CHOOSING FRANK LUNTZ...

CHOOSING FRANK LUNTZ OVER DARFUR. If the political dynamic surrounding Darfur remains static, the region has about three weeks before African Union forces are replaced by the Sudanese military and its genocidal proxies. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan is struggling to sound the alarm on the sheer urgency of the crisis. Yesterday, he appeared in person before the Council and, in an attempt to raise the individual Council members to action, gave a rather
stirring speech.

In unusually blunt language, Annan called on �additional voices� (read: key member states like China, Russia, and the United States) to do their utmost to press Sudan to consent to a U.N. peacekeeping operation for Darfur. But rather than stick around to give the American response, sources tell me that Ambassador Bolton skipped out of the briefing immediately following Annan�s speech. And though other permanent representatives, such as Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom, stayed, Bolton dispatched only a mid-level �minister counselor for political affairs� to represent the United States for the duration of the Security Council meeting.

So why was Bolton in such a hurry? He had an important U.N.-trashing fete to attend across town at the Hudson Institute. There, Republican pollster Frank Luntz rolled out a new survey showing that Republicans could profit from making the United Nations a �wedge issue� in upcoming elections. And to make sure that the U.N. press corps got this message, the United States mission invited Luntz to the U.N. building and organized a press briefing for him there. Hackish articles, like this one from Benny Avni of the New York Sun, followed.

Meanwhile, I can only help but think that if Ambassador Bolton expressed a similar determination to publicize that Darfur is three weeks from doomsday, more would get done to avert the possible disaster. But apparently his priorities are elsewhere.

--Mark Leon Goldberg

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