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TV interview
Alan Keyes on After Hours with Cal Thomas
August 6, 2005
Fox News Channel

CAL THOMAS, HOST: The John Bolton recess appointment to the United Nations raised the heat in Washington during an already-hot August. Democrats cried foul and some claimed the President abused his power--which of course he did not, as recess appointments are part of the President's constitutional prerogative.

Some say John Bolton is damaged goods. Here to discuss Bolton's prospects and the U.N. is former deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and two-time presidential candidate Alan Keyes. Welcome, Alan. Good to see you.

ALAN KEYES: Glad to be with you. Thank you.

THOMAS: So is John Bolton damaged goods? Does all of this fight mean that he will be ineffective as our ambassador?

KEYES: Oh, I think, not at all. I think the President was perfectly within his rights in terms of the recess appointment. We have seen--both in terms of John Bolton's appointment, and in terms of judicial appointments--that we are at a point right now where, really due to the obstreperous nature of the Democrat minority, it has been difficult for the President to do his job.

And one of the elements of that job is to make sure you have the right person in the right place at the right time. The U.N. is facing some critical discussions, including the plans to expand the Security Council and things of that kind, and this is not a time when we would want to be without representation at the top during the course of the General Assembly session.

So the President is simply doing his job. He's making sure that as the Chief Executive we are going to be properly represented in the critical international arenas, and I think that that's what he has to do. It is in no way a violation of the Constitution. It is in fact foreseen by the Constitution that the executive has to meet these exigencies--and that's what he has done.

THOMAS: Some Democrats and commentators have said that John Bolton is too direct and not diplomatic enough. Now, when you and Jeane Kirkpatrick were at the U.N., you guys were not exactly wallflowers.

KEYES: [laughs]

THOMAS: Do you have to be just kind of, you know, "can't we all get along"-mentality in order to be effective?

KEYES: Well, unhappily I think that that reflects what has been the mentality of a lot of the liberals, a lot of some of the State Department professionals, the go-along-to-get-along types who forget that the key element of our "diplomacy," quote unquote, at the United Nations is that you're supposed to represent the United States, and that you are in fact engaged in a legislative process, not just a jockeying process of diplomatic negotiations.

So to some extent, you are dealing with the kind of expectations that attach to a senator or a congressman--somebody who is expected to represent the constituency that has put him in place--and that requires somebody who is going to speak out, to be forthright, to reflect the values and principles and interests of that constituency, which in this case is the whole United States.

John Bolton is an excellent choice for getting that job done in such a way that we would be clearly represented, even as we work to achieve agreements that do not compromise our fundamental security or principles.

THOMAS: Twenty years ago, or so, when you were at the U.N., there were cries for reform then. There were even cries and have been for years for the U.S. to get out of the U.N. In the succeeding twenty years, we've had the Oil For Food scandal, other problems there. Have things gotten worse? And what do you think ought to be his top priority for reform?

KEYES: Unhappily, I think things have gotten worse at the United Nations--but that's at least in part because at key moments we have backed off from the pressure we have rightly placed on the organization for reform.

I think that we ought to be continuing to use our position of fiscal clout within the organization. We provide a lot of money to support its operations. But we should not countenance the notion that we can simply allow that money to be spent in order to placate the ambitions, aspirations, personal this's and thats of the international bureaucrats who compose the United Nations.

So I think that a top priority for reform has to be, as it has always been, making sure that we are going to get out of U.N. results that actually address some of the problems they are supposed to deal with--rather than reflecting the agendas of ambition of the bureaucrats or the political agendas of the different groups of which the U.N. is composed.

THOMAS: Speaking of getting out of the U.N., some people since the U.N.'s founding have suggested that the U.S. should get out of the U.N. What do we have in common with third-world dictators, people who suppress women and people for their religious beliefs?

Why should we stay in there? What benefit is it to the United States to be in the United Nations?

KEYES: Well I usually answer that question really less in terms of the benefits than in terms of the fact that in the first instance, if we are seen to withdraw and to be blamed, as it were, for the breakdown of this forum, then everything that happened in the world after that, you can bet, would be blamed rightly or wrongly on the fact that the United States had withdrawn the U.N., had snubbed its nose at the international community. You and I can hear the arguments, and they would be trumpeted by our media as well as everybody else. So I think we'd have a price to pay that I think would be inconsiderate from the point of view of real U.S. interests.

On the other hand, I think people who are making a bid to establish some kind of sovereign power in the U.N., to give it some kind of taxing power in terms of global authority, to circumvent the proper institutions of our Constitution and representative government in the application of U.N. decisions and laws--these are things that are unacceptable, in terms of their destruction of American sovereignty, and that's where we need to draw the line.

THOMAS: A quick political question. Many Republicans thought that your multiple candidacies--most recently for the Senate seat in Illinois won by Barack Obama--would bring more African Americans to the Republican Party. You are educated, you are articulate, you are one of the best speakers I've ever heard anywhere. Why didn't this work? Why are more African Americans--why weren't they attracted to your candidacies and to the Republican Party?

KEYES: Well, the question isn't about my candidacies. My candidacies are about making sure that one upholds a banner of principle, not of race. And I never have "been about" race.

But I think that in terms of the principles that I speak on, look at the last election, and you will see that, on the issue of traditional marriage, for instance, there was a broad-based coalition of support for the effort to defend traditional marriage that included large numbers of black Americans. If we're not seeing the mobilization of that kind of sentiment on a more routine basis in terms of candidates, it's because Republican candidates refuse to clearly raise the banner of principle when it comes to the issue of life, the issue of defense of traditional marriage, the issue of the defense of religious freedom.

I think it's time Republicans boldly appealed to the constituencies of faith across racial lines. Then we'll see some results.

THOMAS: Alan Keyes, thanks very much for being my guest on After Hours. Hope you'll come back and talk about that new book you're writing. Good to see you again.

KEYES: Glad to be with you.

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