News Release

The Significance of John Bolton; Anticipating Impacts at the U.N.


While diplomats assess the appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the following analysts are available for interviews:

Mekay is the chief correspondent in Washington for Asharq Alawsat, an Arabic-language newspaper based in London. He said today: “Bolton’s appointment sends a strong signal that the Bush administration wants to continue to twist international law and international institutions to fit its agenda and long-term ambitions in the Arab world. With hawks like Bolton working in the U.N., Washington shows no desire to stop intimidating the people of the Middle East with the ‘international legitimacy’ stick. This could eventually backfire as more and more Arabs realize that international legitimacy, laws and resolutions are now mostly used as another channel to pass Washington’s own policies, which many Arabs oppose, in the region. Bolton’s appointment also means that this feeling in Arab capitals will not be dispelled any time soon. In fact the widespread Arab perception that America is a trigger happy eager-to-go-to-war nation will be further reinforced.” Mekay formerly worked as a reporter in the Middle East for the New York Times, Reuters and the Dallas Morning News.
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Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, said today: “This is yet another case of punishing the realists and rewarding the extremists. Appointing John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations is not only an insult to that extraordinarily important institution, but as well an insult to the American people, who overwhelmingly support the U.N. This is a man who once said, ‘There is no United Nations. … When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow. When it suits our interest to do so, we will do so. When it does not suit our interests we will not.’ The Bush and Rice trips to Europe were supposed to be about mending fences with the Europeans. But appointing a well-known U.N.-basher to represent the U.S. in the U.N. will undermine any gains those trips might have achieved.”
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Lobe is the chief of the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service. He said today: “If President Bush wanted to establish a more-cooperative relationship with the United Nations and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, he probably could not have made a worse choice than John Bolton who, by just about any measure, has been the most fervent unilateralist in his administration. His arrogance, his confrontational demeanor, humorlessness and self-righteousness are certain to alienate everyone at the U.N. who believes that diplomacy has its place in international relations and the United States may not have the best answers to international problems all of the time. … Bolton, who as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security was institutionally responsible to Colin Powell, repeatedly undermined his boss in intra-administration fights between the hawks and the realists — a fact known to everyone in the administration. Knowing that history, it is frankly inconceivable that Rice would have chosen him as her U.N. ambassador. His appointment therefore suggests that, despite her and Bush’s conciliatory words in Europe, the balance of power within the administration has shifted very strongly in favor of the coalition of neo-conservatives, aggressive nationalists, and the Christian Right that led the drive to war in Iraq.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167