IN OTHER WORDS: Give first

Two weeks before world leaders are due in New York to talk about global poverty and UN reform, the US is trying to renege on commitments to fight poverty. If this wasn’t so important to the one billion people in Africa, Latin America and Asia who subsist on barely anything, the US proposal, presented last week by America’s new UN ambassador, John Bolton, would be almost funny.

On Sept. 14, the leaders of more than 170 countries are to show up to sign an agreement to bolster the UN Millennium Declaration, which was drafted in 2000. The draft document that Mr Bolton shared with other diplomats calls for striking almost all mentions of the MDGs. American officials want to erase parts of the text that would ask countries to “achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance by no later than 2015.” Mr Bolton is right in calling for radical reform of the UN. He is also correct in urging the substitution of the Human Rights Commission with a more powerful Human Rights Council that wouldn’t make a mockery of the name by having countries like Sudan and Libya as me-mbers. And few would argue with his call to strengthen antiterrorism efforts around the world. But in international negotiations, you have to give a little to get a little, and right now, America isn’t doing a whole lot of giving.