Zalmay Khalilzad is now officially the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The transition from John Bolton is complete – and the many people around the country who worked long and hard to oppose him should give themselves a pat on the back today.
Though many will argue that their signatures on the Project for a New American Century declaration suggest that Bolton and Khalilzad are cut from the same cloth, their service in the Bush administration tells a different story.
Plus, in his confirmation hearing last month, Khalilzad said some very un-Bolton-like things. He stated clearly that the U.S. should pay its dues to the U.N. in full and on time, he noted that the U.N. is “the most successful collective security body in history,” and he said quite clearly that his success will be determined by his ability to listen to the views of others.
Dumisani Kumalo, the South African Ambassador to the U.N., made his views on the transition extremely clear:
When asked about Khalilzad as he headed into a Security Council meeting Monday, South Africa’s U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said with a smile, “He can’t be as bad as Bolton.”
Afterward, the South African envoy said he was just joking with friends, “but that is true anyway.”
No one should expect a full-scale change in policy – after all, as we are constantly reminded these days, elections have consequences. Still, Khalilzad’s arrival bodes well for U.S. foreign policy at the U.N. And I think (and hope) that he’ll be able to advance some shared priorities, too.