Bolton is not a good fit for United Nations
August 1, 2005
Winners don’t like to lose. There may be no better illustration of this than President George W. Bush. He has continually pushed his political initiatives against strong opposition, his steadfast will prevailing nearly every time. He does not give up.
So faced with the stalled nomination of John Bolton to be the next United Nations ambassador, Bush bypassed the Senate and installed the controversial pick via a recess appointment.
One cannot fault a leader for wanting the people of his choice to fill important positions, but there is a reason the Founding Fathers empowered the Senate with “advise and consent” powers over nominations.
In this case, the president would have been better served heeding the message coming out of the divided Senate, instead of appointing Bolton out of spite over the impasse.
Opposition to Bolton centers mostly on his brusque attitude unbecoming to a diplomat and on accusations of pressuring intelligence officials.
His nomination almost didn’t make it out of committee after Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, declared his opposition. The White House then refused to hand over documents requested by Senate Democrats concerning Bolton’s interaction with intelligence agencies, leading to the delay and recess appointment.
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And while Bush can claim victory, the effect of his winning is a loss for the country. Bolton advances to the U.N. as damaged goods, without the backing he needs to be an effective representative of the United States.
The United Nations is a body that works on consensus and compromise, which are words seemingly absent from the vocabulary of Bolton and the Bush administration.
The U.N. does not take kindly to bullies. Just like Nikita Kruschev’s infamous table pounding, Bolton’s hard-nosed attitude is likely to produce little progress.
Bolton has less than a year and a half to prove he’s the right person for the United Nations before his recess appointment runs out. With international terrorism and the war in Iraq at the top of his to-do list, he has an uphill climb. We wish him luck, but we also wish it hadn’t come to this.
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