Thoughts of an American Centrist

Sunday, June 05, 2005

John Bolton: Knee Breaker Extraordinaire

In case you haven't been reading the news, (but, by some bizarre reshuffling of priorities, have been reading my blog), what may turn out to be the most damaging charges yet have surfaced against John Bolton:

John R. Bolton flew to Europe in 2002 to confront the head of a global arms-control agency and demand he resign, then orchestrated the firing of the unwilling diplomat in a move a U.N. tribunal has since judged unlawful, according to officials involved.

A former Bolton deputy says the U.S. undersecretary of state felt Jose Bustani "had to go," particularly because the Brazilian was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad. That might have helped defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and undermined a U.S. rationale for war.

Bustani, who says he got a "menacing" phone call from Bolton at one point, was removed by a vote of just one-third of member nations at an unusual special session of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at which the United States cited alleged mismanagement in calling for his ouster.

Bottom line: John Bolton got a guy fired for trying to learn the truth.

This man is showing a pattern of abuse. If he doesn’t agree with you, he’ll take you down not through informed debate or discrediting your opinion, not even by clever political manipulation to build a majority consensus, but by brute force. Bolton got a guy fired for trying to find out what was really going on with Iraq’s WMD program. This man has been making enemies at the UN for the past 25 years, yet he’s the public face we want to show the world?

As usual, Joe Gandelman has a great roundup, and some pretty bitter comments from Bolton supporters! I’d like to address those supporters now.

The two main arguments the Bolton-boosters have for trying to ram this sociopath into the UN post are:

  • He has tremendous diplomatic experience
  • The UN is in need of a tough nosed reformer.

As to the first argument, yes, Bolton is a lifetime diplomat, and extremely familiar with the trappings and protocol of international negotiations. That still does not change the fact that his very long and impressive resume is completely negated by his complete and utter inability to build consensus, garner respect, or work within a company of equals. Bolton’s long list of qualifications will not amount to a hill of beans when the rest of the UN delegates shut him out of the process.

As to the second point, the American Centrist fully believes that real reform is long past due at the UN. Among which are:

  • There needs to be greater outside oversight and strengthened rules of accountability for crimes committed under the guise of the United Nations.
  • Permanent seats on the council need to be reshuffled (there’s no reason why France should still have a permanent seat while Japan, China, India, and Germany are shut out).
  • There absolutely must be a way to expedite the expenditure of UN capital and personnel to emergency situations such the one going on right now in Darfur, Sudan.
  • A new culture needs to be introduced so that Security Council Resolutions have consequences instead of just rhetoric.

All these reforms need to be enacted, but a narcissistic, stubborn, bullying belittler like John Bolton cannot get the job done. A reformer needs to have the respect of both his allies and his own country; John Bolton will have neither. How can you be the reformer if you are also the UN’s inside joke?

People who agree with me