Michael Hirsh, of Newsweek, writes up another example of why John Bolton is the worst nominee ever offered to the United States Senate for any office. In addition to being a perjurer, intimidating analysts, going outside the chain of command, chasing women around hotels, and failing to get the recommendation of his superiors at the State Department, Bolton has alienated our only staunch ally in the war on terrorism.
May 2 issue – Colin Powell plainly didn’t like what he was hearing. At a meeting in London in November 2003, his counterpart, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was complaining to Powell about John Bolton, according to a former Bush administration official who was there. Straw told the then Secretary of State that Bolton, Powell’s under secretary for arms control, was making it impossible to reach allied agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Powell turned to an aide and said, “Get a different view on [the Iranian problem]. Bolton is being too tough.”
Unbeknownst to Bolton, the aide then interviewed experts in Bolton’s own Nonproliferation Bureau. The issue was resolved, the former official told NEWSWEEK, only after Powell adopted softer language recommended by these experts on how and when Iran might be referred to the U.N. Security Council. But the terrified State experts were “adamant that we not let Bolton know we had talked to them,” the official said.
The incident illustrates a key allegation that now bedevils Bolton’s nomination to be America’s next ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton’s critics contend that he has consistently taken an extreme and uncompromising line on issues and that he has bullied subordinates and intel analysts who disagreed with him…
…Powell himself, in reported remarks to several senators, expressed worries about Bolton’s temperament. Because the eight Democrats on the 18-person committee are solidly against Bolton, a single GOP defector could kill the nomination when it comes to a vote on May 12…
…But the London story is further evidence that Bolton and the White House have their work cut out for them. On several occasions, America’s closest ally in the war on terror, Britain, was irked by what U.S. and British sources say were efforts by Bolton to undermine promising diplomatic openings. Perhaps the most dramatic instance took place early in the U.S.-British talks in 2003 to force Libya to surrender its nuclear program, NEWSWEEK has learned. The Libya deal succeeded only after British officials “at the highest level” persuaded the White House to keep Bolton off the negotiating team. A crucial issue, according to sources involved in the affair, was Muammar Kaddafi’s demand that if Libya abandoned its WMD program, the U.S. in turn would drop its goal of regime change. But Bolton was unwilling to support this compromise. The White House agreed to keep Bolton “out of the loop,” as one source puts it…
As the Senate hearings continue, the fired-up Democrats are focusing not just on Bolton’s allegedly abusive treatment of intel analysts. They are also examining whether Bolton has told the truth under oath in recent weeks in responding to his critics. And the committee is examining fresh allegations that Bolton misused or hyped flawed intelligence against Syria, China and Iran. The steady rain of complaints about Bolton may or may not finish him, but there’s no sign that the clouds are clearing.
I think Dick Durbin stated the obvious on Fox News Sunday:
“He wants to be our top diplomat at the U.N. but his life has been something less than diplomatic,” Mr. Durbin said. “He wants to work with people around the world. And he couldn’t work with people in his own office. And he’s supposed to be open, as our man at the U.N., to ideas from other people. And he’s been a real tyrant when it came to people he worked with, who disagreed with him. This man doesn’t have the temperament for this job.”
Meanwhile, Bolton’s many enemies keep the allegations coming:
More accusations have surfaced in the United States against the Bush Administration’s controversial nominee for ambassador to the United Nations.
A report in the Boston Globe says John Bolton tried to sack a former staffer in the 1980s, after they disagreed over US policy on infant formula in developing nations.
The staffer told the paper Mr Bolton asked her to persuade delegates from other countries to vote with the United States, to weaken World Health Organisation restrictions on marketing infant formula in the developing world.
When she refused, Mr Bolton is said to have shouted that the main formula producer Nestle was an important company, and that he was giving her a direct order from President Reagan.
It’s far past time for Bush to withdraw Bolton’s name from consideration for the post of Ambassador to the United Nations.