Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bolt Bolton out!

After the appointment of Negroponte, I really didn't think things could get any worst. How naive of me! The nomination of John Bolton as the US ambassador to the UN is nothing short of scary. Since my organization does a lot of work on UN issues, the week didn't quite start on the right note for us. Here's a press release we sent out yesterday: BOLTON AS UN AMBASSADOR: THE FOX IS IN THE HEN HOUSE

Some of the stuff that Bolton has said about the UN & international law makes me cringe:

Byron Dorgan (D-ND): “To nominate Mr. John Bolton to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control defies logic...He believes that we should just go it alone, apparently, notwithstanding what others want or say.”

John Kerry (D-MA): “He has belittled the United Nations, referred to supporters of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as neo-pacifists, labeled our closest allies ``appeasers'' for opposing sanctions policy also opposed by Vice President CHENEY, and questioned whether the United States is ever legally bound by its treaty obligations.”

Pat Leahy (D-VT): “He is prone to making confusing statements and using inflammatory rhetoric against those with whom he does not agree…While those of us in politics are used to this sort of thing, effective international diplomacy is not conducted in this manner.”

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM): “Given Mr. Bolton’s position in opposition to key arms control agreements of our time, I'm very concerned that he believes that U.S. unilateralism is the only reliable means to assure our national security.”

Take what you want from this, from Reed (D-RI): “Mr. Bolton also does not seem to have a very high opinion of the United Nations, the organization with which he would have to work closely in developing and maintaining U.S. international security policy. At different points in the past few years, Mr. Bolton has stated that ``If the UN secretary building in NY lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.'' He also stated that the U.S. has no obligation to pay its UN dues because ``The UN Charter is fundamentally a political, not a legal document. On finances it amounts to little more than an `agreement to agree.' '' Despite the fact that the UN may seem bureaucratic and slow to act at times, it is the primary instrument for international cooperation, and I believe U.S. participation is vital to ensure U.S. national security.”

And this, from the late Paul Wellstone (D-MN): John Bolton has asserted (in the 1994 Global Structures Convocation) that ``there is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when its suits our interest and we can get others to go along.'' In today's world, these remarks are inevitably seen by the rest of the world as arrogant, confrontational, and condescending. They make it more difficult for the U.S. to provide world leadership. I would suggest that President Bush find a more inspiring leader to serve in the new Administration.

From Dorgan: ``While treaties may be politically or even morally binding, they are not legally obligatory. They are just not law as we apprehend the term.''

From Leahy: “``Republicans are adults on foreign policy questions, and we define what we're willing to do militarily and politically by what is in the best interests of the United States.'' Leahy then said: “What does this mean? Do Democrats not act in the best interests of the United States? Are Democrats like Lee Hamilton, Sam Nunn, and James Sasser not adults on foreign policy? It is a ludicrous and offensive statement.”