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Thursday, April 14, 2005

John Bolton

(also found in: The Dartmouth)
"Sending [John Bolton] to New York would be like sending Nixon to China … it will be more like sending the bull into a China shop," Senator Joseph Biden, D-Del., said at the hearings of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding George Bush's nomination of Bolton to be the U.S. representative to the United Nations.

John Bolton is the worst possible candidate for the job. Before I explain, a little background on Bolton is necessary.

Bolton has served the last four years as the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs.

He has been involved in the unilateralist Proliferation Security Initiative, the unsuccessful Moscow Treaty, and the G-8 global partnership against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

He is an expert on non-proliferation and a loyal follower of the Bush Administration.

Taking all that into account, Bush's nominee has made almost as many momentous fumbles as the President.

He is quoted as saying that "there's no such thing as the U.N." He claims that the international community can only be led by the world's last remaining power, the United States. He believes that we do not need the approval or support of other nations; we only get their support when it suits our interests.

Throughout his career, Bolton has displayed such blind hubris. Even his supporters, such as Ambassador Kirkpatrick, have stated that he "is not a diplomat." In short, John Bolton is one of the most vocal critics of the United Nations and has no loyalty for the institution to which he is being nominated.

Fortunately, I am not alone opposing his nomination. Every Democrat on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has indicated his or her intent to reject John Bolton's nomination. Further, 59 former diplomats stand against Bolton. They sent a letter to Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Richard Lugar expressing their opposition, which can be found on

Notably, Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz's signature is absent from the list. Perhaps this opinion piece will prompt him to voice his opinion.

The imminent reform of the U.N. will require strong U.S. leadership. While Bolton is a strong leader, he lacks proper direction. A man who believes that there is no such thing as a U.N. is no one to reform the U.N. towards more relevance.

While Kofi Annan's reform proposals include enlarging the Security Council, Bolton believes that the Security Council should only have one permanent member, the United States.

Even worse is Bolton's view on international law. Specifically, he says that "Treaties are 'law' only for U.S. domestic purposes. In their international operation, treaties are simply political obligations." Imagine Bolton voicing these views at the U.N. He would tell the world that the U.S. is not bound by international law, that it needs no allies, and that if it were up to him, the U.N. wouldn't exist. Such is the nature of the beast we are sending to represent U.S. to the world.

Let me summarize. The U.N. is a forum of cooperation and diplomacy. John Bolton is a unilateralist. The U.N. needs reform. John Bolton is fundamentally opposed to expanding the power of the world's most accepted peacemaker. The U.N. needs a leader. John Bolton will coerce and will not be followed. The U.N. is an instrument of cooperation and a beacon of hope for a more peaceful and less tense world. John Bolton sees the world as full of danger, not full of hope.

Ultimately, the U.N. embodies all which John Bolton is not.

In his style and rhetoric he will alienate, not reconcile, the U.N. delegates.

At a time when the Bush Administration is mending bridges with the world it cannot afford a bridge-burner to act as its voice to the international community.


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