Friday, July 20, 2007

John Bolton vs. Ad Melkert

Politics bore everybody, but I think this falls more into the category of gossip. Anyway it's unreportable so far from a professional perspective.

Former U.S. Ambsassador to the U.N. John Bolton told Dutch NOVA news last night that Ad Melkert should be fired from the UNDP for being "undiplomatic."

Paradoxically, that's the accusation you used to hear leveled at Bolton before he retired to spend more time with his family.

The UNDP may or may not have given money improperly to North Korea in recent years, depending on who you listen to.

Melkert is a name few non-Dutch will know. So here are a few piquant facts:

1) before moving over to the UNDP, he was chairman of the World Bank's Ethics committee and played a not insignificant role in the ouster of Paul Wolfowitz. If I recall the chain of events correctly, when Wolfowitz asked Melkert for advice on what to do about his girlfriend, Melkert told him that was his problem. Wolfowitz then decided to give her a big raise and a new job. When poop and fan collided, Wolfowitz said Melkert had approved of this, which Melkert roundly denied.

In summary, while Wolfowitz and Bolton share a friendship, Wolfowitz and Melkert do not.

2) Secondarily, Melkert was the Labor (read: Democrat) politican whose career in the Netherlands was ended by the abrupt rise of populist Pim Fortuyn. Melkert's party got creamed in the 2002 elections after Fortuyn's murder, and there were some who said _ rightly or wrongly _ that Melkert's dismissive attitude toward Fortuyn contributed to Fortuyn's appeal and tacitly encouraged leftists, multiculturalists, and animal rights activists to despise him.

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