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08 March 2005

So much for Bush's "fence-mending"...

Despite the glowing reports of Bush’s unmitigated “success” during his recent European tour and discussions with EU leaders, what has become readily apparent is that behind the smiles and photo-ops, Bush failed miserably. Nothing could possibly illustrate this point better than his decision to appoint john Bolton – one of the most rabidly unilateralist neo-cons in the administration – to the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. This is beyond a slap in the face to the Europeans – who take the UN very seriously – as well as the rest of the world. Let’s take a quick glance at this…

White House Press Release: Personnel Announcement
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050307-4.html

The President intends to nominate John Robert Bolton, of Maryland, to be Representative of the United States to the United Nations with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary; and to be United States Representative in the Security Council of the United Nations; and to be Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States to the United Nations.

John Robert Bolton has served as director of the Project for a New American Century (a leading neo-conservative think-tank advocating U.S. domination of the world – http://www.newamericancentury.org ) as well as vice-president of the American Enterprise Institute (the primary neo-conservative think-tank – http://www.aei.org/ ). He has held a number of offices in the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations and has been an undersecretary of state in the Bush Jr. administration.

Let’s look at his views on international issues:

“I believe…our foreign policy should support American interests. Let the rest of the world support the rest of the world’s interests.” (The O’Reilly Factor, 3/24/99) [11]

On the United Nations:

“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… [and that member would be] the United States.” (NPR, Talk of the Nation, 6/6/00) [11]

Comments from the number three man at the State Department, John Bolton, indicate this is how the US perceives it: "There is no such thing as the UN. There is an international community that can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that is the US, when it suits our interests." [5]

In an article for the right-wing Weekly Standard (10/4/99) entitled "Kofi Annan's UN Power Grab," Bolton excoriates the UN Secretary General for trying to limit warfare and to establish the supremacy of UN forces. In Bolton's words, "If the United States allows that claim to go unchallenged, its discretion in using force to advance its national interests is likely to be inhibited in the future." [7]

"Moreover, many Republicans in Congress - and perhaps a majority - not only do not care about losing the General Assembly vote but actually see it as a "make my day" outcome. Indeed, once the vote is lost, and the adverse consequences predicted by the U.N.'s supporters begin to occur, this will simply provide further evidence to many why nothing more should be paid to the U.N. system." Washington Times, 10/24/98 [2]

At a 1994 panel discussion sponsored by the World Federalist Association Bolton claimed "there's no such thing as the United Nations," and stated "if the UN secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." [2]

In addition, the continual gaffes of hawks like Bolton make the U.S. position seem even more hypocritical in the global arena. For example, the ostensible excuse for attacking Iraq is its defiance of UN resolutions. However, Bolton has defied the UN's very existence for most of his political career. He has made it plain that the U.S. government should not abide by any UN decisions that may prove inconvenient to the U.S. pursuit of its national interests. [8]

On the International Criminal Court:

Within the State Department, Bolton led the drive for U.S. refusal to sign the Rome Statute that created the new International Criminal Court (ICC), the first permanent tribunal with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. To recognize his commitment to opposing the Statute, Powell permitted Bolton to sign the letter to Annan formally announcing Washington's withdrawal, an act he later described to the Wall Street Journal as "the happiest moment of my government service." [3]

"Support for the International Criminal Court concept is based largely on emotional appeals to an abstract ideal of an international judicial system." House International Relations Committee, 07/07/00 [2]

"A product of fuzzy-minded romanticism [that] is not just naïve, but dangerous." - 1998, senior vice president, American Enterprise Institute [1]

For the past two years, his single-handed campaign to destroy the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has done much to cement European and third world resentment of U.S. "diplomacy" and unity in advance of the Iraq issue. Indeed, his campaign get bilateral treaties exempting American citizens from the ICC's jurisdiction precipitated the fissure lines we now see emerging in the global community. His few successes include the East Europeans, desperate to get into NATO, as well as the tiny island states, which are, well, just desperate. [8]

On the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:

After the Senate voted not to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Bolton declared categorically, "CTBT is dead." Here he's at odds with much of the American public. Public opinion polls consistently show that more nearly 80% of Americans support a ban on all underground tests. [7]

"The Senate vote on the CTBT actually marks the beginning of a new realism on the issue of weapons of mass destruction and their global proliferation... the Senate vote is also an unmistakable signal that America rejects the illusionary protections of unenforceable treaties." The Jerusalem Post, 10/18/99 [2]

On the Biological Weapons Convention:

"It's dead, dead, dead, and I don't want it coming back from the dead." - 2001, State Department arms control chief, privately to U.S. allies [1]

Several months later, following the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax scare, Bolton led the U.S. delegation to a major UN bio-weapons conference in Geneva, which he first inflamed by naming in his first speech six nations that he alleged were building bio-weapons illegally, and then sabotaged by trying to terminate an effort to forge a verification protocol. The latter move provoked expressions of shock and outrage from U.S. allies in Europe. [3]

One such critic, Amy Smithson, a biological-weapons expert at the Stimson Center, a Washington think tank, told the Journal that the U.S. was right in rejecting a protocol for verifying compliance with the biological-weapons ban. "They inherited a lemon. ... But Bolton was so in-your-face, rejecting the entire negotiations, that he angered even allies who wanted to work with the United States to create a much stronger monitoring regime," she said. [1]

On the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons:

Unrepentant, Bolton said the United States is not going to accept “misguided” international rules on small arms. “We’re not going to talk about international gun control regimes that contravene the Constitution,” he said. “The fact that there are weapons around the world indicates there is a demand for these weapons. It may be a good or bad thing. But it is a mistake to believe that some international regime is going to address the problem. The presence of weapons is reflective of disputes and uncertainty around the world. That is the problem, not the weapons.” [10]

In the summer of 2001, he shocked foreign delegations and non-governmental organizations at the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons when he announced that Washington would oppose any attempt to regulate the trade in firearms or non-military rifles or any other effort that would "abrogat[e] the constitutional right to bear arms." "It is precisely those weapons that Bolton would exclude from the purview of this conference that are actually killing people and endangering communities around the world," exclaimed Tamar Gabelnick, Director of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), who charged that the U.S. position single-handedly destroyed any possibility of consensus. [3]

"We do not support the promotion of international advocacy activity by international or non-governmental organizations, particularly when those political or policy views advocated are not consistent with the views of all member states. What individual governments do in this regard is for them to decide, but we do not regard the international governmental support of particular political viewpoints to be consistent with democratic principles. Accordingly, the provisions of the draft Program that contemplate such activity should be modified or eliminated." [6]

On the European Union:

Previously, Bolton had sounded the alert, warning that "the Europeans can be sure that America's days as a well-bred doormat for EU political and military protection are coming to an end." [8]

On China/Taiwan:
Bolton's other battles, at least in recent years, have centered on Taiwan and the United Nations. In a clear break with Washington's long-standing "one-China" policy, Bolton advocates that Taiwan be recognized as an independent state and be given a seat in the United Nations. In 1994, Bolton opened his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee by declaring, "I believe that the United States should support the efforts of the Republic of China on Taiwan to become a full member of the United Nations." [7]

He writes that "diplomatic recognition of Taiwan would be just the kind of demonstration of U.S. leadership that the region needs and that many of its people hope for… The notion that China would actually respond with force is a fantasy, albeit one the Communist leaders welcome and encourage in the West." And, according to the Washington Post (April 9, 2001), Bolton is motivated by more than his ultra-rightwing ideology. He's also been on the payroll of the Taiwan government. According to the Post, over a period of three years in the 1990s and at the time he promoting diplomatic recognition of Taiwan before various congressional committees, Bolton was paid a total of $30,000 by the government of Taiwan for "research papers on UN membership issues involving Taiwan." Bolton has denied that his testimony was in any way tied to the fee paid by the Taiwanese. [7]

China has been his main target: More than a dozen Chinese entities have been sanctioned for selling missiles and other proscribed technology to Iran and Pakistan. Another set of sanctions is expected within a week, the Journal says. [1]

"...diplomatic recognition of Taiwan would be just the kind of demonstration of U.S. leadership that the region needs and that many of its people hope for. The notion that China would actually respond with force is a fantasy." AEI web site, 8/9/99 [2]

On North Korea:

The highly unusual statement was reportedly provoked by a speech given by Bolton in Seoul last week excerpts of which were reprinted on the highly sympathetic editorial pages of the Asian Wall Street Journal Friday, in which the undersecretary, who ranks fourth in the State Department hierarchy, described life in North Korea as a "hellish nightmare" and accused Pyongyang's leader, Kim Jong Il," of being a "dictator" or running a "dictatorship" or "tyranny" no less than a dozen times. Some U.S. and Asian analysts indicated last week that Bolton, who has made no secret of his belief that Washington should pursue "regime change" in Pyongyang rather than a new agreement on its de-nuclearization, may have intended to use the speech to provoke Kim into rejecting the forthcoming meeting. Cheney and the Pentagon have long been skeptical of any negotiation with North Korea. [3]

North Korea is another Bolton target. He has been fierce in his opposition to U.S. engagement with North Korea. He says that for the worst offenders, the U.S. has other tools it can use, including covert operations and military action. [1]

"A sounder U.S. policy would start by making it clear to the North that we are indifferent to whether we ever have "normal" diplomatic relations with it, and that achieving that goal is entirely in their interests, not ours. We should also make clear that diplomatic normalization with the U.S. is only going to come when North Korea becomes a normal country." Los Angeles Times, 09/22/99 [2]

While in Israel, Bolton met Sharon and Netanyahu. He promised that after the U.S. has sorted Iraq "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterwards." [8]

On Nicaragua:

A staunch backer of the Nicaraguan contras, Bolton played a key role in trying to undermine efforts by Sen. John Kerry to investigate drug smuggling and gunrunning by the contras, according to Nation columnist David Corn, and was later put in charge of stonewalling Congressional efforts to obtain Justice Department documents and interview Meese's deputies about their role in the Iran-Contra scandal. [3]

On Cuba:

In a speech called Beyond the Axis of Evil, the undersecretary of state John Bolton presented no evidence for his claims, pointing only to Cuba's advanced biomedical industry and Mr Castro's visits last year to three "rogue states" accused by the the US state department of sponsoring terrorism: Iraq, Syria and Libya. "States that renounce terror and abandon WMD [weapons of mass destruction] can become part of our effort," Mr Bolton said. "But those that do not can expect to become our targets." [4]

At the same time, Bolton was also engaged in a lengthy row with U.S. intelligence agencies over his unprecedented public charge that Cuba had an offensive biological warfare program that U.S. military and intelligence officials had previously "underplayed." His statement became an embarrassment after anonymous intelligence officials and retired senior military officers, including the former head of the U.S. Southern Command, told the media that no such evidence existed and charged that Bolton was politicizing intelligence. [3]

On Syria:

Last month, Bolton was accused of the same charge when he was due to testify before Congress on Syria's alleged development of weapons of mass destruction which, according to his prepared remarks, had come to pose a threat to regional stability. His testimony was abruptly canceled and rescheduled for September after the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department's own intelligence bureau objected to his characterization. [3]

While in Israel, Bolton met Sharon and Netanyahu. He promised that after the U.S. has sorted Iraq "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterwards." [8]

On Iran:

While in Israel, Bolton met Sharon and Netanyahu. He promised that after the U.S. has sorted Iraq "it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea afterwards." [8]

On Iraq:

On the invasion, see the Complete Iraq Timeline: John Bolton - http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/entity.jsp?id=1521846767-809

“We’re going ahead. If you want to come along, come along. We hope you will. But be advised, we’re going ahead on our own…I believe that approach is most likely to produce a larger coalition, because I think, quite frankly, a lot of the members of the old coalition are looking for that kind of American leadership. And a firm and decisive stand by the United States, paradoxical though it may sound, will actually induce more countries to come along.” - John Bolton, NPR, 1/29/98 [11]

“The work in Iraq is taking longer than people wanted. It is giving rise to claims that there was never a weapons capability. It has led to some questions about our credibility. I think the evidence is there and will be overwhelming when it comes out,” he said. [10]

Notes:

[1] NewsMax: “John Bolton: The Iron Hand in the State Department's Velvet Glove”http://64.135.21.3/archive/print.pl?a=2002/7/19/113709

[2] Council for a Livable World: "Oppose John Bolton's Nomination as State Department's Arms Control Leader!"http://www.clw.org/bush/opposebolton.html

[3] Inter Press Service: "North Korea Won't Recognize State Dep't. Ideologue"http://home.earthlink.net/~platter/articles/030804-lobe.html

[4] The Guardian: "War on terror may extend to Cuba"http://www.guardian.co.uk/cuba/story/0,11983,711296,00.html

[5] Common Dreams: "Blair May Be First Buddy, But It's Time He Faced the Facts"http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0912-06.htm

[6] United State Mission to the UN: "Statement by John R. Bolton, United States Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, to the Plenary Session of the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects, July 9, 2001"http://www.un.int/usa/01_104.htm

[7] Foreign policy in Focus: "other Official's Profiles"http://www.fpif.org/republicanrule/officials_body.html

[8] Global Policy Forum: "John Bolton in Jerusalem: The New Age of Disarmament Wars"http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/unmovic/2003/0220Bolton.htm

[9] US Department of State: "The NPT: A Crisis of Non-Compliance"http://www.state.gov/t/us/rm/31848.htm

[10] Washington Diplomat: "Hard-Edged Bush Official Helps Craft Foreign Policy"http://www.washdiplomat.com/03-08/a1_03_08.html

[11] Think Progress Blog http://www.thinkprogress.org/

This is the guy that is going to be representing all Americans before the United Nations... so much for any pretense to "democracy."

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