The U.N. Battens Down the Hatches for Hurricane Bolton

The Trump administration’s relations with the United Nations are in trouble again. U.N. officials are justifiably nervous of incoming national security adviser John Bolton. The Bush administration’s pugilistic representative in Turtle Bay in 2005 and 2006 once quipped that “it wouldn’t make a bit of difference” if 10 stories of the organization’s headquarters building disappeared. He still nurses a grudge toward the U.N., amply chronicled in multiple op-eds for The Wall Street Journal, and could easily use his newfound power to launch more attacks on it.Bolton may be too busy with Washington politics to devote much time to his old globalist nemesis in New York. Even so, tensions between the U.S. and other powers over the Iran nuclear deal and Israel are already creating deepening discord in the Security Council. The risk of a major breakdown in U.N. diplomacy, comparable to that over Iraq in 2003, is very real.Can anyone persuade the U.S. to ease off?Last week, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a canny reader of U.S. politics, tapped a veteran American diplomat to help him navigate the looming storm. He picked Rosemary DiCarlo, a deputy U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. in the Obama era, as his next undersecretary-general for Political Affairs. The job comes with a host of responsibilities, many of them thankless, from backstopping mediation in Syria to overseeing the U.N.’s vestigial discussions of decolonization. But since former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon first put an American in the post in 2007, it has also involved managing U.N. relations with Washington.Guterres will hope that DiCarlo, who left the foreign service before Trump’s election, can help him persuade the U.S. not to persecute the U.N. too harshly, without making it look like the institution is selling out to the administration completely.It won’t be easy. Fans of the U.N. like to say that the Political Affairs chief is the organization’s “foreign minister.” DiCarlo, a no-nonsense expert on the organization, will know that this is overblown. Leading a department of just a few hundred staff covering the entire gamut of global issues, the undersecretary-general lacks the resources and intelligence assets that a minister in even a middle-sized country can expect. The U.N.’s members watch their every move exceedingly closely and are quick to stamp out initiatives they dislike.

Source: The U.N. Battens Down the Hatches for Hurricane Bolton – POLITICO Magazine

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