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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

After Bolton

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/after-bolton.html

December 5, 2006 Edition > Section: Editorials
After Bolton
New York Sun Staff Editorial
December 5, 2006

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/44610

The Democratic majority hasn't even formally taken over on Capitol Hill, yet
it already has a scalp to claim - that of the American ambassador at the
United Nations, John Bolton. It is a sad moment. Mr. Bolton entered his
ambassadorship a hero among many here for his role, during the administration
of President George H.W. Bush, in winning the repeal of the United Nations
resolution equating Zionism with racism. Since he got here, he and his wife
Gretchen have participated widely in the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
around town. As people gained a sense of how hard he worked in pursuit of
America's interests, the affection this city holds for him has grown
enormously.

There are many here who had hoped this sense would be conveyed to the
Democrats who opposed Mr. Bolton by Senator Schumer, who was full of
blandishments about the possibility of getting Mr. Bolton confirmed in the new
Congress. Instead, the city is now full of people who've supported Mr.
Schumer, financially and otherwise, who are left with disappointment. When it
came time to speak up for the envoy with the clearest sense of how the world
body has made the destruction of Israel its special mission and who was best
equipped to stymie that mission, New York's senior senator stood publicly
silent.
It was reminiscent of Mr. Schumer's failure to follow through on his 1998
campaign pledge to get the American embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem from
Tel Aviv. And Mr. Schumer was not the only one who disappointed on Mr. Bolton.
Senator Clinton was completely off the field. And the Republicans, who
controlled the Senate for the past year, were unable to get Mr. Bolton
confirmed, initially as a result of qualms by Senators Voinovich and Chafee.
The line on Mr. Bolton from his critics was that he was too direct, which is
quite something given the bluntness with which Daniel Patrick Moynihan rose to
great fame at the United Nations or the saltiness with which the most famous
recent Democratic ambassador at Turtle Bay, Madeleine Albright, was given to
expressing herself.

America has had ample experience trying diplomatic niceness at Turtle Bay.
Previous ambassadors such as Thomas Pickering, say, or General Walters were
masters of the art. What it produced on their watches has been corruption,
bias against Israel, and inaction and impotence when the United Nations was
confronted with the crises of the time. Over the years, some of America's
finest diplomats and most energetic intellectuals have represented our country
at the United Nations, from Adlai Stevenson and Arthur Goldberg to Daniel
Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Richard Holbrooke. And the record
will show that none of them made much headway except when they got blunt and
abrasive, and few, if any, made more headway than Mr. Bolton.

Which is all the more remarkable given that he was serving a recess
appointment. He was instrumental in keeping America out of the new Human
Rights Council, which even the New York Times is acknowledging is an
international embarrassment worse than the one it replaced. He pressed the
case for accountability and controls, working well with Christopher Burnham.
One had the feeling that Mr. Bolton got up earlier, worked harder on the
minutiae of the matters under discussion, and prospered by knowing the system
better than his adversaries, which is no doubt why the United Nations
apologists went to such extremes to oppose him, with Secretary General Annan's
deputy, Mark Malloch Brown, entering the American domestic political fray in
the effort to block Mr. Bolton's confirmation.

There will be now a scramble to fill Mr. Bolton's shoes. Among those touted as
potential successors are George Mitchell, a Democrat who was a failure as a
Middle East peacemaker; Senator DeWine, who doesn't have much of a foreign
policy reputation and who failed to win re-election in Ohio; and Zalmay
Khalilzad, the American ambassador in Baghdad who has skillfully deflected
onto President Bush the blame for what has gone wrong in Iraq. Our own
instinct is that at this point a good confirmation fight would be worth more
than the confirmation of any one of the above.

Mr. Bush could get this kind of illuminating fight with the nomination of,
say, Claudia Rosett, the brilliant journalist who pursued so doggedly the
oil-for-food scandal. Senator Coleman and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are other
inspired partisans who come to mind. But there will be plenty to choose from.
To the extent the United Nations is useful at all, it is as a megaphone for
explaining American policy to the world. Sending anyone to Turtle Bay with
hopes of doing anything other than delivering the American message, trying to
catch crooks misusing taxpayer dollars, and blowing the whistle on the
anti-Israel bias would be naïve. The best move the president would make is to
react to the defeat of Mr. Bolton by moving now to hold back as much money as
he can of the $5 billion a year America spends on the United Nations. It's the
least he could do if he can't get his most trusted choice as envoy to look out
for how our money is spent.


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