Roger L. Simon

John Bolton - Tough Love for the UN

The AP’s Nick Wadham writes this morning:

In the weeks after John Danforth resigned as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rumors that John Bolton might replace him sparked dismay among some U.N. diplomats. Could the White House possibly have the nerve, they asked, to appoint the renowned U.N. critic to the post?

So when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced on Monday that Bolton was her choice for the job, the mood among some U.N. staff was disbelief.

Yet the pulling of hair may be a little premature. While Bolton is known for gruffness and occasional outbursts, the United Nations already has plenty of diplomats who share those qualities. Diplomats who know him said he was a man they could work with.

Good thing too, because Bush is actually doing the UN a favor. Given Oil-for-Food and the seemingly endless sex scandals the international organization is a close as it ever has been to marginalization – and this before the already delayed Volkcer Report on OFF has been published. By choosing a supposed hardliner (if that’s what Bolton really is) the US President is at least signaling he’s interested in reforming the United Nations, not ignoring it as many recommend. And without serious reform, we might as well cede Turtle Bay to Donald Trump and let him put in a casino. At least then we’d know where our money was going.

Hint to Democrats: Why not demonstrate some foreign policy maturity by not making a big deal over this nomination?

UPDATE: I gather OUR HOUSE sees things similarly (scroll down). BTW, this blog has an amusing epigraph, reminiscent of the classic: “Think Yiddish and dress British.”