Bolton lightning: “Today’s nomination hearings on John Bolton, the man [Bush] has picked to represent the US at the UN, promise to be lively. Of all Bush’s second term appointments, this has ignited most controversy … Most memorably, he once said it would not make a bit of difference if the UN headquarters building lost 10 storeys.” Updated below. Add your comments below …
Update [2005-4-11 8:32:48 by susanhbu]:

TALKING POINTS from the Center for American Progress Fund:


Bolton: Wrong for the UN


April 11, 2005

The Senate begins hearings today on John Bolton, President Bush’s choice for Ambassador to the United Nations.  Bolton is clearly the wrong person for the job.  His record on international security efforts shows a striking indifference to serious threats facing the U.S. today and contradicts his oath to best protect the American people.


Bolton ignored his responsibility to stop the spread of dangerous nuclear weapons and materials.  As Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton killed an international ban of the production of nuclear materials and opposes the international ban on nuclear testing.  According to a Harvard University study published last September, under Bolton’s direction, “less fissile materials were secured in the two years after Sept 11 than in the two years before.”  Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment summarized Bolton’s dangerous and ineffective nonproliferation record as follows:  “Bolton has been totally unapologetic about his radical prescription for dealing with the proliferation threat. The main problem is that it hasn’t worked anywhere.”

Bolton cared little about the spread of nuclear expertise to terrorists by Pakistani weapons dealer A.Q. Khan.  Although Khan was put under house arrest for allegedly putting two nuclear scientists in touch with Osama bin Laden, Bolton seemed to care little to find out what type of nuclear information might have been passed to America’s mortal enemy. Asked by a House panel in March 2004 whether the U.S. had sought access to Dr. Khan, Bolton responded: “We have not asked for access to Mr. Khan, nor do we think we should.”

Bolton failed to take the nuclear threat from Iran seriously.  Since revelations about the scope of Iran’s secret nuclear program first emerged in late 2003, Bolton has shown little willingness to deal with the issue.  Bolton scorned the very notion of diplomacy with Iran, telling a European conference on the issue, “I don’t do carrots.” President Bush says America should “work with friends” to deal with Iran, but the administration has refused to participate in European led talks, and failed to forge any coherent Iran policy.


From The Guardian:

As today’s Washington Post points out, Bolton, as the administration’s point man on weapons of mass destruction, has worked to reverse decades of US non-proliferation and arms control policies in the past four years. Bolton believes that arms treaties established since the second world war only limit US power and infringe on US sovereignty.

The Democrats could make life difficult for Bolton at today’s senate hearings. One line of political attack has already emerged. Democrats plan to go into accusations that Bolton is alleged to have tried to get two intelligence analysts fired after they appeared soft on Cuba with assessments that contradicted his position.


Bolton does have his fans though. Don Bandow of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington thinks that the UN, because of the mess it’s in, needs a serious critic like Bolton, who also understands the institution. One thing is for sure, the sparks will fly in this musty institution if Bolton gets the appointment. Less certain though is whether his blunderbuss approach is going to be effective in bringing the reform the UN badly needs.

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