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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Senate Takes Bolton to Task

Here's a much more auspicious update on the John Bolton nomination proceedings from the Center for American Progress:
In a surprise turn of events yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations committee decided to postpone the scheduled vote on the nomination of John Bolton to allow for further review of new allegations about Mr. Bolton's fitness for the UN ambassadorship.

Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH), who had remained quiet during the hearing, came forward and said he wanted more time to look into allegations, saying: "I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton."

The Senate should use the additional time to get the bottom of the following questions:

Why did Bolton seek the names of 10 different U.S. officials directly involved or discussed in highly secretive NSA communications?

The identities of American officials whose communications are intercepted are protected by law, and access to the names may be authorized by the NSA only in response to special requests.

Bolton has refused to explain who the 10 officials were and why he sought information about their communications.

Does Bolton have the personal control necessary to carry out important diplomatic duties? Allegations of Bolton's intimidation and bullying of subordinates continue to mount and demand further investigation.

According to staff at Bolton's old law firm, Covington & Burlington, Bolton was "not invited to return" to his law firm because of "abusive treatment of subordinates there."

Also, a woman working for the U.S. Agency for International Development has reported that when Bolton was a private lawyer for an AID subcontractor, Bolton allegedly threatened her, threw documents at her and was "genuinely behaving like a madman." Her story has been corroborated by two witnesses.

At a time when America's reputation in the world is in desperate need of repair, is it wise to send a man to the UN who has questionable diplomatic and managerial skills?

All of these investigations paint a picture of Bolton as someone drastically lacking the personal and professional comportment required to serve as the UN ambassador.

The nomination of Bolton seriously undermines US efforts to repair our relations with key allies and show the world that America is an honest broker in world affairs.
If my calculations are correct, this means that 8 Democrats and 3 Republicans have joined forces against Bolton, more than enough to prevent his presentation to the full Senate confirmation vote.

Perhaps the forces of conservatism have subsided at least for the moment.

This is a tremendously encouraging victory for progressives. Although the Senate spinelessly nominated the torture czar Alberto Gonzales and the incompetent Condoleezza Rice despite well-organized opposition, it appears that even reasonably conservative Republicans like George Voinovich and Chuck Hagel (88% and 85% approval ratings with the conservative Federalist Society, respectively) are at last letting the egregious facts on Bush's nominee speak for themselves.

In addition this is a victory for the United Nations and for multilateralism as a whole. The Senate's almost certain rejection of Bolton will assuage world opinion to some extent, as it will show that the majority of Americans are not belligerent, antagonistic, and irreconcillable fools unwilling to collaborate on global foreign policy.

This will also send a message to the Bush Administration that although they have a strong hand in Congress, the American people will not stand idly by as browbeating bureaucrats lay waste to international institutions.

Thankfully, a disaster of great proportions at the UN has seemingly been averted due to bipartisan cooperation.

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