Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Borking of Bolton

’The Weekly Standard’s’ editor, William Kristol , explains what’s really at stake in the battle over John Bolton.

Kristol argues that if Bolton is defeated that will send a message to all conservatives that if you take on the permanent bureaucracy your reputation will be destroyed, your charcter will be impugned, etc. If Bolton is defeated, Bush will get to name a replacement. The replacement will be someone more likely to defer to the permanent bureacracy, not someone as good as Bolton and someone chastened by the defeat of Bolton.

Eighteen years ago, conservatives watched as Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court was defeated. Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy in his place. The result has been 18 years of incoherent Constitutional jurisprudence which only Ted Kennedy can love.

Kristol believes the same sort of consequence could follow in foreign policy, if Bolton is defeated.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Opposition to Bolton, whether it comes from liberal Democrats or moderate Republicans like me, is not based at all on his "taking on the bureaucracy." I would love a UN nominee who could take on the bureaucracy.

I oppose John Bolton because I don’t think he can be effective as our voice in New York. At a time when a functioning UN could be a vital ally against terrorism, or in dealing with the genocidal crisis in Darfur, or in any other number of areas, we do need a leader there who can help push reform. We do not need an ambassador who has proven himself ill-inclined toward the very purpose of the United Nations in the past, and who as we have seen does not much like following policies to which he does not subscribe (see his off-the-reservation speech prior to negotiations with North Korea in 2003, or his apparent refusal to allow information contrary to his positions to reach his most recent bosses, Colin Powell or Condi Rice.

President Bush knows that there are numerous other Republicans, fine conservatives all, who would make great UN ambassadors. Richard Armitage? Chuck Hagel? Dan Burton? I could go on. None of these guys have ever been accused of shrinking from a fight, and any of them would meet with quick acceptance from moderates and probably the vast majority of Democrats as well.

- Charging RINO

It hardly took a glance into a crystal ball to conclude as Kristol did. Of course the smearing of Bolton is display of cultural and political power. BUT also was Bolton’s cringing performance before the Foreign Relations Comm. INSTEAD of turning the table on the defenders of the status quo, and the old corrupt regime, he trotted out the same sorry nonsense we’ve been hearing for decades. To wit, "We want the UN to work, we share the belief in the unique role of the UN, we don’t want to do anything to rock the unique legitimacy of the UN, blah, blah, blah...." It was grotesque. When he was querried about his statements concerning the UN, he should have parried by asking if the oil for palaces program should serve as a future model for all similar relief projects...." He should have been instructed to answer each question, with a parrying question.

Functioning UN is an oxymoron. The UN functioned briefly during the Korean war, only because the Soviets were boycotting the meetings. Every other member nation votes strictly their own interests, all ganging up to split the loot they can extort from the United States. Bolton will unapologetically represent the United States.

What exactly do you mean by ’function’? In fact the UN does accomplishes quite a few things, particularily in the fields of public health and development. These are the fields in which the vast majority of the "permanent bureaucracy" (which is no more "permanent" than any other bureaucracy in the public or private sector) do their day-today work. You have a UN agency (the WHO) to thank for the fact that he SARS epidemic was controlled in such an efficient manner (our own national "public health" system is a disgrace by any standard). A little gratitude is in order. Everyone seems to have their panties in a wad about the oil-for-food scandal, but honestly is this really such a big deal? Worse things happen every day under the CPA, and at least the Oil-for-Food program actually saved thousands of lives, something which none of your pathetic tirades ever did. Look, it’s a simple economic fact: when you institute a sanctions regime, there is going to be a certain amount of grift and corruption, whether that sanctions regime is run by the UN or the US Navy, or (in this case) both at the same time.
As far as the UN member-states ganging up to "extort loot" from the US, I can’t say anything definite, but I can say that if they are indeed doing such a thing they’re making a pretty piss-poor mess of it, considering that the US does not even pay its regular dues to the UN.

The fact that the UN is present where good things happen doesn’t mean that the UN is responsible for those good things.

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