President Bush?s choice for United Nations ambassador is John Bolton, a tough-talking conservative aligned with administration hawks who has alienated several countries in the last few years by his comments. This appointment is another sign that the Bush administration is not receptive to world opinion and has little regard for the United Nations.Bolton was nominated for the position of United Nations ambassador by the president in the beginning of March and has a career of working with conservative administrations. Under Reagan, he worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and he also worked with former president Bush as Assistant Secretary of State in International Affairs.
Over the last four years, Bolton has worked closely with Bush administration hawks, serving as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs within the State Department.
After Bolton?s nomination as United Nations ambassador, the New York Times described Bolton as close in his views to Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld: two men seen as the driving force for the war in Iraq, caring little for world opinion and dissent against the war.
Bolton seems just as polarizing to the world as Cheney and Rumsfeld but administration hawks pushed for his nomination. “A top Republican policy official close to the administration said that it was well understood that Mr. Bolton might alienate Europeans, but Mr. Cheney had pushed for him for
the United Nations job,” the New York Times said in the beginning of March.
In serving under the current administration for the last four years, Bolton?s outrageous comments have shut down diplomatic talks, while sparking tension with threatening countries, such as North Korea.
Diplomatic talks between the United States and North Korea ceased in August 2003, when Bolton referred to Kim Jong II, North Korea?s leader, as a “tyrannical dictator.” He also stated that life under the ruler is a “hellish nightmare,” according to the MSNBC Web site after Bolton was nominated.
It is true that Kim Jong II is a cruel tyrant, but insulting leaders during talks will not encourage any menacing country to disarm their nuclear weapons. Bolton fails at keeping his cool, and after his comments, North Korea refused to negotiate any further, and are pressing forward with their nuclear program.
Bolton?s most startling comments were made about the United Nations a few years ago. In a 1994 speech, USA Today and other sources reported him saying, “If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn?t make a bit of difference.”
With such previous disdain for the United Nations, how could Bolton serve as a decent ambassador and reach out to countries of the world?
The nomination of Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations will also soon create another fierce battle on Capital Hill, since his nomination was vocally opposed by Democrats, as it should be. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, was shocked at Bolton?s nomination, and said that Bolton?s “stated attitude towards the U.N. gives me great pause,” the MSNBC Web site reported in March.
After weakening and even severing ties with several allies and the United Nations since the war in Iraq began, the Bush administration should be concerned with strengthening ties to other countries and gaining back allies lost. Bolton?s nomination as United Nations ambassador seems more like a slap in the face to the United Nations and the world than an outreach to the world.
Even if he has a decent chance at being nominated for ambassador, Democrats and moderate Republicans should fight Bolton?s nomination and make Americans aware of his narrow-minded views and past comments.
Brian Fanelli is a junior majoring in comparative literature with minors in creative writing and journalism.