It looks like the nomination of John Bolton to be the U.S ambassador to the United Nations is preparing to be an even more challenging nomination than the Alberto Gonzalez nomination was, fueled upon the torture issue.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that every Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to reject John Bolton's nomination to be US ambassador to the United Nations. This would mark the first time that committee Democrats unanimously opposed a diplomatic selection by President Bush. It could also put Bush's nomination in peril if any Republicans defected to vote against Bolton.
Several groups opposed to Bolton have even launched campaigns to urge Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island to vote against his nomination.
The intense opposition to the nomination comes out of Bolton's history of U.N criticism and bashing.
Take, for instance, his visit to “The Global Structures Convocation.” on February 3, 1994 in New York:
“The point that I want to leave with you in this very brief presentation is where I started, is that there is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that's the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along. And I think it would be a real mistake to count on the United Nations as if it is some disembodied entity out there that can function on its own."
"The League of Nations was a failure because the United States did not participate. The United Nations would be a failure if the United States did not participate and, in fact, I remember as vividly as though it were yesterday, right after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Jim Baker said to me, we’re going to make this United Nations work, or we’re going to find out whether it is the League Nations or the UN. And that's the fact. And if you don't like it, then I’m sorry. The United States makes the UN work when it wants it to work, and that is exactly the way it should be, because the only question, the only question for the United States is what is in our national interest. And if you don't like that, I’m sorry, but that is the fact."
"If you think that there is any possibility in this country that a 51,000 person bureaucracy is going to be supported by most Americans, you better think again. The Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today it wouldn't make a bit of difference. The United Nations is one of the most inefficient inter-governmental organizations going. UNESCO is even worse. And others go down hill from there. The fact of the matter is that the international system that has grown up, and again, I leave out the World Bank and the IMF because I do think that they're in a separate category, has been put into a position of hiring ineffective people who do ineffective things that have no real world impact, and we pay 25% of the budget."
For years John Bolton has attacked and mocked the United Nations, and opposed most of the activities in arms control and related activities that have been supported by the vast majority of the members of the United Nations. Some believe he has made a career from opposing multilateral approaches to international affairs, and may arguably be the symbol of the American unilateralist.
So, should the Democrats be uniting in opposition to Bolton being nominated, and what sort of effect may this have on the national debate of international relations in general?
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"