Can’t Let Bolton Go By
I can’t let John Bolton’s nomination as Ambassador to the UN go by unnoticed. Liberal Democrats were so happy when Bob Zoellick was named Deputy Secretary of State instead of Bolton. The Republicans played the public affairs angle well. Condi Rice got some credit for not being a dyed in the wool neo-con while she went to Europe to make goo-goo eyes at Chirac and company. But it was all a farce. The Bush administration showed its true colors by naming Bolton to an even more visible foreign policy job than Deputy Secretary.
I don’t think it bodes well for the US. I don’t think Bolton is very smart despite his two degrees from Yale. Yale has turned out some pretty poor scholars, starting with “W.” However, I think the main trouble with W may be that he is lazy; he doesn’t like to do his homework. Thousands died on 9/11 because he was not minding the store. Similarly, Bolton’s problem is not so much that he is stupid — he may not be — but that he is an unquestioning ideologue. He knows what he thinks; don’t confuse him with the facts.
The upshot is that Bolton has done a poor job of controlling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction during the first four years of the Bush administration. Iraq didn’t have any, but crying “Wolf!” on Iraq has undermined our credibility on dealing with more serious non-proliferation countries, such as North Korea and Iran.
Will he do any better at the UN than he did handling arms control? I doubt it, especially since he will be dealing with people and institutions that he has already insulted. He started his crusade against the UN while he was Assistant Secretary for International Organizations (the UN) during the Bush I administration. He has a long history of working against the UN as one of the main US policy makers on UN issues.
It’s interesting that one of Bolton’s main accomplishments cited by Condi Rice during his previous stint working on UN issues was blocking the Arab “Zionism is racism” resolution at the UN. I think there is at least a racist component to Zionism. If not, why do Israelis discriminate between Arabs and Jews? It’s a commonly accepted thesis, most recently by the mayor of London. So, Bolton gets no points from me for defeating that resolution.