Sunday, April 24, 2005

Joltin' John Bolton

Several items on the Senescent Man RADAR regarding the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations:


Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger comes out strongly in favor of John Bolton: Blunt but Effective.

President Bush’s nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has generated a bad case of dyspepsia among a number of senators, who keep putting off a confirmation vote. That hesitation is now portrayed as a consequence of Bolton’s purported “mistreatment” of several State Department intelligence analysts. But this is a smoke screen. The real reasons Bolton’s opponents want to derail his nomination are his oft-repeated criticism of the United Nations and other international organizations, his rejection of the arguments of those who ignore or excuse the inexcusable (i.e., the election of Sudan to the U.N. Human Rights Commission) and his willingness to express himself with the bark off.

As to the charge that Bolton has been tough on subordinates, I can say only that in more than a decade of association with him in the State Department I never saw or heard anything to support such a charge. Nor do I see anything wrong with challenging intelligence analysts on their findings. They can, as recent history demonstrates, make mistakes. And they must be prepared to defend their findings under intense questioning. If John pushed too hard or dressed down subordinates, he deserves criticism, but it hardly merits a vote against confirmation when balanced against his many accomplishments.

On Dec. 16, 1991, I spoke to the U.N. General Assembly on behalf of the United States, calling on the member states to repeal the odious Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism with racism. As I said then, the resolution “labeled as racist the national aspirations of the one people more victimized by racism than any other.” That we were successful in obtaining repeal was largely due to John Bolton, who was then assistant secretary of state for international organizations. His moral outrage was clearly evident as he brilliantly led and managed the successful U.S. campaign to obtain sufficient votes for repeal. The final vote, 111 to 25, speaks volumes for the success of his “direct” style.

From Power Line:

Colin Powell's tenure as Secretary of State did not produce much of a legacy. Credit for the major foreign policy related accomplishments of President Bush's first four years -- the overthrow of two rogue, terrorist-supporting regimes; their replacement by essentially democratic systems; the devastation of al Qaeda; the spread of hope for democracy in the Middle East -- eludes Powell. The best that can be said of the former Secretary is that he reluctantly went along with Bush's policies, except when he tried to undermine or back away from them through the art of leaking.

Stategic leaking, in fact, represents the true Powell legacy. And, the editors of National Review show it's an ongoing one, as Powell attempts to undermine John Bolton's nomination:

Since he has no strong philosophical moorings himself, Powell quickly became the servant of the permanent State Department establishment, for whom Bush's post-9/11 reorienting of U.S. foreign policy was discomfiting at best. Bolton was not just a believer in Bush's foreign policy, but regarded it as his professional duty to represent it in a building where he knew it wouldn't make him popular. Yes, this occasionally meant clashes with bureaucratic underlings. This was sometimes necessary — it is President Bush's appointees who are supposed to be setting the direction of the U.S. government, not bureaucrats with their own agendas. But it mostly meant that Bolton was routinely disagreeing with Powell and Armitage, who are now bent on exacting their revenge in a campaign marked by Powell's trademark underhanded style.

How should the administration respond? Here's the editors' answer:

It is time for Bush to stop making general complaints about “politics” playing a role in the nomination fight and instead call Democrats on what is their real objection to Bolton: that he will be too aggressive in representing the U.S. at the United Nations and in challenging the corrupt and ineffectual status quo at the world body. That will create a debate that Bolton's defenders can win. Bolton was a Bush loyalist; now Bush must be a Bolton loyalist.
From me:

Oh what is poor Linc Chafee to do? Will he waver? He has stated repeatedly that he'd give this one to the President, but will he tough it out in the face of the other Republican critics?? We shall see. My guess? He will crumble like a shortbread cookie on Christmas Eve.

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