Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bush Unleashes Bolton on the UN

by Kyle Michaelis
The Omaha World-Herald reports on Chuck Hagel's decidedly unenthusiastic response to President Bush's recess appointment of tyrannical "serial abuser" John R. Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations:
Three Midlands senators had mixed reactions Monday to President Bush's giving John Bolton a special recess appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa were not effusive, but both supported Bush's decision to override Senate Democrats who had blocked a vote on Bolton's nomination.

Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin called the appointment a "slap in the face."

Bolton had stirred controversy over his sometimes brusque treatment of co-workers and past critical comments about the United Nations.

"I would have preferred to see our U.N. ambassador go to the U.N. with the support and confidence of the Congress," Hagel said. "However, Mr. Bolton will be judged on his performance at the United Nations"....

Harkin said that making an end run around Congress "sent exactly the wrong message" to the diplomatic community that Bolton will work with.

"John Bolton now goes to the United Nations without the support or confidence of the Senate, instead representing only the president of the United States," Harkin said. "Unfortunately this go-it-alone strategy is all too familiar with this administration."

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., could not be reached for comment.

Former State Department Chief of Intelligence Carl W. Ford Jr., who worked with Bolton, told the Senate, "I've never seen anybody quite like Secretary Bolton. ... I don't have a second, third or fourth in terms of the way that he abuses his power and authority."

What a sad day indeed this is for America when a man such as that is our representative to the world community. To be honest, though, I'm almost happy Bush made this sickening gesture of contempt for not only the UN but also for the U.S. Senate's rightful place in the appointment process. He's spared me from being pissed off at Ben Nelson for making what would have likely been an indefensible vote to confirm a jackass such as Bolton.

Now, the shame of his appointment rests squarely on Bush and the Republican Party, prompting the Lincoln Journal-Star to write in today's editorial:
If Bolton proves to be the inept, counterproductive bully that his detractors say he is — embarrassing friends and energizing foes — the president should waste no time dumping him.

Bolton supposedly goes to the United Nations with the goal of reforming the world body.

That objective is worthy enough...As needed as reform may be, however, there are considerable questions on whether Bolton is the best person for the job.

Testimony on Bolton's qualifications inspires little confidence that he has the persuasive tools of a diplomat. Charles W. Ford Jr., former chief of the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research said Bolton was an "800-pound gorilla" and a "serial abuser" of staffers.

Even some Republicans were unwilling to support Bolton. Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio put it this way: "It is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be"....

President Bush had the legal right to name Bolton without the consent of the Senate. But if Bolton can't "get things done," or even worse, actually damages U.S. credibility and impedes progress toward reform, Bush ought to waste no time replacing him with someone better suited for the job.

A fine editorial. The only thing missing is a call that Bush actually be held accountable for Bolton's behavior.

If Bolton proves the insult to diplomacy that history and the words of Republican Senator Voinovich suggest, Bush's simply replacing him will not be enough. No, with this recess appointment, Bush has gone out on a limb, personally staking his own reputation and that of this country on the seemingly most undeserving Bolton. If this action blows up in our faces, Bush owes more than a replacement - he will owe the people of this country and the world an apology.


Anonymous Kira Zalan said...

“The UN Charter is fundamentally a political, not a legal document. On finances it amounts to little more than an ‘agreement to agree.’”
– Op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, April 13, 1997


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