Khalilzad Arrives


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.
–Scott Paul


19 comments on “Khalilzad Arrives

  1. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “And before MP comes on here and has a heart attack..I am not advocating attacking Israel, I am advocating the policy of strict neutrality and respecting EVERY territory’s integrity described in the thinking back in 1967.”
    LOL! Thanks. I had already read the article. And I’ve taken my morning nitro (one has to before reading the morning paper these days). But I appreciate your care and concern. Truly.


  2. Pissed Off American says:

    Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps
    From Hitler to Pinochet and Beyond, History Shows There Are certain Steps That Any Would-Be Dictator Must Take To Destroy Constitutional Freedoms. And George Bush and His Administration Seem To Be Taking Them All
    by Naomi Wolf
    Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody. They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
    As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.
    continues at……..


  3. Carroll says:

    And before MP comes on here and has a heart attack..I am not advocating attacking Israel, I am advocating the policy of strict neutrality and respecting EVERY territory’s integrity described in the thinking back in 1967.


  4. Carroll says:

    Hummm….I wonder if there will any difference in all the US vetos in Israel’s behalf at the UN…one huge sources of resentment that wouldn’t be affected by smoozing charm. Some interesting speculation in this article from Haaretz about the changing attitudes and the Condi and Gates recent trip to Israel.


  5. Carroll says:

    Well damn…we use to have some people with some sense about how the US should treat the ME…can we go find them and bring them back?
    U.S. had emergency plan for attacking Israel in 1967
    By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent
    For some time, the United States had had an emergency plan to attack Israel, a plan updated just prior to the 1967 war, aimed at preventing Israel from expanding westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.
    In May 1967, one of the U.S. commands was charged with the task of removing the plan from the safe, refreshing it and preparing for an order to go into action.
    This unknown aspect of the war was revealed in what was originally a top-secret study conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington. The full story is detailed in Haaretz’ Independence Day Supplement
    “The ultimate objective would be to stop aggression and insure the territorial integrity of all the Middle Eastern states,” he was informed in cable No. 6365 of the Joint Chiefs, with a copy to EUCOM.
    Conway’s reply to this, dated May 28, is described in the top-secret study as “a strong plea for complete impartiality.” The United States was liable to lose its influence to the Soviets, the general warned, and therefore it must demonstrate “strict neutrality” and avoid open support for Israel.
    The true importance of the Middle East lay in the American-Soviet context of the Cold War, Conway argued, and the American stance must derive from those considerations, not from “local issues.”


  6. Pissed Off American says:

    If Khalilzad was suspected of being someone that would deviate from the Bush/Cheney script, he would not have gotten the job. Period.
    His delivery may be different, but he will be delivering the same message that Bolton did.


  7. Homer says:

    “[T]heir service in the Bush administration tells a different story?”
    If that is true and evident why do you completely avoid supporting your opinion with a fact or two?
    Khalilzad is a “loyal Bushie”.
    The difference btw him and Bolton is whiter teeth and better hair.
    If Khalilzad ever had the greater good of America and Americans in mind, the US would have never been brought into the never ending internecine battle in Iraq.
    Khalilzad deserves to live the rest of his life Diyala to see his work in action


  8. Carroll says:

    I expect nothing from Zal or anyone else that comes out of this adm….looking at his past it appears he is use to taking orders and marching along with whatever herd he belongs to at the moment, not excerising or fighting for any of his own ideas or judgement…so you think he will suddenly be able to finess Cheney and actually “accomplish” anything beside being more personally popular than Bolton.


  9. Dons Blog says:

    Umm, Steve, didn’t you say something similar about Olmert?
    I think I’ll wait before I express an opinion. Though I don’t think anyone could be as belligerent as Bolton. Pretty funny when a late night comedian is correct more often than a skilled (?) ambassador.


  10. JonU says:

    Standards have fallen very very low, if “he can’t be as bad as Bolton” is trumpeted as a good sign.
    That is truly a twisted mentality to take in analyzing the situation. And proves just how far to the extreme radical right conservatives have pushed things. And how easily moderates, progressives and liberals fall into the thought patterns the neocons want them to be in.
    It’s the continuing advancement of the neocon agenda. Is that a good development?
    Khalilzad deserves mockery and derision whenever he pokes his head into the MSM spotlight. He should be constantly taken to task for the damage and destruction wrought from the policies he enthusiastically advanced.
    You should be outraged that such a person is our ambassador to the U.N. Not applauding because “he’s not as bad as Bolton”. Blogging like this helps to prop him up, and give continued legitimacy to the radical fringe element that is the neocon movement.
    Really lazy thinking.


  11. HStewart says:

    Just wait, one of these Friday afternoons, Bush will announce that Bolton is replacing Wolfowitz at the World Bank.


  12. Linda says:

    I doubt that I would give any Bush administration Ambassador to the UN a chance, but especially not Khalilzad as he has bragged about how much Cheney liked the preemptive war policy. I see hubris where you see humility. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’d prefer that our national policy would be to do everything possible to give peace a chance.


  13. Matthew says:

    Linda & eCAHNomics: But has Khalilzad been humbled by real world experience in Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq since 2004? Unlike most neo-cons, including the Cheney, Khalilzad has spent the last three years meeting lots of people who haven’t hired Richard Perle or James Woosley. And Khalilzad is getting a little too prominent to continuing being the House Muslim. Even the field Muslims like Ajami have gone quieter. America is in real need of “Foreigner’s Gift” to break the spell of fundamentalism, messianism, and exceptionalism. Until he disappoints, let’s give Khalilzad a chance.


  14. JohnH says:

    Yes, Khalilzad took over a bad situation. But what did he do to ameliorate it? Apparently nothing. In fact, it was on his watch that the civil war really got going. Hard to say whether he was totally ineffective at damping the fires or instrumental in fanning them. Only in Bush World would a resume like that get you the UN ambassador’s job.


  15. Linda says:

    At the end of the Bush I administration in 1992, it was Khalilzad and Wolfowitz who wrote the preemptive war policy to keep U.S. the world’s only superpower. The policy was not implemented when it was leaked to NY Times. But they came back in Bush II and implemented it. The fact that Khalilzad is more charming and nicer than Bolton doesn’t mean he is the lesser of two evils. In memoriam to David Halberstam, his book, “The Best and the Brightest” uses “hubris” more than any other word. It surely applies to Khalilzad.


  16. eCAHNomics says:

    In W admin you have to choose between really bad and truly awful. In a perverted way, it’s better to have the latter, because then countries will not be tempted to play into the hands of the evil empire.
    However, I can’t see why policy poobahs waste breath on which of the two categories particular Bushies belong in. Surely for a personality obsessed site there’s more interesting fodder.


  17. JaideepDargan says:

    John H: Post-Invasion Iraq became a failed project long before Khalilzad arrived. However, if you are inclined to blame an Ambassador for the current mess in Mesopotamia, look no further than L. Paul Bremer. Khalilzad tried to clean up a mess that was literally planted in the first week of Amb. Bremer’s arrival (debaathification).
    Moreover, the presence of someone other than Bolton at the UN is a clear repudiation of the unilaterial vision of American power that obstructed useful American engagement with the international community since his recess appointment. Zal can’t be as bad as Bolton — and here’s hoping that he’s not a proxy for Cheney / Addington, et. al.


  18. profmarcus says:

    as one of the ones who opposed khalilzad’s confirmation to the u.n. post based on his pnac affiliation, i can only hope you’re right…


  19. JohnH says:

    When Khalilzad is hailed as an improvement, it shows how low our expectations have sunk. As US ambassador to two fail states, Iraq and Afghanistan, exactly what does he bring to the table?
    His boss, the ever pathetic Condi Rice, will never have to fear being shown up by her underling.


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