My Photo

« How We Hurt Each Other | Main | An Interesting Change Of Plans... »

April 25, 2005

Comments

[yawn]

More leaks from St. Colin...

Let's see Bolton wanted to be tougher than State establishment. Film at 11.

Assume that the source of the leak is Mr. Powell (and I assume it was, or someone action on behalf of him). If the charge is true -- i.e., that far from being partially responsible for the deal on Libya's WMDs, Bolton may have almost tanked it -- does it matter?

"The President's choice doesn't trump the national interest; being the Executive is not the same as being inerrant."

Coulda fooled me, von: isn't the converse of your statement precisely the motivating ideology behind most of the Republican Party's recent eruptions of fulminating outrage that mere Democrats might dare to question the suitability of any of King George's lordly anoint--- er, sorry, nominations to, say, the Federal bench?

Oh, silly me, that's right... it's only Democratic Presidents that are fallible and culpable: when Republicans are in office, the rules of Inerrancy apply, automatically, and in every case.
How could I have forgotten?

von, ya beat me to it ;) -- Newsweek credits both US and British sources, so unless Powell has taken out dual citizenship, it's not just him, if it is him at all.

Your key is "if" and may more importantly be a "does it matter?" How do we know that Bolton wasn't the designated "bad cop" and was doing exactly what he was being asked?

I was neutral on Bolton, but the more I see of how much St. Colin is trying to sabotage his appointment the more I'm likely to support him. Powell was the least effective and most overrated guy in the entire administration, and if Powell liked him I'd be suspicious.

Good post, von. I'm wondering how timely the panning-out of this will be.

Macallan: Your key is "if" and may more importantly be a "does it matter?"

Depends. If you see the job of an Ambassador as being the "bad cop" - if you figure it doesn't matter that Bolton is widely regarded, even among US allies, as untrustworthy and not good at diplomacy - then it doesn't matter.

Personally, I tend to agree with you: US credibility under the Bush administration is zero. It's really difficult for me to see how anything Bolton could say or do at the UN could render US credibility any lower: you can't go lower than zero, and the Bush administration can't hope to improve the situation. There's really nothing to be done about that except either impeach Bush, or wait for 2008. Therefore, fundamentally, appointing Bolton merely confirms international opinion in a matter that needed no further confirmation: the Bush administration is untrustworthy and unreliable. As you say: it doesn't matter.

Powell was the least effective and most overrated guy in the entire administration

Unlike those pillars of wisdom and probity, Cheney, Rumsfeld, WOlfowitz, Feith etc. and their brilliant Iraq policy, which would have soared but for Powell's negativism?

If Bolton is so essential to address the corruption scandals in the U.N., why not instead use him to root out the much more serious problems of corruption with US spending in Iraq? After all, the money missing from the CPA dwarfs the oil for food scandal by several billion dollars. Use Bolton's famous talents for non-diplomacy to crack that nut, and actually do our country some good.

Oh, for Pete's sake.

"The President's choice doesn't trump the national interest; being the Executive is not the same as being inerrant."

Coulda fooled me, von: isn't the converse of your statement precisely the motivating ideology behind most of the Republican Party's recent eruptions of fulminating outrage that mere Democrats might dare to question the suitability of any of King George's lordly anoint--- er, sorry, nominations to, say, the Federal bench?

Oh, silly me, that's right... it's only Democratic Presidents that are fallible and culpable: when Republicans are in office, the rules of Inerrancy apply, automatically, and in every case.
How could I have forgotten?

I should also say that the idea that Bolton was just bucking the "State Department establishment" bizarre, once you unpack it. Think about this para. from the NRO editorial:

"This was at the root of Bolton's dispute with Powell. Since he has no strong philosophical moorings himself, Powell quickly became the servant of the permanent State Department establishment, for whom Bush's post-9/11 reorienting of U.S. foreign policy was discomfiting at best. Bolton was not just a believer in Bush's foreign policy, but regarded it as his professional duty to represent it in a building where he knew it wouldn't make him popular. Yes, this occasionally meant clashes with bureaucratic underlings. This was sometimes necessary — it is President Bush's appointees who are supposed to be setting the direction of the U.S. government, not bureaucrats with their own agendas. But it mostly meant that Bolton was routinely disagreeing with Powell and Armitage, who are now bent on exacting their revenge in a campaign marked by Powell's trademark underhanded style."

So: Bolton is sticking up for Bush's foreign policy, which he thinks he has to defend against "underlings". But those underlings have somehow won the allegiance of the secretary and Dep. Secretary of State, Bolton's superiors, so he has to fight them as well. This is somehow supposed to be a way of sticking up for the principle that "President Bush's appointees (...) are supposed to be setting the direction of the U.S. government, not bureaucrats with their own agendas." What are we to make of the fact that Powell and Armitage are also Bush appointees, and in fact people who were appointed, by Bush, to positions superior to Bolton's? Aren't they supposed to be the ones setting the direction of the government, but this argument? Well, apparently not, since Bolton knows, somehow, that despite Bush's having appointed them, he is the one who knows what Bush's policy really is, and therefore he has to work against his superiors, who have been turned into pod people by the Foreign Service.

When you think your superior is not doing what he should be doing, you go to him and make your best case. If this doesn't work, and it's important, you go to his superior. (Easy in Bolton's case, given his access to Cheney.) If what you say is accepted, your superior will be told to act accordingly. If not, you lost, and you should suck it up. What you should not do is work to undermine your superiors on the assumption that you know best. The idea that Powell and Armitage hate Bolton because he was sticking up for the President's policies, which they were working against, requires that we ignore these basic facts: that Bush appointed Powell and Armitage, and could have reined them in had he wanted to; that there were honorable ways for Bolton to make his dissent known, and that working to undermine the policies his supervisors set was not one of them.

von: It's time for Bolton to step aside, and serve his country in another way.

When you say this, do you actually mean anything by it or is this just a rhetorical flourish designed to palliate the fact that Bolton's an incompetent nutter? If you do, a) in what manner do you think Bolton should serve, and b) short of actual criminal liability what does a guy have to do to disqualify himself from the honor of serving?

To those who still support Bolton, a different question: assume that Bolton and Bush keep their current stances. Short of actual live documentation of the various failings being described of Bolton, is there any combination of testimony or documentation that would cause you to rescind your support for him?

Macallan: Powell was the least effective and most overrated guy in the entire administration, and if Powell liked him I'd be suspicious.

If Powell was so ineffective and overrated, why didn't the admin have John Bolton make the case for invading Iraq to the U.N.? Holding up baggies of baking soda as evidence for nonexistant WMD programs would have been right up his alley, right?

Were they worried he might actually throw the baggy at one of the other delegates?

How do we know that Bolton wasn't the designated "bad cop" and was doing exactly what he was being asked?

Occam's Razor springs to mind.

How do we know that Bolton wasn't the designated "bad cop" and was doing exactly what he was being asked?

Occam's Razor springs to mind.

Von: I agree with your post and that the Bolton nomination should be rejected because of the man's compromised credibility, not because he has bad manners.

However, I always find it hilarious when butt-kickers get their butts kicked on occasion. Once in a while, folks like this need to have the world tell them that it wasn't created expressly to serve their ends.

It's a welfare mentality.

"How do we know that Bolton wasn't the designated "bad cop" and was doing exactly what he was being asked?

Occam's Razor springs to mind."

There's also the fact that playing "bad cop" requires you to stick to the script. It's one thing to threaten and bluster as a way of making the other side negotiate with your designated "good cop" partner. But if you have no self-control and no sense of how to act as part of a team, you cannot even be an effective "bad cop". A would-be "bad cop" whose just *bad* at it will burst in and lose the confession just when the "good cop" was starting to reap the harvest.

That's what was happening with Libya, according to the UK reports. Bolton is not an admirable and effective tough-guy--he's just a ham-handed blow-hard who should find a line of work unconnected to foreign policy.

...he's just a ham-handed blow-hard who should find a line of work unconnected to foreign policy.

maybe he could be a manager for a pro wrestler.

"maybe he could be a manager for a pro wrestler."

With that mustache? How long before some opponent decides the best way to win is to create some new mustache-pulling maneuver with a silly name?

"maybe he could be a manager for a pro wrestler."

For some reason I've been daydreaming about a face-off between Bolton and Garrison Keillor.

Maybe Bolton does have a face only Larry Eagleburger could love.

"Powell was the least effective and most overrated guy in the entire administration"

Less effective and more overrated than Condi Rice, who in order to avoid culpability was forced to admit that she had not the slightest idea what was going on in her own office or with the materials under her care? Condi for President!

Also, I'd put Bush up near the top.

If you do, a) in what manner do you think Bolton should serve, and b) short of actual criminal liability what does a guy have to do to disqualify himself from the honor of serving?

Bolton might be useful at the Pentagon and he might be effective at pressing a policy agenda.

Jay C., I don't think anyone is infallible and I don't know where you'd get that I think to the contrary.

The issue isn't whether Bolton is an honest man; it's whether he is credible representative of the US's interests.

So, it doesn't matter if what people badmouthing you say is true, if X number do it, that's all that matters. Gives one to wonder if the Swifties' detractors agree with that premise.

The Ultimate Warrior might have a opening for a more intimidating director of communications.

von:
Obviously
(well, in fact, it's NOT obvious, else I wouldn't have to post a responding comment to point out its non-obviousness) - I did NOT think you were postulating anyone's (least of all George W. Bush's) "infallibility" - my comment was meant to be a sarcastic gloss on the linked comment re Mr. Bolton - and besides, I know better than to argue with lawyers.
( ;) )
Cheers,
J

So who's Bush going to nominate after either Bolton withdraws or the committee fails to send the nomination to the floor?

Who are the "tough-talking scamps" with credibility that will meet with Cheney's approval?

KCinDC,

*LOL*. [After reading all the way through... took a little effort but worth it in the end!]

"Personally, I tend to agree with you: US credibility under the Bush administration is zero. It's really difficult for me to see how anything Bolton could say or do at the UN could render US credibility any lower: you can't go lower than zero, and the Bush administration can't hope to improve the situation."

Posted by: Jesurgislac

I'd really hate to bet on Bush and his people being unable to decrease the credibility of the USA even further.

Who are the "tough-talking scamps" with credibility that will meet with Cheney's approval?

as always, it's safe to assume he'll pick someone guaranteed to make everyone say "Ummm... WTF?!" i sometimes think that's the #1 qualification.

maybe ... Oliver North ? is Caspar Weinberger still alive ?

Bolton might be useful at the Pentagon and he might be effective at pressing a policy agenda.

Assuming, arguendo, the truth of the allegations against him... how so?

"The Libya deal succeeded only after British officials "at the highest level" persuaded the White House to keep Bolton off the negotiating team."

Sounds like the good cop/bad cop strategy really paid off. Obviously, score another one for the Bush administration.

via Steve Clemons, there's this: the John Bolton saga in emoticons.

Now see the NYT on how he tried to misrepresent the intel on WMD's in Syria.

Remember last summer we were all trying to figure out how we could have suffered such a series of catastrophic intelligence failures? This guy Bolton is a walking intelligence failure. He doesn't listen to the evidence. He doesn't listen to the professionals. He just decides what propaganda he wants to put out, and stops at nothing to put it out.

And the people he tried to over-ride--the conservative, evidence-based career professionals--were consistently right on the intel. And he was consistently wrong. What a catastrophe.

This guy Bolton is a walking intelligence failure. He doesn't listen to the evidence. He doesn't listen to the professionals. He just decides what propaganda he wants to put out, and stops at nothing to put it out.

I can absolutely understand why he is George W. Bush's nominee.

He just decides what propaganda he wants to put out, and stops at nothing to put it out.

Don't let the facts get in your way.

"One newly declassified message, dated April 30, 2002, and sent by a senior State Department intelligence official, dismissed as `a stretch' language about a possible Syrian nuclear program that had been spelled out in a draft speech circulated by Mr. Bolton's aides for approval. In the speech itself, delivered five days later, Mr. Bolton made no reference to a Syrian nuclear program."

And from the Times of London:

"As a series of new allegations against Mr Bolton put his chances of confirmation further into doubt, details emerged of how a furious Mr Straw told Colin Powell, the former US Secretary of State, that Mr Bolton was trying to destroy a European initiative on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Mr Straw made the complaint after he became convinced that Mr Bolton was the source of an article on the front page of The Times last July quoting an unnamed senior US official who dismissed the initiative as “spring training” and advocated “regime change” in Tehran. The Times has never revealed its source."

Wrong paragraph highlighted. Apparently Mr. Straw was letting his imagination talk.

Mac: Actually, I didn't highlight either paragraph; it somehow carried over from your last post.

Also, is it getting at all difficult to dismiss so many people as fabricators or character assassins?

Also, is it getting at all difficult to dismiss so many people as fabricators or character assassins?

LOL ;pp

Also, is it getting at all difficult to dismiss so many people as fabricators or character assassins?

No, it's getting easier.

Stop the bold!
Would that it be that easy to stop the kind of obnoxious personal attacks that Mac links to.

Those articles also failed to mention the fact that Lynne Finney, the women who claims she was abused by Bolton, has problems with her memory. She believes that she long suppressed and later recovered memories that she was molested by her father - a process which the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association regard as dubious and an unreliable source of testimony.

I'm really embarassed and I hope no one ever does a similar thing to you.

I'm really embarassed and I hope no one ever does a similar thing to you.

Oh, the irony!


Hope that does it

None so blind...

It's funny--I certainly think that all of us should read a variety of blogs across the ideological spectrum. There's no point in only reading views you already agree with. And when you read views you disagree with, it's natural to register your disagreements, along with any grounds you have for them, in the comments.

However, I also know that I have stopped commenting on certain blogs because I began to lose respect for the quality of the writers, and the interaction on the threads. When I come to a point where I think that the blog's primary clientele is not just wrong, but irredeemably foolish, then it seems to me that I should stop participating. When I think it would be either impossible or dishonest to meet the other party half-way, when I find I simply cannot take their arguments seriously, then to continue to take a contrarian line and spout unavailing opposition would be to sink into trolldom.

Presumably we all want to avoid trolldom on the one side, and the echo-chamber on the other. We want to be involved in the project of changing our own minds and changing the minds of others, but out of some realistic hope of progress, and not merely a spiteful desire to leave disagreeable grafitti on the other's walls.

It's would be sadly funny (or amusingly sad) if it weren't all so predictable.

When it's done to someone who wanders off the Bush reservation (O'Neill, Clarke, etc.) it's just telling hard truth about that person. When it's done to a Bush appointee, it's "character assassination."

Until one of the latter becomes one of the former -- e.g., Powell. Remember when he was a no-nonsense Administration results-getter who was going to walk into the UN and go all Adlai Stevenson on their butts? Now he's an ineffective satrap of careerist civil servants trying to torpedo Saint Bolton.

If it just weren't so predictable . . .

If it just weren't so predictable . . .

Of course it's predictable: reality must be made to conform to the narrative.

The folks at the UN already believe the US is a nation of spoiled brats, amoral hillbillies and paranoid frat boys...Bolton would make sure the UN never forgets that.

The folks at the UN already believe the US is a nation of spoiled brats, amoral hillbillies and paranoid frat boys...

Oh darn the Dictator and Kleptocrat's Club doesn't think we're one of the cool kids.

Oh darn the Dictator and Kleptocrat's Club doesn't think we're one of the cool kids.

But enough about the Bush Administration. *rimshot*

The comments to this entry are closed.