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A road map for US relations with rest of world

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For any student of the Bush administration''s foreign policy, the US version of the draft United Nations summit agreement, leaked earlier this week, is an essential text.

The hundreds of deletions and insertions represent a helpfully annotated map to Washington''s disagreements with most of the rest of the world on just about every global issue imaginable.

Most of the disagreements illustrated in this document are longstanding. President Bush was never going to sign a document urging UN member states to support the Kyoto protocol on climate change, or the international criminal court.

The new US representative, John Bolton, is the perfect messenger for the blunt challenge Washington has thrown down to the international consensus. He is famous for his brusque manner and deep scepticism, verging on hostility, towards the UN.

The amended document reflects Mr Bolton''s belief that the assertion of US interests should almost always take precedence over the search for compromise with an international community that includes despotic and corrupt regimes.

Of particular interest is the repeated deletion of the word "disarmament" in the section on nuclear arms. The Bush administration wants global counter-proliferation strategy to focus exclusively on preventing more countries acquiring nuclear weapons. It is seeking to play down the importance of reducing the stockpiles of the established nuclear powers, as it has plans to overhaul its own arsenal and develop new weapons, such as nuclear "bunker busters".

The removal of any mention of the Millennium development goal for rich countries to donate 0.7% of their gross national product to the developing world, marks a final break with the pledge agreed by the Clinton administration. US overseas development assistance is below 0.2% and near the bottom of the league.

The deletion of references to "corporate responsibility" reflects an ingrained distaste for regulation of the private sector in the pursuit of social goals such as the elimination of poverty or the treatment of HIV in Africa.

Here are some of the US changes:

Values and principles

We further reaffirm that core values and principles, such as respect for human rights and human dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, [deleted: respect for nature], the rule of law, shared responsibility, multilateralism, and non-resort to the threat or use of force [inserted: in a manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations] are essential for peaceful coexistence and cooperation among states.

We rededicate ourselves to support [deleted: all] efforts to uphold ... the sovereign equality of all states, respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, resolution of disputes by peaceful means, and the right of self-determination of peoples [deleted: which remain under colonial domination and foreign occupation]

We pledge to make the United Nations more relevant, more effective, more efficient, more accountable and more credible [deleted: and to provide the organisation with the resources needed to fully implement its mandates].


We [deleted: remain concerned, however, by the slow and uneven implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium development goals and] reaffirm our commitment to eradicate poverty and promote sustained economic growth, sustainable development and global prosperity for all.

We resolve to... make the fight against corruption at all levels a priority, as agreed at Monterey, and welcome all actions taken in this regard at the national and international levels including the adoption of policies that emphasise accountability, transparent public sector management, competitive markets [deleted: and corporate responsibility and accountability]

[Deleted: We welcome the establishment of timetables by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7% of gross national product for official development assistance by no later than 2015 and to reach at least 0.5% by 2009 and urge those developed countries that have not yet done so to make concrete efforts towards allocating 0.7% of their GNP for ODA...]

Protecting our common environment

[Deleted: We recognise that climate change is a serious and long-term challenge that has the potential to affect every part of the world. We call for further technological and financial international cooperation for the sustainable use and management of natural resources in order to promote sustainable production and consumption patterns as a means of keeping the balance between the conservation of natural resources and the furtherance of social and economic objectives.]

We therefore resolve to [deleted: undertake concerted global action to address climate change, including through meeting all commitments and obligations under the Kyoto protocol...].

Meeting the special needs of Africa

We resolve to provide, as a priority, assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in African countries [deleted: on a grant basis, and encourage pharmaceutical companies to make anti-retroviral drugs affordable and accessible in Africa]

Use of force under the UN charter

We also reaffirm that the provisions of the charter of the United Nations regarding the use of force are sufficient [deleted: to address the full range of security threats and agree that the use of force should be considered as an instrument of last resort].

Disarmament and non-proliferation

We also recognise that non-compliance with existing arms control, non-proliferation and [deleted: disarmament] agreements and commitments also threatens international peace and security of all nations and increases the possibility of terrorist acquisition of WMD.

We reiterate our firm commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty [deleted: its three pillars, disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy].


... we commit to end the impunity for the most serious violations of international humanitarian law, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [deleted: by cooperating with the international criminal court, the existing ad hoc and mixed criminal tribunals and other mechanisms for international justice as well as through strengthening national legal systems].

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