This just in…. as anticipated, President Bush today appointed Mr. John Bolton, a rabid unilateralist, to be the new US Ambassador to the United Nations. Despite serious questions about Mr. Bolton’s ability to serve in this post, from both sides of the congressional aisle, and unwillingness of the Congress to vote on the issue, Bush chose to override those concerns and appoint Bolton during the Congressional summer recess.
The appointment of US Ambassadors as I understand it does not require Congressional approval. But it is considered a highly controversial move to appoint someone to such an important diplomatic position without Congressional approval.
One rumor that I have heard is that John Bolton is such a loose cannon that the Bush administration wanted to put him in a position where he could do the least harm. As is widely known, the US Ambassador to the UN’s main job is to say “no” to various initiatives and act as a mouthpiece for the State Department. They are kept on such a short leash that it might as well be Condoleeza Rice in the position.
But symbolically it sends the wrong signal to send such a virulent opponent of the UN and multilateralism to represent the US. Although Bush says that Bolton “believes passionately in the goals of the United Nations Charter, to advance peace and liberty and human rights,” the only message that Bolton has bellowed time and time again is “might makes right.”
Not the proudest day for America at the United Nations.