Wednesday, September 21, 2005

In Case You Missed It:
John Bolton Edition

The British Medical Journal had published an item that is not really news, but is worth mentioning.  
Goals to reduce poverty and infant mortality will be missed
Owen Dyer

Published on the eve of the United Nations summit in New York this week, the UN's 2005 Human Development Report finds that progress on human development, public health, and education is slowing or stagnating in many parts of the world.

The report predicts that the UN's millennium development goals?a commitment made by 189 nations to reduce infant mortality and extreme poverty and to improve maternal health, primary education, and sex equality?are in many cases further from realisation today than they were in 1990. [...]

India and China are singled out as two countries with booming economies that have failed to produce commensurate improvements in social development. Progress on child mortality in these countries has slowed even as the economy has gathered steam, the UN says. Yet their vastly poorer neighbours, Vietnam and Bangladesh, have made great strides over the same period, proving the value of government intervention. [...]
What is interesting about this?  The performance of our new ambassador to the UN: John Bolton.  Mr. Bolton was appointed over the objection of many US Senators.  The Administration insisted he was just the right man for the job.  So how is he doing so far?

Last month John Bolton, the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, called into question the very existence of the millennium development goals, when he presented a long list of objections to a draft document that is due to be presented at this week's UN summit.

Mr Bolton denied that the US had ever signed up to the goals, although President Bush has endorsed both the 2000 millennium declaration, which included the goals, and the Monterrey consensus, an agreement that urged wealthy countries to "make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7% of gross national product" in foreign assistance.

Mr Bolton eventually accepted the reference to the goals in the summit document, but as the BMJ went to press he was still rejecting the annex setting the 0.7% aid target, and prospects for agreement looked far from certain.
The guy doesn't know what he is doing.