Bolton at the U.N.: The Right Man at the Right Place
It is obvious that the target of his remark was not the notion of international law per se, but the “humanitarian interventionists” who used NATO for 78 days to pulverize Serbia in 1999. A similar quote could have come from a Chronicles editor, and indeed it has. As he has said since,
"While the historical understanding of customary international law was that it evolved from the practices of nation states over long years of development, today we have theorists who speak approvingly of “spontaneous customary international law” that the cognoscenti discover almost overnight. This is simply not acceptable to any free person."
The U.S. policy in the Balkans in general, and Kosovo in particular, has been a reliable litmus test of a politician’s soundness for a decade and a half. Bolton passes it with flying colors. Prior to his appointment as Undersecretary of State he had repeatedly said that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be divided between Serbia, Croatia, and a narrow Muslim region in the middle. He had also supported the division of Kosovo into the northern triangle that would be kept by Serbia and the rest that would go to the Albanians. Within months of the end of Clinton’s war against Serbia, as the nonsense about the alleged “genocide” in Kosovo was being demolished and Serbian churches throughout the province went up in flames, Bolton declared that “wishful thinking about the United Nations . . . ran into a wall of reality in Kosovo.”
Bolton’s realism about the Balkans takes courage because it is anti-establishmentarian. His views are light-years away from the ravings about Bosnia’s or Kosovo’s “multiethnicity” by the Left. It is also explicitly opposed to the self-destructive tendency of most neocons to support the Muslim side in the Balkans. Being an apparently normal human being, Bolton does not share William Kristol’s morbid lust to “crack some Serbian skulls.”