John Bolton Suggests Holding U.N. Funding Hostage To Prevent Palestinian State

June 03, 2011 5:09 pm ET — Walid Zafar

John Bolton

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton expresses his dissatisfaction with the expected vote on Palestinian statehood. Bolton, a neoconservative who has remarked in the past that, "There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States," suggests what comes quite naturally to a hawkish ideologue who wants to stop an action he doesn't agree with from happening. Bolton wants Congress step in to ensure that no vote takes places before the General Assembly and, if it does, to gut funding to those agencies of the U.N. that make the Palestinian state a reality. In other words, hold the U.N. hostage to deny self-determination to Palestinians.

Congress should legislate broadly that any U.N. action that purports to acknowledge or authorize Palestinian statehood will result in a cutoff of all U.S. contributions to the offending agency. If the General Assembly ignored this warning, all funds would be cut off to the bloated Secretariat in New York, but not to separate agencies like the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and others with their own governing bodies and funding mechanisms.

Although Bolton served a brief stint as our ambassador to the U.N., it has long been clear that he is unfamiliar with how the institution actually works. The General Assembly is nothing more than the location where countries meet to deliberate international affairs and settle interstate disputes and intrastate crises. It's not the U.N. that would grant Palestinian statehood but the respective states that comprise the General Assembly. Without their vote one way or another, nothing really happens.

Of course, in John Bolton's world, only the powerful should have a say in global affairs. But much to his dismay, the General Assembly is unique in that all countries get an equal vote. And all U.N. ambassadors vote based not on what Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or any other individual may or may not want, but on the advice of their respective foreign ministers.

If John Bolton were really serious about punishing those who support a Palestinian state, then why not tell Congress to go directly to the source? Threaten the countries (most of the Third World, in this case) into voting how Bolton did during his time at the U.N. Countries that defy the wishes of the powerful risk losing what little foreign aid they get to tackle disease, fund education and alleviate poverty.

Given the makeup of this Congress and the Republican leadership's distaste for foreign aid, that radical proposal would surely have some powerful legs to run on.