Bolton Sent Packing, America Cheers
By: Ben Casey, The Rebel Yell (UNLV)
December 19, 2006 4:40 PM
(U-WIRE) LAS VEGAS - Another vestige of the imperial arrogance of the Bush crowd is destined for the trashcan. John Bolton, temporarily appointed the U.S. representative to the United Nations during a recess of Congress, has submitted his resignation, effective the beginning of the next session of Congress.
Bolton was, in his capacity as the U.S. representative to the United Nations, doing nothing so much as giving The Finger human form. His appointment was yet another effort by Bush and his faction of the conservative movement to damage the United States' relations with the international order. His personal and ideological belligerence was so great that even moderate Republicans balked at the idea of confirming him. Now, with a Democratic majority in both houses, the futility of his presence has dawned on the administration, and they will soon need to find a more agreeable candidate.
The significance of Bolton as a U.N. nominee is ultimately in his belligerent personality and his fervent opposition to the United Nations. In fact, a major platform of the Bush Administration and its cheerleading section has been demeaning the United Nations -- a platform it has developed primarily since its failure to abuse the United Nations into going to war in Iraq.
While there has been an anti-U.N. faction of American society since the establishment of the venerable body, its marriage into the imperial corporatists represented by Bush is a strange one. It used to be that the tenor of right-wing opposition to the United Nations was not contemptuous but paranoid.
Far from a corrupt, feckless failure of an organization, the United Nations was supposed to be the public face of a sinister New World Order destined to overthrow American democracy and replace it with some kind of Orwellian, totalitarian state.
Indeed, almost every right-wing American fantasy of the Apocalypse from the founding of the United Nations has featured it as a bogeyman, the puppet of the Antichrist. And we're not even talking about a vestige of an era long past either. As recently as the mid-90s, the Left Behind series was penned with exactly that concept in mind.
But now the tone is different. The United Nations is not a threat, but a burden. It requires "reform" to make it "effective." One of those clamoring for "reform" of the United Nations was John Bolton, a dyed-in-the-wool American imperialist.
He cut his teeth on the Goldwater campaign and was a mid-level factotum for the Reagan administration. That only marks him as a conservative, and there's nothing wrong with that. What makes him odious is the finer points of his record.
He supported Vietnam but signed up for the National Guard, thus avoiding combat service. He was a member of the Project for the New American Century, a political organization whose goal is essentially to push the United States to treat international diplomacy as something rather like a game of Risk. What we can derive from all of that is a picture of not just a nationalist, but a sour, selfish jingoist willing to shed as much of someone else's blood, as that is what it takes to keep his country strong.
Bolton was one of the leading American figures in power interfering with U.N. processes of late. He's a fervent opponent of the International Criminal Court, the enforcement of nonproliferation clauses against the United States and essentially any other structure of the international organization designed to curb the interests of the American government in any fashion.
Add to that the fact that he apparently abused subordinates, and what you have is a candidate who could not be further from ideal for a diplomat.
So why did Bush nominate him at all, let alone try to evade the legislative process by pushing through his appointment behind Congress's back? In his own words, more telling than he probably intended, "John Bolton can get the job done at the United Nations." The "job" was to convince the United Nations that it's our way or the highway. Not a job we'd like to have anyone get done, but one he'd nonetheless be great for.
He was supposed to be the face of the neoconservative movement, whose bottom line is looking after number one. He was to present to the world as uninterested in cooperation or compromise, furtive, hostile and abusive. With the defeat of the neoconservative agenda in the November elections, Bolton saw the writing on the wall and submitted his resignation.
We launched Bush's war in Iraq, a discretionary war launched on a specious pretext, against the international consensus. The U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq turned up nothing. Instead of deferring to their judgment, the neoconservatives lurched into crude anti-U.N. rhetoric, and the domestic peanut gallery followed suit.
(I can't even count the number of tedious cracks I recall being made at the expense of Hans Blix for his failure to find those nonexistent WMDs.)
Bush's government, from his stance on the Kyoto Protocol to John Bolton, is obsessively defiant of international order. So who benefits from this? Certainly not the American people. We have disastrous climate change to show for our anti-Kyoto Protocol stance, we have thousands of Americans dead in an unwinable occupation to show for brushing Blix aside and invading, and we have a tarnished international reputation for the recess appointment of John Bolton. (If he had been appointed permanently, we'd have a belligerent man-child in our highest diplomatic office to show for it.)
On the other hand, the neoconservative's corporate backers got, respectively, lower industrial pollution restrictions and big U.S. grants for the reconstruction and development of Iraq. If they had gotten Bolton, it would have served no benefit but for those fortunate few whose wallets have grown fatter as a consequence of our disastrous Iraqi adventure: after all, with the United States outside of the United Nations' purview, it could launch another Iraq war whenever it liked.
The neoconservatives' ideology was one of pigheaded government, socialism for the rich, with a smokescreen of tough talk by draft-dodging cowards about muscular defense of American interests. It has been tried for six years and found wanting.
The resignation of Bolton shows that, whether or not the President likes it, the neoconservatives are not entitled to bully the American people, or the world at large, to serve their own bottom line.