May 12, 2005

Diplomats Hide Your Staplers

John Bolton received the approval of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today in a vote that represented a Pyrrhic victory for the Bush Administration. In a strictly party line vote, Bolton received 10 votes in favor of sending the nomination to the Senate floor and 8 against. However, Senator Voinovich voted against endorsing candidate Bolton, meaning Bolton will face the full Senate vote without the endorsement of the committee. Although the senator ultimately voted in favor of the nomination, he was quick to point out that it was not because he believed Bolton should get the post. Senator Voinovich declared that it would be arrogant of him to prevent the full Senate body from voting on the nomination while conceding that Bolton might do more harm than good at the UN by alienating the other members, implying that he'll vote against Bolton next round.

The appointment of John Bolton as the US representative to the United Nations flouts campaign promises made to Americans, in which the Republican Party pledged to pursue a multilateral foreign policy this term. It makes me so angry that Bush made all these promises about trying to improve the US image abroad and then nominates a man like Bolton to represent us at the UN. How can a man who advocated halting all payments to the UN be expected to represent the interests of Americans who, by and large, support the UN? Furthermore, Bolton has publicly denounced numerous international treaties that would promote arms control (wasn't the ultimate goal of the UN to end war?). Moreover, I have numerous ethical objections to Bolton's appointment. The Washington Post reported that he had been on the payroll of Taiwan while ironically advocating that Taiwan be admitted to the UN, an organization which he claims does not exist. Bolton's intimidation tactics, used to remove dissenters in the State Department or block them from attending meetings, are public knowledge now. In May 2002, Bolton spoke that, not only was Cuba developing biological weapons, but sharing these developments with other nations hostile to the US. Bolton made these claims without any evidence. This assertion was later discredited by several officials within the US Intelligence Community, concluding a situation which eerily mimics the tactics used to draw the US into Iraq. Is it crazy to think that someone who throws staplers at the heads of US AID workers might not have the tact necessary for the most important diplomatic post in our country?

I strongly believe that Bolton is not the right man for this job. With all the evidence we have now, it just boggles my mind that he has so much support within the GOP. Sure the UN has problems but we need a uniter, not a divider if reform has any chance of being successful. Even though I maintain my skepticism regarding possibility of dissent within the Republican rank and file, I can only hope that Senator Voinovich's remarks are emblematic of fissures developing in Senate Republican unity that have been more prevalent in Bush's second term.

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