Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bull in a China Shop

On Monday, President Bush nominated John R. Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Just a few weeks ago, Bolton's ouster from his position as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security was being viewed as a sign that the neo-cons would have less influence in the second Bush Administration. Throughout his career, Bolton has repeatedly expressed nothing but contempt for the U.N. and its work. As I noted in a comment on a previous post, he was the one who wrecked the U.N.'s effort in 2001 to regulate the international trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW).

The Guardian stated, "European hopes that the Bush administration would bring a more multilateral approach to its foreign policy were dealt a blow yesterday with the nomination of an outspoken hawk as America's ambassador to the UN." It also noted that Bolton said in a public address eleven years ago, "The secretariat building in New York has 38 storeys. If it lost 10 storeys, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." According to the BBC, Bolton "has in the past been quoted as saying there is no such thing as the United Nations."

Bolton has been implacably hostile toward the International Criminal Court. In the Winter 2001 issue of Law and Contemporary Problems, Bolton wrote, "America's posture toward the ICC should be 'Three Noes': no financial support, directly or indirectly; no cooperation; and no further negotiations with other governments to 'improve' the ICC. Such a policy cannot entirely eliminate the risks posed by the ICC, but it can go a long way in that direction." He reportedly asked to be permitted to sign the letter "unsigning" the Rome Statute for the ICC in May 2001 and said that doing so was "the happiest moment of my government service."

Finally, here's Bolton's view of the Security Council: “If I were doing the Security Council today, I’d have one permanent member because that’s the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world.”

Clearly, John Bolton perfectly embodies this administration's values. As Press Secretary Scott McClellan said on Monday, “The person that he has selected to nominate to the position of Ambassador to the United Nations is someone that shares the President’s strong commitment to making sure that multilateral organizations are effective.” Okay.