The U.N. insiders who organized Stopbolton.org are pretty happy that their target has resigned. As Jim Barron’s indicates, there can be little doubt that Senator Chafee’s refusal to support the nomination of John Bolton to the U.N. was the unsurmountable hurdle. And that is something of which Chafee is quite proud:
Chafee’s opposition to Bolton as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “was what made it not happen,” said Chafee spokesman Steven Hourahan. “Without his vote in committee, it wasn’t going to go.”
Hourahan said Chafee was “very comfortable” with his decision to effectively remove Bolton as ambassador. He said it was “clear that the the American people sent a message,” in the November election that they were unhappy with Bolton’s confrontational style and the Bush administration’s foreign policy…
“Mr. Bolton did not demonstrate the kind of collaborative approach that I believe will be called for if we are to restore the United States’ position as the strongest country in a peaceful world,” the senator said. “This would be an appropriate time to choose a nominee who has a proven ability to work with both sides of the political aisle, a history of building strong international relationships and a reputation of respect for the institution of the United Nations.”
Of course, others disagree and Bolton did accomplish a few things over his short tenure. Even the anti-Bolton folks admit that Bolton was effective in the Security Council. But it was his work in the General Assembly that raised so many hackles inside the U.N., especially Bolton’s “incendiary rhetoric.”
Take, for example, this item from a list of supposed Bolton missteps:
In one instance of the incendiary rhetoric that has become a hallmark of Bolton’s Ambassadorship he inaccurately called sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers – a serious but limited problem that the U.N. must address – a “rampant practice.” He speaks regularly of a “culture of inaction” at the U.N. and, contrary to Secretary of State’s and President’s message, has discussed reform as a U.S.-led initiative. He went as far as to say that the U.S. effort to reform the U.N. “could be like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.” One of Bolton’s speeches was so inflammatory that the Associated Press, which covered the event, entitled its article, “Bolton Blasts U.N. ‘Sex and Corruption.’” In May 2006, he even told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the U.N. could use “a gale of creative destruction.”
Bolton Effect: Other nations viewed such statements as examples of U.S. arrogance and made it more difficult to achieve important reforms at the U.N.
If it’s from Bolton, it’s arrogant, but if “incendiary rhetoric” is uttered against the Bush Administration by some mid-level bureaucrat or an ex-President, then he’s be speaking “truth to power.” Of course, why do I bother. On one hand, the anti-Bolton, U.N. insiders say that Haditha and Abu Ghraib are “morally abhorrent and make America less safe”–which is true–and imply that such activity is widespread and all but encouraged by the Bush administration with statements like:
Abuse in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, U.S. foreign policy, and Bolton’s heavy-handed diplomacy have left the U.S. more isolated in the UN than perhaps ever before.
But on the other hand, they downplay sexual abuses perpetrated by U.N. peacekeepers by calling it a “limited problem.” Really?
The United Nations is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct by U.N. personnel in Burundi, Haiti, Liberia and elsewhere, which is complicating the organization’s efforts to contain a sexual abuse scandal that has tarnished its Nobel Prize-winning peacekeepers in Congo.
The allegations indicate that a series of measures the United Nations has taken in recent years have failed to eliminate a culture of sexual permissiveness that has plagued its far-flung peacekeeping operations over the last 12 years. But senior U.N. officials say they have signaled their seriousness by imposing new reforms and forcing senior U.N. military commanders and officials to step down if they do not curb such practices.
“The blue helmet has become black and blue through self-inflicted wounds,” Jane Holl Lute, a senior U.N. peacekeeping official who heads a U.N. task force on sexual exploitation, told a congressional committee investigating allegations that U.N. personnel participated in rape, prostitution and pedophilia in Congo. “We will not sit still until the luster of that blue helmet is restored.”
The reports of sexual abuse have come from U.N. officials, internal U.N. documents, and local and international human rights organizations that have tracked the issue. Some U.N. officials and outside observers say there have been cases of abuse in almost every U.N. mission, including operations in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Kosovo.
Nah, not widespread at all…
The U.N. insiders and anti-Bolton folks didn’t like Bolton because he tried to wade in and change the way things are done in the U.N. Any figure that looks to shake things up will mostly succeed in shaking up the people who’ve benefitted from the status quo. They’d rather write never-to-be-implemented policy papers and never-to-be-enforced resolutions than actually do anything. Bolton may have been brusque, but he willingly tried to work within the system to change it.
In the end, it seems like the Chicago Tribune put it best:
[Bolton’s] track record apparently didn’t matter much in Washington. Bolton’s close-minded? Turns out it was his critics who fit that bill.
Here are some of Bolton’s accomplishments as compiled by Deroy Murdock:
* Bolton and France’s ambassador led the Security Council to approve a unanimous resolution to end last summer’s Hezbollah war on Israel. While America should have encouraged Israel to eradicate Hezbollah once and for all, Bolton successfully executed his orders to stop the combat and authorize U.N. peacekeepers.
* Bolton assembled an international coalition that blocked the bid of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s Marxist strongman, to join the Security Council. This anti-authoritarian alliance survived 47 ballots. An eventual compromise helped moderate, pro-American Panama fill that spot.
* Bolton arranged the Security Council’s first deliberations on Burma’s human-rights abuses. “The time has come for the suffering of the Burmese people to end and for democratic change to begin,” Bolton said September 29.
* Bolton properly belittled the new Human Rights Council, a forum where Cuba and Zimbabwe lecture civilized nations on how to treat their citizens. He compared this unit’s creation to “putting lipstick on a caterpillar and calling it a butterfly.”
* Bolton invited actor George Clooney and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to brief the Security Council last September on Arab mass-murder of non-Arabs in Darfur, Sudan. “Every day we delay only adds to the suffering of the Sudanese people and extends the genocide,” Bolton said. He engineered the Security Council’s approval of 22,500 U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur. Bolton continues to pressure Sudan’s government to accept these personnel atop the 7,000 African Union soldiers already on site.
* Bolton persuaded the Security Council to pass a resolution denouncing Iran’s uranium enrichment program and demanding that Tehran halt its atomic hanky-panky.
* Bolton, with the help of China’s and Japan’s ambassadors, negotiated unanimously adopted Security Council resolutions condemning North Korea’s July 4 missile test and penalizing its Columbus Day A-bomb blast.
* Bolton has won plaudits from his peers.
“I enjoy working with him,” Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters November 14. “Professionally, he’s capable. He’s effective,” Wang added.
“He is having a definite impact,” Romanian Ambassador Mihnea Motoc told the Los Angeles Times’ Maggie Farley. “Others wish they could do things the same way.”
“He has an agenda, and he’s pursuing it with a conviction that is uncommon here,” said Algerian Ambassador Abdallah Baali.
One secret of Bolton’s success may be “shot-clock diplomacy.” He twice has taken the Security Council to New York Knicks games at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s fun for two or three hours,” Ambassador Wang told the Associated Press. “We think of nothing but sport.”
* This “bully” was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.