Questions for Zal

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I’ll be watching closely on Thursday morning as Zalmay Khalilzad runs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee gauntlet.
Acting Perm. Rep. Alex Wolff has been doing, by all accounts, a fantastic job at the U.S. Mission in New York on multiple fronts: winning support of other countries, working with the Secretariat, and controlling the John Bolton appointees within his ranks. It’s not easy work.
But with all due respect to Alex Wolff, we need a confirmed Ambassador that all countries know has the ear of the President and the confidence of the Senate. I’m sure Wolff knows that as well as I do.
Khalilzad is known as a world class schmoozer, a real diplomat’s diplomat, but that doesn’t give us an idea of what kind of Ambassador he’ll be. Much will depend on how he’s been prepped, and the confirmation hearings will give us a sense of what’s to come from a Khalilzad-run Mission.
It will also give us a sense of how the Bolton battle has affected the political landscape on U.S.-U.N. relations. Two years ago, hard-line unilateralists were foaming at the mouth for an opportunity to slam the U.N., while proponents of a strong U.S.-U.N. relationship were reluctantly prepared to make their case. I think the tables have turned. When we see which senators show up to question Khalilzad and the tone each senator strikes, we’ll have a better idea.
Here’s what I’d ask the Ambassador-designate – and what I’d like to hear from senators who want a strong and effective U.N.:


1. Do you believe the U.S. should pay its contributions on time and in full? What are some of the consequences of making late or incomplete payments?
2. The Government Accountability Office and the RAND Corporation, in independent studies, show that U.N. peacekeeping missions are more efficient and far more effective than any other peacekeeping force in the world, saving the U.S. a great deal in money, lives, and international standing. The U.S. currently imposes a cap on our contributions to U.N. peacekeeping. Do you believe this cap will affect your ability to support peacekeeping missions in the Security Council?
3. Former Ambassador John Bolton has been actively agitating for a change in the way the U.N. regular budget is funded. Thje consequences of moving towards the kind of cut ‘n gut funding he proposes – paying what we feel like paying – will force the U.N. to cater to the needs of countries that can pay more. That would not only undermine the spirit of the Charter, it would virtually assure that important global problems will stay off the U.N.’s radar screen, and that member states whose needs go unaddressed would be uncooperative on key issues for the United States. Plus, the U.N. would lack a consistent funding stream and would be unable to build long-term budgets. Former Ambassador Bolton set up a “study group” in the State Department to consider these types of funding shifts. Is this group still active? If so, do you plan to keep it active? What is your view of this plan?
4. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon recently began a policy of “opening the 38th floor” to applicants throughout the U.N. system. He also discontinued the so-called “reversion policy” that allows high-level appointees to return to their old jobs once their appointments expire. Do you believe these are meaningful reforms? How would you characterize the progress of U.N. reform over the past few years? What are your priorities for U.N. reform?
5. Regrettably, the Bush administration recently indicated that the U.S. will not run for a seat on the Human Rights Council. There is still much that the U.S. can do to make the Council work. As you know, the performance of the Council in its first year has been very disappointing. A number of countries with poor human rights records and General Assembly voting records are running for seats on the Council. Will the U.S. be active in Human Rights Council elections as a non-candidate, campaigning for countries that will work constructively to support human rights? How will the U.S. engage in these elections? Would the presence of a high-level envoy to the Human Rights Council in Geneva strengthen our ability to influence the Council?
Just a few thoughts. Looking forward to yours.
— Scott Paul

Comments

17 comments on “Questions for Zal

  1. erichwwk says:

    Scott:
    Why no questions on the Middle East and Afghanistan, and more specifically on property rights to the undeveloped Iraqi oil fields?
    see eg NYT oped: http://tinyurl.com/23yq7h
    More questions for Khalilzad:
    What do you know about operation of US militia (covert ops) in the Middle east?
    What do you know about an Iran-contra redux?
    How early where you involved in the plan to use Saudi monies to fund middle east mujaheddin to oppose the Russians in Afghanistan? What did you think of the unintended consequences of that plan? What have you learned?
    What do you know about the unaccounted cash in Iraq? What do you know about covert actions in Syria and Iran? Any knowledge of US or Saudi funding of covert action in either state?
    see eg http://tinyurl.com/2yp27j
    I am a bit bewildered about emphasizing his ‘schmoozing’ and contact qualities as opposed to his reputation for ‘force first’, his close role in so many failed policies over the years emanating from the Wohlstetter school, and his role in acquiring foreign oil for US corporations. As another New American foundation member has stated “If he was in private business rather than government, he would have been sacked long ago.”
    Posted by erichwwk at March 15, 2007 01:21 PM
    Let’s add:
    http://electroniciraq.net/news/2951.shtml
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n21/harr04_.html

    Reply

  2. erichwwk says:

    Scott:
    Why no questions on the Middle East and Afghanistan, and more specifically on property rights to the undeveloped Iraqi oil fields?
    see eg NYT oped: http://tinyurl.com/23yq7h
    More questions for Khalilzad:
    What do you know about operation of US militia (covert ops) in the Middle east?
    What do you know about an Iran-contra redux?
    How early where you involved in the plan to use Saudi monies to fund middle east mujaheddin to oppose the Russians in Afghanistan? What did you think of the unintended consequences of that plan? What have you learned?
    What do you know about the unaccounted cash in Iraq? What do you know about covert actions in Syria and Iran? Any knowledge of US or Saudi funding of covert action in either state?
    see eg http://tinyurl.com/2yp27j
    I am a bit bewildered about emphasizing his ‘schmoozing’ and contact qualities as opposed to his reputation for ‘force first’, his close role in so many failed policies over the years emanating from the Wohlstetter school, and his role in acquiring foreign oil for US corporations. As another New American foundation member has stated “If he was in private business rather than government, he would have been sacked long ago.”

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  3. erichwwk says:

    “We will not enter Iraq as conquerors,” he added, but as “liberators.”
    His many critics point out, however, that Khalilzad has been wrong as often as he has been right-going back to the days when he advocated arming the same Afghani groups that later spawned the Taliban. “If he was in private business rather than government,” said Anatol Lieven, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for Peace in Washington, “he would have been sacked long ago.”

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  4. Ajaz Haque says:

    Ambassador Khalilzad has been praised to high heaven by Bush & Condi Rice and he has had some very tough assignments.
    In my view Khalilzad’s track record is miserable. He struck a deal with Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and excluded the majority Pashtuns from a fare share in power. This has pissed off the Pashtuns and given rise to Taleban – once again. It is casuing Afghanistan to fall apart as Pashtun war lords are secretly supporting the Taleban while paying lip service to Nato. Northern Alliance dominated Government (though nominally headed by a Pashtun – Karzai) has allowed war lords to grow poppy in largest quantities ever and funds from poppy crops are used to finance the Taleban.
    Similarly in Iraq instead of supporting a balanced government fair to the three major ethnic groups (Shia, Sunni & Kurd) Khalilzad has made a deal with the Shias only who have in return unleased death squads. This has resulted in Iraq breaking at the seems.
    It seems that Bush Administration either does not know any better than to support Mr. Khalilzad’s proposals.

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  5. Sandy says:

    “Khalilzad is known as a world class schmoozer, a real diplomat’s diplomat…” MISLEADING!
    Neo-con PNAC signer and conspirator.
    Ask him when he and his buddies are going to nuke Iran? How much longer do we have?
    Is he waiting for ANOTHER “new Pearl Harbor”? Will they be EXPECTING one?
    Ask him that.

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  6. urbino says:

    David N. wrote:
    “3. What is the War on Terror?”
    MAN, would I ever like an answer to THAT one. Excellent questions all around, David.

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  7. Linda says:

    I agree with Marcia and would add that it is fact that in 1992 when Khalilzad and Wolfowitz were in lower political appointee positions in DOD (didn’t require Senate confirmation) they co-authored a Defemse Planning Guidance draft with a plan to have U.S. remain as the sole superpower
    in the world by using preemptive strikes. When the draft made its way into the NY Times, the plan was withdrawn. In James Mann’s book, “The Rise of the Vulcans”, around p. 209, when inter-viewed about this, Khalilzad takes credit as the major author. He also ways that after the leak, Wolfowitz distance himself from that policy, but Khalilzad brags that Cheney really liked the policy.
    I don’t think preemptive strikes like invading Iraq are a very good idea, nor do I think they make the U.S. very popular around the world. Khalilzad has claimed that policy as his and was signing PNAC letters advocating that action against Iraq nine years ago. So I’d question him about how effective he can be at the UN, given that history.

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  8. Marcia says:

    I think is is verifiable that Khalilzad has been on board since the founding of the American Enterprise Institute’s plans to establish the US as the only world power and to counter any attempt, military or diplomatic by any other national entity to resist, and to “re-look” the ME.
    This plan lies in shatters, the American military near the breaking point, even economic independance is menaced. No diplomat follows anything other than orders of his government, the difference lies in the sugar-coating but how could we now go to the UN with sermons about civil rights in the face of rendition, torture, wire-tapping, the denounciation of the Geneva Convention, etc. etc. the list is long
    It is long past time for a new virginity for any of these neocons. There are detailed records of all their interventions since the Regan era. Now people are just waiting for them to be gone since in their hubris they are bringing their own downfall.
    The twenty minute questions of our “Honorable” Gentlemen in the Senate will occupy most of the time.

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  9. Homer says:

    SC: Khalilzad is known as a world class schmoozer, a real diplomat’s diplomat, but that doesn’t give us an idea of what kind of Ambassador he’ll be.
    Mr. Khalilzad is also known as an imperialist, and a really shitty one at that, perhaps one of the shittiest to have walked the face of the earth.
    How so?
    Thanks to Mr. Khalilzad and the founder members of the Project for the New American Century, Iraq is now a burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist republic.
    This burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist republic in Iraq is the exact opposite of what the US needs in the ME.
    It is just a matter of time before this burgeoning Islamic fundamentalist republic in Iraq expulses the US.
    So, if history is any guide, Amb Khalilzad will continue his activity which results in the inadvertent fathering Islamic fundamentalist states that hostile to the interests of the US.

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  10. Carroll says:

    I am not very educated on the chain of command regarding the UN Ab, but it seems to me it doesn’t matter what his views are…he will be working for, and therefore a messenger of, this adm. Maybe he is suppose to have some imput but I haven’t seen any sign that appointees have had any influence of their own with this adm. So far they have all been picked because they either share this adm view or can be counted on to be loyal foot soliders.

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  11. David N says:

    Steve:
    Given the ability of this administration to turn the meaning of commonly understood terms on their heads, I would add the following questions to the list, of a more basic nature:
    1. What is your definition of diplomacy? What is the role — if any — of listening to what others have to say — both in other deligations and in your own staff — going to be in your management of relations with the U.N. and of the American staff?
    2. Is the so-called Bush Doctrine still valid administration policy? That is, does the U.S. government still officially claim the right to attack and invade any country it feels like?
    3. What is the War on Terror? What is the nature of this conflict that the administration uses as a universal excuse for all its actions, including those that violate the laws and Constitution of the United States? Who are we in conflict with, and what did this ever have to do with Iraq? What is the best means of conducting this conflict, or is this administration still committed to the one, single response of shooting people as its only solution to the conflict that it calls the WoT? Is there any prospect that economic, ideological, political, or diplomatic means can be a part of this issue?
    4. What is the administration’s view as to the role of the United Nations in the world today? Does the administration, as senior members of the political leadership have said and written on numerous occasions, believe that the U.N. should be abolished? Does the administration believe in any form of international cooperation — other than other countries simply doing what we tell them to?
    5. Have you ever, in your consultations with senior White House officials, experienced or heard of one of them listening to the opinions of others?
    Now, those would be interesting questions to hear the responses to. I say responses because there is absolutely no chance that — even if questions like this were to be asked — which they won’t — there would be real answers coming from anyone remotely connected with the Bush Putsch Cabal.
    No, I don’t hate Bush. I just hate what he’s doing to my country and the world.
    Cheney, though, I hate with a white-hot passion.

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  12. Albert Samtu says:

    Yo Zal: What are your plans to help the situation in Afghanistan? Are you contemplating getting NATO or maybe,the UNSC involved in order to internationalize the situation in Iraq, like you did in Afghanistan?

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  13. JohnH says:

    They also ought to ask ‘Zal’ some questions about how his Iraq experience might benefit him in his new job–
    1) Zal, what does your experience in Iraq say about your ability to bring opponents to the bargaining table and negotiate a settlement? [key function of UN]
    2) What does it say about your ability to bring transparency and financial accountability to operations you help manage? About reducing corruption, fraud and graft? [key UN operational issues]
    3) What does your experience in Iraq say about your ability to help other UN security council members satsify their addiction to oil and gas? [key issue facing permanent members of the UN Security Council except Russia.]
    Khalilzad may be known as a world class schmoozer, a real diplomat’s diplomat, but his recent track record suggests he’s just a weak cog on a losing team.

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  14. Frank says:

    suffested question:
    In your role as UN ambassador, define denuclearization of the ME.

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  15. Den Valdron says:

    I’m sorry but my dog would be a hell of a lot more competent and diplomatic than Mr. Bolton. I’d say that’s the faintest praise indeed.

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  16. Brigitte N. says:

    No doubt about this: He will be a hell of a lot more competent and more diplomatic than his predecessor.

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  17. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, they might want to ask him if he supports attacking Arab nations that choose to violate UN resolutions, while turning a blind eye to the multitude of resolutions that Israel is in violation of.

    Reply

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