Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bolton the Wrong Choice for UN

While the news media is currently fawning over the new reactionary pontificate, Benedict XVI, they are systematically downplaying a story that is paramount to the national foreign policy debate.

John Bolton, the Undersecretary of State and President Bush's nominee for the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, is perhaps the worst Bush nominee yet - and that's taking into account nominees who advocate torture and slept through attacks on American soil.

Bolton is a man who throughout his political career has shown tremendous vitriol toward the UN and has a history harshly browbeating subordinates who had the misfortune of disagreeing with him.

In the words of one career foreign service officer, Bolton "kisses up to his boss and kicks down his staff" [New York Times, April 12th 2005] over the course of policy analysis. In addition to his abusive office politics, Bolton has consistently shown downright contempt for international institutions and even international law.

He was once quoted as saying: "If you cut off the top ten stories of the UN Headquarters, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

With an attitude this disdainful, it is not surprising that he would also describe foreign policy goals that entailed using the UN as "a secondary component of our foreign policy," i.e. we will use the UN when it suits us while flaunting its authority and remaining unaccountable to its laws throught blatant unilateralism.

Bolton has even been quoted as saying, "there is no United Nations, only a loose syndicate of nation-states." With this in mind, it is some wonder why such a bellicose bean counter would even want the job as UN Ambassador.

After all, as Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) pointed out in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, how can Bolton work with an institution that he doesn't even believe exists? The Center for American Progress has more details:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on John
Bolton's nomination to the U.N. this afternoon. Bolton's questionable diplomatic
skills, shoddy record on security and overall temperament clearly indicate that
he is not the right person to represent the United States at the world's leading

Bolton's inability to accept facts when they challenge his agenda has
caused serious harm to American security. Bolton sought to replace two CIA
analysts who would not support his agenda on Cuba and has blocked intelligence
which didn't conform to his personal policy views in other areas.

On multiple occasions, Bolton refused to forward information vital to U.S. strategies on Iran to Secretary Powell, delaying intelligence from getting through for weeks or, in some instances, not at all.

Bolton's management style and temperament are highly suspect for the world's leading deliberative body. As Senator Chuck Hagel, a leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee , stated this weekend: "I have been troubled with more and more allegations, revelations, coming about his style, his method of operation," adding, "to intimidate or bully people is something that is not what we want in our government, especially at the very senior, responsible, high-level positions."

Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff for Bolton's previous boss, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, weighed in on Bolton's qualifications: "Do I think John Bolton would make a good ambassador to the United Nations? Absolutely not…He is incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views. He would be an abysmal ambassador."

Bolton has shown a disdain for diplomacy throughout his career. As Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton heightenedexisting tensions with Iran and North Korea and failed to stop their their attempts to develop nuclear weapons programs.

In both cases, Bolton preferred to insult and degrade rather than finding real solutions to genuine proliferation concerns. His inability to function as true diplomat has hindered America's security efforts.

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