Writing in Bloomberg News, Amity Shlaes argues that the opposition to Ambassador Bolton’s re-nomination is born from a conviction that he does not possess the right temperament for the job. “Doesn’t play well with others,” writes Shlaes. “That’s the charge against John Bolton…. Other UN diplomats don’t like him. They complain about him the way preschool teachers complain about an irritating child — too loud, too pushy.”
With respect to Ms. Shlaes, Bolton’s temperament is not the issue here. Among the many reasons to question the wisdom and utility of Bolton’s re-nomination, the fact that he does not possess the social graces typical of other diplomats in Turtle Bay is beside the point. Rather, questions about Bolton’s nomination are grounded in profoundly substantive critiques of his one year tenure as Ambassador.
UPDATE: From the Better World Campaign: The Partnership for a Secure America, a bi-partisan group of former high ranking foreign policy officials, ran an advertisement in The New York Times calling for strong U.S. leadership at the UN to build consensus on reforms and for continued funding of the organization at this critical time, addressing the vital role the UN is playing to confront global problems and in foster peace. See the advertisement. (pdf)
In case you missed these:
“During the late 1990s, congressional conservatives led by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., vowed to starve the U.N. unless it acceded to a long list of “reforms.” In September 2002, President Bush asserted that the United Nations would become “irrelevant” should it fail to join the U.S. in disarming Iraq. You have to wonder why the U.N. is still in business. The short answer is: Because the United States can’t do without it.
Sebastian Mallaby: “Last month President Bush issued a rare apology. “Saying ‘Bring it on,’ kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal,” he confessed. “I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted.”
Well done, Mr. President, you’ve understood that bluster can backfire. Now how about sharing this insight with your ambassador to the United Nations?”
In his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ambassador Bolton announced that the U.S. is “prepared to consider” a 90-day extension of the spending cap that threatens to disrupt invaluable UN operations at the end of this month.
However, he also acknowledged that “it hasn’t met with a lot of support,” and that “it’s an indication … that we’re not trying to force this to an issue on the 30th [of June].”
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.