A great step for mankind

I just heard breaking news on CNN that John Bolton has resigned as US ambassador to the UN. This was expected and inevitable, but it’s still wonderful news. Good riddance to the walrus.

The Discussion: 20 Comments

Good! I couldn’t stand his songs.

December 4, 2006 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

wasn’t that ashcroft? altogether now: “let the mighty eagle soar, like she’s never soared before…..”

i loved the way he couldn’t hit the top notes of his own song…..

December 4, 2006 @ 11:48 pm | Comment

Hahaha, I misunderstood bert’s comment! I don’t like Michael Bolton songs either!;)

December 5, 2006 @ 12:39 am | Comment

In the real world, though, the segment of mankind that this is good news for will inevitably include the Janjaweed of Darfur, the nuclear-wannabe mullahs of Iran, the North Korean ruling clique, the Burmese military junta, Robert Mugabe….

You’ll understand why I don’t share your joy.

December 5, 2006 @ 1:13 am | Comment

He’s done a pretty good job for AMerican interest. He’s a tough negotiator. I think Dems are too partisan in this case. Shaved properly, he’d be alright.

December 5, 2006 @ 1:21 am | Comment

On what level has he done a good job for American interests?

The thing about being America’s top diplomat is that at times it requires said person to be diplomatic. Bolton is a bully who didn’t seem to have any ability to craft consensus or line up allies to accomplish his goals. Looking at slim’s list above, name one of those situations where Bolton’s efforts have actually paid off or where the situation is notably better since the Bush Administration came into office (I’ll agree that they have made some efforts re: the Sudan, and that this is a very difficult and intractible situation).

December 5, 2006 @ 2:07 am | Comment

The North Korea resolutions were passed with speed and negotiated with skill, as was the resolution ending the Israel-Hizbollah war ….

Now, when it comes to execution of said resolutions on North Korea there are problems. But these can be laid clearly at the door of double-dealing China and Russia and feckless South Korea.

My point is that I won’t celebrate a development that will most particularly be celebrated by the world’s worst actors.

December 5, 2006 @ 2:56 am | Comment

I agree with Slim. Bolton was aggressive, but the UN needed a tough US representative. If his successor is more laid back I doubt it will be good for decent people around the world.

The UN needs to change – a PC diplomat won’t get anything done.

December 5, 2006 @ 3:57 am | Comment

The Israeli/Hezbollah war?! The US government deliberately stalled to allow Israel more time to destroy Lebanese – NOT just Hezbollah’s – infrastructure.

As for N. Korea, the Bush Administration pretty much ignored the situation until it became an active crisis, even though it was clearly an ongoing problem.

The vast majority of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy energy has been sucked into the black hole that is the Iraq debacle.

December 5, 2006 @ 5:13 am | Comment

Bolton was tough on North Korea across-the-board, way back in 2002, and North Korea has been an “ongoing problem” since it was founded in 1948. If by ignored North Korea, you mean “refused to respond to extortion or engage in meaningless gestures”, I’ll agree. But the NK nuclear cheating that sparked this round of crisis started as early as 1996 and was detected well before Bush took office.

I do agree that foreign policy energy was squandered on Iraq.

December 5, 2006 @ 6:40 am | Comment

“I won’t celebrate a development that will most particularly be celebrated by the world’s worst actors.”

And I won’t mourn a development that will most particularly be mourned by my country’s most vicious and regressive actors.

December 5, 2006 @ 7:32 am | Comment

Even if you admire Bolton and his record, to suggest that his resignation is a cause for celebration among the world’s dictators – as if he had some kind of indispensable, irreplacable genius or qualities of character which Kim Jong Il and Ahmadenijad were just DESPERATE to see removed from the UN – well, that’s extrapolating a BIT too far, don’t you think?

December 5, 2006 @ 10:14 am | Comment

From today’s Nation:

From the White House point of view, Bolton’s appointment appeased the know-nothing foreign policy crowd while rewarding his longstanding loyalty to the Bush dynasty. That loyalty had been shown most memorably in 2000, when the man who has spent the past year preaching democracy to the members of the United Nations strode into a library polling place in Florida yelling, “I’m with the Bush-Cheney team, and I’m here to stop the count.”

To be fair, while Bolton’s tenure has from the standpoint of any rational diplomacy been a disaster, it has not been an unmitigated one. He has been a very well-trained attack dog, always coming to heel when the White House wanted and chewing his own words when necessary.

One of his proudest achievements in his previous job at the State Department was to “unsign” the treaty that committed the United States to the International Criminal Court, and then to bully and browbeat small countries across the world into signing agreements not to extradite US citizens to its seat in the Hague. And then this year he had to allow a Security Council resolution setting the Court’s prosecutors on the perpetrators in Darfur.

As pious commentators talk about how effective he was, it is worth remembering that while he was in charge of arms control, North Korea joined the nuclear club and that, according to him and Bolton and his allies, Iran is about to. It is an achievement–but of a dubious sort for an alleged arms control maestro. To be fair, within the Administration, he reportedly opposed the US-Indian nuclear deal, although he remained silent on Israeli nuclear capabilities.

Otherwise, Bolton’s most memorable “achievement” occurred while he was in charge of arms control at the State Department before moving to the UN. He was a major saboteur of Congressional efforts to improve and tighten the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If these measures had been passed, countries would not have been able, as North Korea did, to drop out of the treaty after reaping its dual-use benefits, and the voluntary protocols on inspection that Iran stopped observing would have been compulsory.

However, his greatest legacy may be his semi-successful attempt to wreck the UN reform proposals last year. By introducing hundreds of unilateral amendments after long months of painstaking negotiations between the members, he certainly managed to destroy the efforts of Kofi Annan to persuade the Third World members that managerial reforms were not some form of American and Western plot. In fact, almost every public statement he made pretty much confirmed their suspicions.

Bolton leaves unfinished business at the UN. His attempt to enforce on Iran an international law in which he professes disbelief comes to nothing as Security Council members try to insure that Washington has no excuse to take military action. The resolution is stalemated and diluted.

December 5, 2006 @ 11:01 am | Comment

“international law in which he professes disbelief”

The best seven-word summation of Republican foreign “policy” ever.

December 5, 2006 @ 1:34 pm | Comment

While it might be emotionally gratifying to some to have a “tough-talking” negotiator at the UN, it’s not very useful to have a china-smashing bull, snorting and blundering heedlessly about.

The US has a LOT of fences to mend internationally, and John Bolton is just about the opposite of a fence mender.

– Shanghai Slim (not to be confused with commenter “slim”)

December 5, 2006 @ 2:13 pm | Comment

Shanghai Slim, thanks for clarifying that you are not the above “Slim.” I was really getting worried for a moment…

December 5, 2006 @ 3:55 pm | Comment

I have a confession to make *SOB*,

I liked John Bolton as UN ambassador. He was a tough, undiplomatic, course bully. And the UN, whose real committment to and desire to aid the victims of human rights abuses is pretty near zero, he was a perfect match. The UN and Bolton deserved each other.

December 5, 2006 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

But please don’t call him a walrus. I like walruses.

December 5, 2006 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

“The North Korea resolutions were passed with speed and negotiated with skill, as was the resolution ending the Israel-Hizbollah war ….”

God, soooo wrong on the the Israel-Hizbollah war, as OtherLisa pointed out.

Good riddance to bad rubbish … I remember Bolton being described before his appointment as a quintessential bully … a “kisser-upper and a kicker-downer”, a nasty piece of work.

December 5, 2006 @ 5:17 pm | Comment

The thing about UN is that there’re plenty of tough cookie around. Bolton himself actually doesn’t believe UN is an effective organization to advance American interest. But this is the best thing that you currently have. He can’t be blamed for Bush Administration’s diplomatice fauliure in many areas because he is more on the hands-on, operative level than on a strategic one. I thought he handled N, Korea fairly well. Don’t you all think so? I got the impression that major complaint against him is more about his management style at DOS, and less about if he qualifies for his current job.

This is not nomination of a Supreme Court justice. And it’s not supposed to be a battle of the left and right. Botlon resigned without fight. I guess the administration sensed that this is going to be a fight which they cannot win in the reorged congress.

December 5, 2006 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

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