If you were sitting in the Oval Office and George W. Bush asked, “Hey, tell me, who could we appoint to the UN ambassador job that would most piss off the UN and the rest of the world,” your job would be quite easy. You would simply say, “That’s a no-brainer, Mr. President, John Bolton.” And on Monday Bush took this no-brain advice and nominated Bolton to the post, which requires Senate confirmation.
Bolton is the rightwing’s leading declaimer of the United Nations. He once said, “If the UN Secretariat building in New York lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” And when the Bush administration failed to persuade the UN to back its war in Iraq, Bolton observed that was “further evidence to many why nothing should be paid to the UN system.”
Bolton has expressed much more vitriol for the UN than those two (representative) remarks, for he has been a UN-basher for years. Sure, the UN has many flaws and deserves reform. But what message does it convey to the UN and the world to send to the UN a fellow who has essentially called for total defunding of the institution? And this move comes right after Bush went to Europe to mend fences and after he has started working closely with France in an admirable effort to push Syria out of Lebanon. The Bolton appointment is unfathomable–except if viewed as a payback to the neocons. This band of Bush-backers were considered the losers when Bolton, formerly an undersecretary at the State Department, was not appointed to the number-two slot at Foggy Bottom when Condoleezza Rice took over the State Department. But this is some consolation prize. Imagine Jerry Falwell being placed in charge of marriage in Massachusetts.
Don’t forget about DAVID CORN’s BLOG at www.davidcorn.com. Read recent postings on the feds pondering whether to regulate blogging, Bush’s budget scams, the AIPAC scandal, Gannongate, a Republican congressman who wants to nuke Syria, and Hunter Thompson.
Bolton’s extremism does not stop at the UN’s front door. A year and a half ago, I described Bolton, who’s widely considered the leading hard-ass of the neocon clan, this way:
Bolton is a hawk’s hawk in the Bush administration. He is the agent conservateurin Colin Powell’s State Department. He has led the administration’s effort against the International Criminal Court. Last year, he single-handedly tried to revise U.S. nuclear policy by asserting that Washington no longer felt bound to state that it would not use nuclear weapons against nations that do not possess nuclear weapons. (A State Department spokesman quickly claimed that Bolton had not said what he had indeed said.) Bolton also claimed that Cuba was developing biological weapons–a charge that was not substantiated by any evidence and that was challenged by experts. In July, he was about to allege in congressional testimony that Syria posed a weapons-of-mass-destruction threat before the CIA and other agencies, which considered his threat assessment to be exaggerated, objected to his statement. When England, France and Germany recently tried to develop a carrot-and-stick approach in negotiating an end to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program, Bolton huffed, “I don’t do carrots.”