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« More On The Babe Theory of Political Movements. | WILLisms.com | Better Late Than Never: Europe Listens to Euro-Bush. »

John Bolton Doesn't Do Carrots.

When John Bolton was announced as President Bush's choice to become America's new UN Ambassador, knee-jerk sentiments popped out of the mouths and keyboards of liberals everywhere.

johnbolton.gif

They reflexively screamed things like:

"NEOCON!"

and

"BUT, HE HATES THE UN! HE WANTS TO DESTROY IT!"

Matthew Rothschild, in "John Bolton, Neoconman," writes:

I hope you're enjoying the second term of the Cheney Administration.

If you needed any more evidence that Cheney and the neocons are running the show, look no further than John Bolton....

Bolton is part of the cabal that is now running U.S. foreign policy.

As undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, Bolton was known as Powell's minder at the State Department, the neocon mole who reported back to Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz if Powell was straying too far from their agenda.

Ah, the neocon cabal. Gotta love that cabal reference. Always relevant, it seems.

Oh, but there's more. Geov Parrish argues that Bolton's

...nomination is impossible to view as anything but a shot across the bow of the U.N. in particular and international diplomacy in general, a warning that the Bushies will do as they please and to hell with international allies or sensibilities.

Over the past four years, Bolton has played a key role in the shadow government, and in particular the shadow intelligence-gathering and vetting mechanism, set up by Vice President Dick Cheney. Bolton, a Cheney protégé, ran through his department something called the Office of Special Plans in Defense, a renegade group that laid out plans for the invasion of Iraq long before a case had been made to the American public.

Ooh, a shadow government. Sounds dark and conspiratorial. And Cheney, that rascal is behind it all!

Molly Ivins, via The Guerilla News Network, in "Move Up the Date For Armageddon," explains:

I must confess, I have sadly underestimated the Bush administration’s sense of humor. Appointing John Bolton ambassador to the United Nations: Boffo! What a laff riot! Hilarious comedy, a delicious romp, great setup for a sitcom.

Bolton is known for being arrogant, humorless, self-righteous and confrontational, and he hates the United Nations. In other words, the perfect diplomat.

Speaking of setups, would the joke be half as good if President Bush hadn’t just returned from a tour of Europe during which he assured our allies he was anxious to improve international cooperation? There, he was promising Europeans old and new that we’d turned a new page, we want nothing more than consultation, cooperation, being buddy-buddy. And then he names Bolton ambassador (oh, ha ha) to the United Nations (ha, ha, ha).

Ivins is cracking up, before our very eyes.

Listing Bolton as one of the President's "cronies" (a word truly indicative of a lot of critical thought), The Truth About George explains Bolton's opposition to the International Criminal Court as if it were a bad thing.

So, yeah, clear disdain for Bolton from the left.

What was Bolton's offense?

Mostly just sticking up for U.S. interests, plus his criticism of failing international institutions.

On the other hand, Cathryn J. Prince of The Christian Science Monitor writes, in "Tough-talking Bolton: just what the UN needs":

Many Americans rightly have little faith in the organization that sits on the East River in New York City. So it's refreshing to think the UN might soon have someone in its midst who will have the moral courage to speak plainly. For far too long Washingtonhas been appointing ambassadors who sugarcoat the truth. Bolton has shown he will not mince words....

At this time, the UN needs to hear and act on tough talk if it is going to retain any credibility.

In a world where nations with not so good intentions either have or are developing nuclear arms, where Congo and the Sudan are erupting in murderous civil strife, where poverty in Africa is killing nearly 20,000 people a day, Bolton just might be the one to restore some integrity and value to Woodrow Wilson's international ideal.

Meanwhile, The Weekly Standard has this to say about Bolton:

("I don't do carrots" he famously said, when asked about taking a carrot-and-stick approach to North Korea.) One might call him prescient. But many Democrats and newspaper editorials are lamenting his nomination. Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid called the nomination a "disappointing choice." A Los Angeles Times editorial called it a "severe setback" to Bush administration diplomacy. Kerry said the nomination was "inexplicable." Senate Democrats last week gave every indication that they intend to fight the nomination....

Fighting for Bolton has a strong political upside for the Bush administration, particularly if Democrats position themselves as defenders of the U.N. against U.S. efforts to reform it. According to a Rasmussen poll released on February 17, only 37 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the U.N.

inexplicable.gif

Also noteworthy in the Standard article are these comments, written by Bolton in 1997:

Some Americans simply want to withdraw from the United Nations, believing that it can never really be fixed. I understand the frustrations and disappointments that lead to that view, even though I disagree with it. We should tell the world community instead, "Let's make one last effort to put things right in the U.N. And make no mistake, our patience is not unlimited."

Bolton is a far more nuanced intellectual than the left is caricaturing him as. He is also more qualified to promote the Bush Doctrine, the guiding value that won the President reelection, at the UN, than any other individual today. He is a first-rate appointment and nothing less.

Take this piece, written by Bolton in 2000 on Taiwan, for example. He has a sharp mind and a vast store of experience and knowledge.

David Keene has serious qualms about calling Bolton a "neoconservative," explaining:

The idea of Democrats' mounting a filibuster to stop Bolton on the grounds that he has too steadfastly stood up for his country's interests over a long and distinguished career and that he has not expressed the total faith in the UN and world opinion that so dominates their actions is something that only someone as out of touch as Kerry could even contemplate....

In a critical piece on him a couple of years ago, the New Republic suggested that when he speaks one hears echoes not of today's trendy "neo-conservatives" but of Jesse Helms and Barry Goldwater.

Helms was, in fact, a strong critic of the UN, but he also saved the UN from extinction during the 1990s. At the Helms Center in North Carolina, one of the centerpieces of the Senator's legacy is a large and prominent tribute to his UN reforms. Helms was proud to save the UN from itself. Whether Bolton is a "neo-con" or a regular conservative doesn't matter much to liberals. To the left-wing, Bolton's unequivocal promotion of America and its values over the decades has earned him a negative classification.

Amity Shlaes has a great take on the Bolton and Wolfowitz double-team:

Multilateralists around the globe ought to be thrilled about these choices. These men are not going to endanger the future of the UN or the World Bank. Those futures are already in danger. Rather, the new candidates may turn out to be the institutions' salvation. For both men are strong enough to bring about change when change is necessary. Theodore Roosevelt gets cited too often in the context of the Bush administration but this time the comparison is apt. "Speak softly and carry a big stick." If Messrs Bolton and Wolfowitz get their jobs, they will practise muscular diplomacy....

As for Mr Bolton, as assistant secretary of state in the early 1990s, he successfully completed what was probably the least desired job in the federal government: walking around Manhattan's East Side knocking on individual embassy doors to beg for signatures for the repeal of "Zionism is Racism".

The Washington Times notes a tough battle ahead, but ultimately Bolton is perfect for the job, because the UN's credibility at present is so damaged:

Sen. Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, said Mr. Bolton is the right man to push the United Nations from within to restore its credibility.

"Oil-for-food tarred that credibility. I think in Bolton you get somebody who wants to make sure the U.N. is working with us to do the right thing," Mr. Coleman said.

normcoleman.gif

Meanwhile, National Review calls the selections of Bolton, Wolfowitz, and Hughes, a winning trifecta.

And they are. While liberals think the President must be playing some kind of practical joke on them, what's really happening is the President is installing his people into critical positions. The President believes in international institutions, but he wants to make them work on behalf of the interests of the United States. The President wants to make them work on behalf of the universal ideal of freedom.

President Bush also wants to make institutions like the UN and World Bank work, period. At present, the UN's dysfunction is responsible for proliferation and instability; the UN has very little credibility when it issues sanctions. After all, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and others have been under UN sanction at one point or another but have continued their weapons programs, unimpeded.

President Bush, in nominating John Bolton, is sending a clear signal to the UN:
SHAPE UP.

The UN can be effective, but as it is structured today, it is counterproductive to its mission(s). Bolton is on a mission to apply some tough love to the UN. The UN must clean up its act.

Otherwise, why should we be a part of it? Why should anyone?

Expect a tough nomination battle. Expect Democrats to try to discredit Bolton. Expect grandstanding. But expect for Bolton to the pass Senate's inspection. Bolton's task, knocking some sense into the dilapidated UN, will be almost impossible, but it is worth a shot.

UPDATE:

OpinionJournal has more today (March 22):

Mr. Bolton will bring a sharp focus to corruption, waste and left-wing ideology at the U.N.--precisely the matters the U.N. would rather not dwell on. His supporters insist he'll serve, once confirmed, in the tradition of Ambassadors Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick, both sharp critics of the U.N. Mr. Bolton, however, is even more hostile to business-as-usual at the U.N. than they were, is considerably more conservative, and is a tough political operative besides.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 March 2005 08:40 PM

Comments

I am just trying to think... hmm ... Let's see now! Why do we like the United Nations? Hmmm...

Posted by: Zsa zsa at March 22, 2005 04:58 AM

3 cheers for the cabal! We have been givint the UN carrots for 50 years and what have we got? Butros Butros and Kofi?! It is past time for a "shot across the bow".
The UN has been corrupt for so many decades it may be beyond hope. But if it can be salvaged there is none better for the job than Bolton.

Posted by: Rod Stanton at March 22, 2005 08:58 AM

Just discovered your babes post yesterday and linked. Now today I find a comprehensive Bolton post. You are one seious dude!

Posted by: Ralph at March 22, 2005 10:08 AM