Friday, May 27, 2005

My thoughts on John Bolton

I've mostly stayed away from this one, partly because others have said it much better than I ever could. But...I feel moved today to make a few remarks about John Bolton and his singular unsuitability to be our voice at the United Nations.

Let's start with some "facts" up-front. First, I am a big supporter of the United Nations. Is it a perfect institution? No. Has it been what Roosevelt/Truman wanted it to be? At times yes...but for the most part, something rather less than that (though, in their defense, the Cold War interfered with that). Do I think that the General Assembly (in particular) tends to be anti-Israel and anti-America, and that France and Great Britain do not deserve permanent/veto seats on the Security Council? Absolutely. I'm in favor of, at the moment, adding Germany to the Security Council as a permanent member - and once the EU Constituion is ratified by enough nations, I would be in favor of France and Germany's seats being combined into a single EU seat, with veto power (no way does the UK ratify that constitution). That said...the UN has been a powerful voice for 'good' in the world for over 50 years now - and I think that with some improvements...can be even better in the future.

Second, I've felt that the GOP has often used the UN as a 'whipping boy' because of all the paranoid Christianist worries over a "one world government" and the "end times." Moreover, the GOP has slowly become the party of unilateral action - the "we can and should do anything we want, screw the world" idea. Most of this has been unjustified - the UN has simply proved to be a convienent scapegoat for when the rest of the world doesn't unanimously agree with our bad policy decisions. We've terribly underfunded the organization - largely by not paying the dues we owe by ratified treaty (aka...United States law). And we have not used our influence there (or have actively worked counter to it) to handle difficult problems in the world that the UN was trying to take care of (Yugoslavia...not once, but three or four times, Rwanda, the Congo, Rhodesia, South Africa, Ireland, etc.).

Third, even I'm not naive enough to think that our ambassador to the UN is anything more than a largely ceremonial position - at most...that person acts as the mouthpiece for the current administration's foreign policy decisions and directives. There are few opportunities for independent action and the odds are far less than any other ambassador that you'll get a major say in things...

That said...

The position is a cabinet level position and should be considered as a major member of the administration's foreign policy team (along with SecState, NSA, defense dept, CIA, FBI, etc.). And it is for this reason that John Bolton is singularly unqualified for the position. Not only is he a bully, mean, cruel, antagonistic, and very likely an absolute jerk of a human being...not only did he fail to receive a letter of recommendation from his boss, former SecState Colin Powell...but...we're talking about a man who has advocated nothing less than a US pullout from the UN and the dismantling of it into something that was more or less toothless and pointless.

So...lemme get this straight...our ambassador to an organization is someone who has advocated it's dissolution? And this is supposed to reassure the world that we're not some sort of psychotic rogue state who will do whatever it wants whenever it wants? What kind of message are we trying to send to the world..."f*ck off?"

Utterly retarded nomination. Boggles the mind. This administration's arrogance is so unprecidented. *sigh*

The good news is that...Democrats are starting to learn that standing together...they can fight Bush's extremist agenda. They can get the moderates who are uncomfortable with it to block portions of the domestic agenda. Now we can start on foreign policy. And...perhaps...we'll learn next year that parties that stand against an agenda the public is against can be rewarded. We're learning. I'm actually almost sorry that the nuclear option petered out - think of the backlash in the public against the GOP? Already...we have a ton of ammunition against the Republicans for next year. If we can keep in the game...we can take back Congress. We're far less behind than the GOP was in 1994. Think about it...if we can just get one house of Congress..."subpoena power."

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