Demonstrators protesting outside the UN headquarters in
Between 35,000 (according to police estimates) and 40,000 (according to bloggers who were there) were at the solidarity rally for
The posts by Anne Lieberman, California Yankee, Jerry Gordon, Peg Kaplan, Ed Morrisey, Scott Johnson and Meryl Yourish were particularly impressive, and the New York Sun again demonstrated it is the most essential newspaper in New York.
The bloggers all criticized the MSM for the anti-Israel animus underlying its virtually total failure to cover the event. But there is actually a more important point:
When there is a demonstration involving tens of thousands of people, on the steps of the United Nations, when the attendees include the Governor of New York, a Foreign Minister from a nation in the Middle East, three Ambassadors, prominent individuals such as Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz, and when -- in addition -- one of the speakers is . . . the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, you might (if you’re the MSM) check in and see if he says anything significant, since he is appearing at an important moment in a highly visible public forum.
I think John Bolton did say something that fits that description, something historians may have occasion to revisit. Thanks to One Jerusalem, we have the video of his speech. The following is a JCI transcript, worth reading in its entirety (even better with the video), but the most important part is bolded at the end:
It’s really heartening to see this crowd here today -- very heartening for me to have a chance to leave the United Nations building, walk across the street and come out here in the sunshine.
I want to say that the President yesterday gave I think the clearest statement of American views of liberty and democracy in the
Middle East that any president has ever given. He spoke directly to the peoples of Middle Eastern countries who suffer under tyrannies and authoritarian rule. He spoke of the hopes of people in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan that seek democracy. He talked about of the importance of spreading democracy in countries like Lebanon and Syria. This is critical to the long-term resolution of the conflict in the Middle East.
But we have a long way to go, sadly, until we get to that point. The first thing we can do is what Security Council Resolution 1701 calls for. We want the unconditional release of the captured Israeli soldiers. [Crowd calls “Free Them Now! Free Them Now!”] That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. But we want a lot more too. We want a lot more too. We want
Iran and Syria to give up their sponsorship of international terrorism. Iran alone contributes over a hundred million dollars a year in support to Hezbollah. It supplies Hamas, as does the government of Syria. These practices have to end if they want to be accepted into the community of civilized nations. So we want that too.
But we want more than that too. We want
Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons. And I can tell you that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- nuclear, biological or chemical -- in the Middle East is a profound threat, not only to Israel, to the United States, to our friends in the region, but to the world as a whole.
And let me just say this is not simply a problem of
Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. It’s a worldwide problem. We speak of the “axis of evil.” We mean, for example, North Korea’s proliferation of ballistic missile technology into the Middle East. North Korea is the world’s largest proliferator of that technology, selling and dealing to regimes like Iran. So it’s not just Iran pursuing nuclear weapons. It’s Iran pursuing longer range and more accurate ballistic missiles as well.
We have laid down a foundation. We have said to the Iranians “we the
United States are prepared to talk to you, even though you continue to support terrorism, because of our concern about nuclear weapons.” This is an extraordinarily generous offer by the United States. We ask only one thing of Iran: that they stop their pursuit of uranium enrichment activities. And to date the Iranian government has refused to do that. We have made it clear until they do that, unequivocally and verifiably, we will move for sanctions -- not just in the UN Security Council, but against financial institutions. We will pursue the President’s Proliferation Security Initiative to stop the flow of weapons and materials and technology of mass destruction.
President Bush has been very clear on this point to
Iran. He has been very clear. He has said over and over again it is “unacceptable” for Iran to have nuclear weapons. And what he means when he says “unacceptable” is, that it is unacceptable. [Emphasis on last word by Bolton].
So there is a lot we want out of the region because we want peace, we want stability, we want freedom. I thank you all for coming here today. I appreciate the honor of being here. And good luck to all of you.
When the Head of State (directly or through his authorized representatives) says to another nation that its possession of nuclear weapons is “unacceptable,” the use of that word is (as I’ve noted here and here) significant in itself.
But more than that: you don’t say that word repeatedly; you don’t explain that its meaning is self-explanatory; you don’t present it without qualifiers or adjectives or modifiers; you don’t have it said officially (on the same day) by your Secretary of State, UN Ambassador and White House spokesperson; you don’t have it repeated later by your Vice President; and finally, you don’t re-emphasize it on the steps of the United Nations, to a crowd of tens of thousands, with the head of state of Iran in the building behind you -- you don’t do all that and then accept an Iranian nuclear weapon.
There may be various tactics in pursuit of your strategy, pursued in successive stages. But having said that word repeatedly, one thing you cannot possibly do -- not simply because of your regard for your reputation, or your place in history, or even simply because of your concern for the credibility of American diplomacy in the future, but rather because you know that, in fact, the problem is a threat to the whole world -- is leave office with it unhandled.
If it is unacceptable, you don’t go home and accept it. And one thing we have learned in the last six years is that George W. Bush means what he says.
The message Wednesday was undoubtedly meant not only for the crowd, but -- since it was delivered in a highly visible public forum by an important official of the