The United States votes present

The comedian Robert Klein had a very funny bit mocking Swedish neutrality during the Second World War. “I can’t make up my mind,” Klein would say in a Swedish accent, acknowledging the competing claims of “you, Mr. Hitler” and “you, Mr. Churchill.” In Klein’s derisive spirit, our man at State writes to comment on the American abstention on the ceasefire resolution voted on by the United Nations Security Council. Referring to this AP story, our correspondent writes:

I have no idea whether Olmert interrupted Bush’s speech [as reported in the AP story], but from what I know of events that led up to the Security Council vote, the report is correct. Bush swooped in and told Secretary Rice to knock it off at the last minute. I agree firmly with Bolton that our abstention — rather than vetoing the resolution — is a shame and an embarrassment to the US. The Brits deserve quite a bit of opprobrium for their role in creating the resolution, but Condi could have vetoed it.

Of course, the Israelis are upset over our lack of a backbone, though I doubt they are shocked. It’s a sad punctuation mark at the end of a depressing second term with few foreign policy highlights other than the surge (which Condi opposed, by the way). Even worse, it looks like Obama wants to tap Scowcroft for some advisory role on Israeli/Palestinian issues, and Dennis Ross will be a special envoy for Iran, so I’m not hopeful that US policy will improve with Obama (read: no Change). However, at least it’ll be the Democracts doing foolish things.

Our man at State alludes to Ambassador Bolton’s terse condemnation of the American abstention on the Security Council ceasefire resolution in the column “The U.S. votes ‘present’ at the UN.”

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