Once upon a time that now seems long ago, this country was represented at the United Nations by emissaries who did not hesitate to speak truth to power, at home or abroad. One thinks of legendary figures like Adlai Stevenson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick. There were giants in the Earth in those days, or at least truth-tellers. Which, on balance, are a lot more useful than giants in this world of subterfuge and simulation.
At this low point in the top tier of American diplomats -- welcome to the sad era of The Hon. Susan E. Rice -- we'd gladly settle for another John Bolton. He's still around, though out of public office. (There is only so much truth any administration can stand.) Mr. Bolton's continues to be a prophetic voice. And, in the grand prophetic tradition, he continues to be ignored. Like any other voice in the wilderness.
By now John Bolton's warnings about the danger of appeasing North Korea's regime have been ignored by more than one American administration. With predictable results. Earlier this month a North Korean missile went streaking over the Japanese island of Okinawa, a name students of American military history and Gold Star Mothers will well remember.
How long, one wonders, before those North Korean rockets have nuclear warheads attached? And whose territory will they be flying over next? No doubt the United Nations will now respond (again) to North Korea's latest provocation with still more meaningless (again) resolutions without resolve. And without effect.
Across the globe, from Iran to North Korea, the results of appeasement don't seem to have changed much since the 1930s. It's not much compensation to have John Bolton proved right time and again if Washington can't -- or won't -- follow his counsel, and arrest the dangerous drift of American diplomacy toward an all-too-passive acceptance of nuclear weapons in the hands of those most likely to use them to further their aggressive designs.
It won't do to just pass empty resolutions against such rogue regimes. Economic sanctions, like the ones in place against Iran, ought to be put in place against North Korea's deranged dictatorship. But in the end those regimes need to be not just sanctioned but changed. And their people freed.
The forces of freedom around the world wait to be inspired, encouraged and aided once again -- as they were when the president of the United States was the leader of the free world in more than name. Those yearning for freedom in North Korea, in Iran, and around the globe are looking for leadership from Washington, not just lip service.
Once upon a time not so long ago, this country made no secret of its support for freedom in more than words -- for actions always speak louder. Here's hoping that America will again champion the cause of the oppressed, the threatened, the captive and persecuted ... and raise a banner all lovers of liberty can rally around. And remember what the founding generation well knew: "The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind." -- Thomas Paine.
-- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette