With the steady hand of a master gunnery sergeant, John R. Bolton, President George Bush's pick to be the next ambassador to the UN, has taken dead aim at the realpolitik coursing through the veins of the foreign policy establishment:
On UN leadership: "The Secretary-General does not operate on a higher plane than mere mortal national officials, and the Secretariat's contribution is more likely to be at the molecular rather than the molar level" (Sept. 2000).
On UN peacekeeping: "Simply inserting blue helmets into a conflict zone will not, in and of itself, resolve outstanding political differences" (May 2000).
On a UN-approved International Criminal Court: "Where litigation will all too often simply be war by other means" (Feb. 2000).
On the UN and Iraq: "If the members of the Security Council cannot maintain their discipline against a state that systematically obstructed their own authority-after it had used weapons of mass destruction against its own population and committed unprovoked aggression against a small neighbor-what can they handle?" (June 2000).
On the UN and Oil for Food: "Saddam has cynically exploited the UN's oil for food program with the help of sympathetic UN administrators on the ground in Iraq" (Dec. 1999).
On Libya: "The State Department engaged in what can only be described as a coverup concerning the upcoming trial of the Pan Am 103 defendants" (Jan. 2000).
On North Korea: "While nuclear blackmail used to be the province of fictional spy movies, Kim Jong Il is forcing us to live that reality as we enter the new millennium" (July 2003 speech in Seoul).
Now, his confirmation mired in controversy ahead of a May 12 Senate committee vote, the comments of the combative and brilliant foreign policymaker are falling like live grenades at his own feet.
If history has proved Mr. Bolton right, his enemies are conspiring to render those statements, in the end, self-immolating. As their campaign to defeat him gains exposure-and political financing-Mr. Bolton finds himself in desperate need of his own multinational peacekeeping force.
A cadre of groups sprang into action after Mr. Bush named the 56-year-old Mr. Bolton as his choice to succeed U.S. Ambassador John Danforth on March 7. The protest movement caught the White House by surprise, considering that Mr. Bolton currently serves as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and has successfully completed the congressional confirmation gantlet before.
He was an assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration. Under the first President Bush, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. During the Clinton administration he was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In recent years between government posts, Mr. Bolton, a Yale graduate, was senior vice president at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.
Critics now call him a "serial abuser" of State Department employees who bullied or tried to fire those with whom he disagreed. USAID subcontractor Melody Townsel charged that he chased her and threw a shoe and tape dispenser at her in a Moscow hotel in 1994. Ms. Townsel's supervisor, Charles Black, said he doubted the account because she said nothing when it supposedly happened. That did not keep Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, from circulating an e-mail from Ms. Townsel describing the scene just ahead of an April vote to approve Mr. Bolton. That prompted Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) to join Democrats on the panel in calling for a delay to examine the charges.
Other charges have proved likewise insubstantial. Newsweek quoted unnamed sources saying British foreign minister Jack Straw complained of Bolton interference on nuclear arms negotiations with Iran. But the British Foreign Office told the BBC that Mr. Straw had "no recollection whatsoever about the incident." An official said on April 25, "We have worked very closely with John Bolton in the past-I think what we are seeing is a storm in a teacup."
If the rush to discredit Mr. Bolton appears spontaneous, it is in fact the choreographed work of dedicated tax-exempt organizations and political operatives that oppose Bush foreign policy. One leading group, Citizens for Global Solutions-a one-year-old merger of the World Federalist Association (and affiliate World Federalist Movement) and the Campaign for UN Reform-supports a global tax on UN member states to fund UN programs and holds to "the primacy of the General Assembly" to be "empowered to resolve differences among different treaties and differing standards among labor rights, trade agreements, environmental protection, human rights standards, and social development targets."
CEO Charles J. Brown was an official in both the Clinton administration and with Amnesty International. Board chairman Mark Epstein is the former World Federalist CEO and deputy director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a nuclear disarmament lobby that opposed the war in Iraq.
Citizens for Global Solutions launched its campaign against Mr. Bolton at an April 4 National Press Club briefing, where it publicized a 71-page briefing book on Mr. Bolton and launched a website, stopbolton.org. Citizens also is airing anti-Bolton TV ads in targeted areas-primarily in Rhode Island and Nebraska-to incite pressure on vulnerable Republican lawmakers (Sens. Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska) to vote in committee against Mr. Bolton.
Other groups opposing Mr. Bolton include American Progress Action Fund, a George Soros-funded lobby, and United Nations Association, or UNA-USA, a group whose members come primarily from the ranks of former UN officials. A UN-registered NGO, the group receives funding through the UN Development Program.
MoveOn.org, the Democratic lobby made famous by presidential candidate Howard Dean, weighed in with a mailing that targeted states with members on the Senate panel. In it, president Eli Pariser said nominating John Bolton was "a little like nominating a felon to be police chief."
In addition to the lobbyists, 60 former U.S. ambassadors-career appointees along with Democratic senator-turned-ambassador-turned-presidential contender Carol Moseley Braun-signed a letter to the Senate panel protesting the Bolton nomination.
Mr. Bolton, who declined to be interviewed at the request of the White House, is not without his own supporters. In addition to White House nods, 90 foreign policy experts-including five former secretaries of state and former heads of the CIA and Pentagon-sent a formal endorsement of his nomination to the Foreign Relations panel.
His work for the persecuted church as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom prompted 100 leaders of faith-based organizations to send a letter of support.
On April 26, 43 former colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute wrote to committee Chairman Richard D. Lugar (R-Ind.). They described Mr. Bolton's in-house style as "demanding" but "clear, consistent." They said allegations of "Mr. Bolton's management style and conduct in other organizations and circumstances are radically at odds with our experiences in more than four years of intense, frequent, and continuous interaction with him."
Michael A. Ledeen, AEI Freedom Scholar, told WORLD: "This person that is being described by hostile sources is not a person we recognize."
If anything, the anti-Bolton campaign shows the organizational savvy of diplomatic careerists less interested in office decorum than protecting their turf at a time when the UN and Secretary-General Kofi Annan are under intense scrutiny for mismanagement of $64 billion tied to the Iraq Oil for Food program.
Those groups are well aware of Mr. Bolton's penchant for confronting UN and State Department elitism. During the 1999 NATO-sanctioned Kosovo bombing campaign, Mr. Bolton challenged the "Annan doctrine" after the secretary-general warned that the world was on the brink of anarchy unless the Security Council were restored "to its preeminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force." Mr. Bolton called Mr. Annan's declaration "sweeping-indeed breathtaking" and pointed out that the UN Charter describes the secretary-general as merely "a chief administrative officer."
Behind the fusillades Mr. Bolton hides a deceptively simple philosophy: "Explaining America to the world is a difficult and never-ending process," he wrote in 2000. The most pervasive misconception made by other nations "is that the United States is not really all that different from other governments."
At the UN he is likely to insist that it is. Judging by his public record, Mr. Bolton will argue against additional UN levies from the United States, against a global tax to fund UN programs, against more blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers, against controversial social programs like population control, and against an en vogue proposal to expand the Security Council, thus diluting U.S. power.
Protecting U.S. interests looks like xenophobic madness to globalists, but to Mr. Bolton it is the only way to run a foreign policy shop. "I would say Republicans are adults on foreign policy questions, and we define what we're willing to do militarily and politically by what is in the best interest of the United States. That's the only question that matters," he said.