We must fear Bolton’s nomination

By Patrick Burke

Evident from the proceedings of this Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee apparently feels more than a little uneasy about John Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the United Nations. Yet although criticism is hitting Bolton from many different sources in Washington, the Bolton aversion has yet to truly materialize. Some in Washington fear Bolton’s reputation as an uncompromising hard-liner. Others doubt that Bolton possesses the diplomatic skills to function effectively. Critiques of such a general nature against a presidential appointee hardly seem substantial enough to bar his appointment. Perhaps the senators against John Bolton’s appointment have not completely come to terms with the real cause of their concern.

Many of the senators resisting Bolton’s appointment seem to be grappling with as simple of a question as “why Bolton for the U.N.?” It seems that many of these senators do not necessarily doubt John Bolton’s competency in the arena of politics. More specifically, what seems to be suspect to these contentious senators is the Bush administration’s true motives in selecting a man like John Bolton to serve as United States ambassador to the U.N. It is almost as if the senators against Bolton in Washington sense a ploy on the part of the Bush administration hidden within the appointment. Although Bolton’s notorious arrogance and lack of interpersonal skills may not rightfully disqualify him from serving as ambassador to the United Nations, these personality traits certainly do not qualify him either. Even though many would argue that the Bush administration has never made a priority of seeking out the most qualified for the job at hand, Bolton is exceptionally unqualified.

At a time when the agenda of the United States in regard to the U.N. seems to entail reestablishing its reputation without sacrificing certain principles, John Bolton most clearly is not the best man for the job. With his credentials, there is no doubt that Bolton is more than capable of serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on an intellectual level. However, in terms of the repercussions of Bolton’s service in this position, the reputation of the United States will undoubtedly worsen. Herein lies the dilemma of the Bolton nomination. Senators in Washington have faith in his credentials but cannot comprehend the Bush administration’s motive in hurling a time bomb like John Bolton into an institution with which the U.S. is already on terrible terms.

Analyzing the obvious incongruity of John Bolton with the United Nations, perhaps some senators justifiably suspect that the Bush administration has designs to manipulate their appointee in some manner or another. As a matter of fact, a bombastic, shameless politician such as John Bolton would make a wonderful scapegoat. The Bush administration took a hard hit domestically for its blatant flouting of the U.N. leading up to the war on the terror of Iraq. If the Bush administration decides to continue the war on terror with the same flagrant disregard for the U.N. in the future, a man such as John Bolton within the U.N. could provide a useful target for domestic backlash. In other words, John Bolton is expendable and he is the perfect target. With Bolton in the U.N., the Bush administration could continue to wage illegitimate wars around the world with impunity. If Bolton’s appointment is secured, in the future when the American public demands answers and justification for a preemptive strike on Oceania, they can look to the loudmouth in the U.N. building.

The Bush administration is not seeking to put John Bolton in the U.N. to facilitate the acceptance of the U.S. war on terror by the global community. The Bush administration aspires to use John Bolton as nothing more than a high-powered fall guy.