Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bolton up for renewal, time for the hitpiece by the NYTIMES.

UN: You knew it was coming as soon as it was clear that Bolton was coming up for a vote plus crybaby Voinovich saying he would vote for him this time around.

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 — In recent months, as one international crisis followed another, John R. Bolton has fulfilled the role of the United Nations’ most influential ambassador at full strength, firmly articulating the position of the United States government regarding Iran, North Korea and the Middle East. His performance won over at least one crucial critic, Senator George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio. Mr. Voinovich’s opposition a year ago forced Mr. Bolton to take the job as a presidential recess appointment, an arrangement that expires at the end of this Congress in January. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing this Thursday on Mr. Bolton’s renomination, and a floor vote could come in September. Mr. Voinovich said he would vote for Mr. Bolton this time. The Bush administration is not popular at the United Nations, where it is often perceived as disdainful of diplomacy, and its policies as heedless of the effects on others and single-minded in the willful assertion of American interests. By extension, then, many diplomats say they see Mr. Bolton as a stand-in for the arrogance of the administration itself. But diplomats focus particularly on an area with less evidence of instructions from Washington and more of Mr. Bolton’s personal touch, the mission that he has described as his priority: overhauling the institution’s discredited management. Envoys say he has in fact endangered that effort by alienating traditional allies. They say he combatively asserts American leadership, contests procedures at the mannerly, rules-bound United Nations and then shrugs off the organization when it does not follow his lead.
Thats the majority of the UN for you, how dare Bolton try to kickstart the reforms as others are happy just to dilly dally around. The internationalist democracts are unhappy about Bolton.
He has plenty of backers who remain convinced that only that kind of tough presence can alter the institution. Perhaps his strongest and longest standing supporter is Senator Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican who is a leading critic of the way the United Nations functions. “What John offers is what the U.S. needs at the U.N. today,” he said in an interview. “John is the right kind of change agent in a universe that is resistant to change. In order to get reform done, you’re going to have to push, you have to be assertive.” Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said, “He has done an extraordinary job representing the U.S. during what has turned out to be an extraordinary time at the U.N., and Secretary Rice thinks he’s doing a terrific job.” But over the past month, more than 30 ambassadors consulted in the preparation of this article who share the United States’ goal of changing United Nations management practices expressed misgivings over Mr. Bolton’s leadership. Representative Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on an international relations subcommittee that focuses on the United Nations, said that in a visit here last month he had encountered “frustration and resentment over the U.S. performance at the U.N.” And outside experts also expressed concerns. “I actually agree with Bolton on what has to be done at the U.N., but his confrontational tactics have been very dysfunctional for the U.S. purpose,” said Edward C. Luck, a professor of international affairs at Columbia who has followed the United Nations for three decades. “To be successful at the U.N., you have to build coalitions, and if you take unilateral action the way Bolton has, you’re isolated, and if you’re isolated, you can’t achieve much.” William H. Luers, president of the United Nations Association of the United States, an independent support group, said, “There clearly are occasions when you have to put your foot down, but if you put your foot down every day, it unravels any diplomatic assets you have.” Asked about the allied ambassadors’ broad criticisms, Mr. Bolton said, “What I object to as a matter of tactics is compromising with ourselves before we compromise with our opponents, and by compromising with ourselves, I mean compromising with our friends, too.”
The big objection seems to be he doesn't praise the UN enough which is incredible since there is virtually nothing to praise about it.
Mr. Bolton’s habit of avoiding any favorable mention of the United Nations while seizing many opportunities to disparage it is so well established that Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat, observed to him in a May hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee, “The role of constant scold I’m not sure is the best way to induce change.” An envoy of a country close to the United States complained that Mr. Bolton often stayed away from meetings, leaving ambassadors in the dark about American positions, then produced 11th-hour amendments and demands for reopening points that had been painfully muscled into consensus. “We are all like cooks, and the U.S. is sitting on the sidewalk and when we have this platter cooked, the U.S. comes in and says it was the wrong dish, you were cooking chicken and we wanted meat,” said an envoy from a country close to the United States. On June 30, Mr. Bolton stunned a group of allied ambassadors. As they waited in the office of Jan Eliasson, the president of the General Assembly, to approve a plan to review thousands of outdated and redundant directives, word arrived that Mr. Bolton had cut a side deal to postpone the effort. And he had done so with the three countries viewed as the proposal’s most vocal opponents, Egypt, India and South Africa. Mr. Bolton explained the incident by saying, “What I was trying to do was sit down with people whose positions diverge the most with the United States and, rather than work through indirection, negotiate directly.” But an envoy from a country that always votes with the United States said: “That came as very shocking and disappointing to us. We usually work very closely with him, but sometimes, I guess, you get surprised.”
Bolton is there as an agent for changing the UN culture. Don't like it, too bad. The same old way of sucking up is never going to change the UN for the better.

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