MALLABY GETS IT RIGHT. Sebastian Mallaby pens an excellent column today. As John Bolton approaches the one-year mark of his recess appointment, it is clear that his tenure has been defined by the waning of American influence at the United Nations. His preference for zero-sum games in a forum that has advanced beyond those kinds of negotiating tactics has backfired, and has done so to the detriment of American interests at the United Nations.

The set of reforms championed by the Secretary General and the West is being held up by an increasingly assertive coalition of developing countries -- even though, as Kofi Annan wrote in the Financial Times (subscription only), these reforms would do much to streamline the services that the United Nations now offers to the developing world, like health care, AIDS education, peace-building, and more. The developing world, however, insists that the management reforms sought by Annan and the West are a thinly veiled power-grab. Though this is far from the truth, Bolton has done precious little to convince them otherwise, and seems to be welcoming the financial crisis toward which the United Nations is headed.

And now for a plug: For more on U.S.-U.N. relations, the impending budget crisis at the United Nations, and all matters related to the world body, check out UN Dispatch. It�s an excellent news aggregator for those who follow the United Nations, and it has been re-launched to include some opinion and analysis from a host of contributors, including Peter Daou and yours truly. Enjoy.

--Mark Leon Goldberg