech where he says the role of the UN is a mystery in Middle America,” he said.

“Maybe it is fashionable in some circles to look down on Middle America, to say they don’t get the complexities of the world and they don’t have the benefit of continental education and they are deficient in so many ways,” Mr Bolton added. “It is illegitimate for an international civil servant to criticise what he thinks are the inadequacies of citizens of a member government.”

The tough-talking US envoy reiterated that the dispute could harm important reforms to the international body. He also hinted that the US Congress, which controls American government spending, might reconsider US funding to the UN, which accounts for 22 per cent of the organisation’s annual budget. “Congress has the power of the purse and they feel quite strongly on a bipartisan basis that America has a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent, even people from Middle America,” he said, with a note of sarcasm. “I don’t think we have seen the end of it.”

Kofi Annan, on the other hand, apparently thinks he has seen the end of it:

Before Mr Bolton arrived in London, Kofi Annan, the UN chief, tried to play down the controversy. “I think the message that was intended is that the US needs the UN, and the UN needs the US, and we need to support each other,” Mr Annan said. “I think the speech by my deputy should be read in the right spirit and let’s put it behind us and move on.”

When Ambassador Bolton moved on to London from New York, he didn’t put it behind him. I trust it won’t be behind him when he returns from London to New York.

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