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May 03, 2005

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The last link there is botched, hilzoy.

As to your substantive question, why Bolton should be ambassador, well, he's a "results-oriented person" dontcha know, and all the stuff he's done, well, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few heads. Or rules. Or some crap like that. Management bullsh**-ese isn't really my strong suit.

And it was fixed while I was tinkering around with my post. Never mind.

I assume Bolton thought he was serving the best interests of his president and party and country. Re the split memo, I'll bet my second-best flute that he had direct orders from the VP to behave in such cases in exactly the manner he did. Such a man should ideally not be an undersecretary or subordinate to anyone but his master, and UN ambassador seems entirely appropriate.

Will someone tell me again why this guy should ever be put in any responsible position, let alone made an ambassador?

Because he represents the policy of the Executive branch of the government and does not pursue his own policy at odds with the administration.

But rilkefan said it first, and better.

The "news" about the "secret" plans for the Iraq war (see thread below for accumulated "yeah, right"s) puts Bolton in context. The question isn't whether or not you support an aggressive management style, a gruff approach to diplomacy, and a policy shift re: the UN. It's whether or not you support the administration in its No Dissent philosophy. From Social Security Town Halls to foreign policy, it is the policy of Bushco to surround itself with sycophants.

You do realize the real implication of what rilkefan "said better" is that Cheney tends to be a lying sonofab*tch, right?

The "news" about the "secret" plans for the Iraq war (see thread below

I think it was pretty well demonstrated in a thread below that the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 clearly stated that regime change in Iraq was official US policy.

Cheney tends to be a lying sonofab*tch,

Regardless of what you personally think of the administration, the UN ambassador is supposed to represent the United States, and specifically the administration that appointed him/her (wish we had Jeanne Kirkpatrick again) and is not supposed to be an agent acting in the interests of the UN.

I think it was pretty well demonstrated in a thread below that the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 clearly stated that regime change in Iraq was official US policy.

armed overthrow and occupation was not part of the 1998 policy.

Sure, at the time President Clinton was emphasizing ading Iraqi opposition groups. But there was language in the law that authorized military actions and spending, generally related to no-fly zones, etc., but still, military action was being taken at the time.

DaveC: Regardless of what you personally think of the administration, the UN ambassador is supposed to represent the United States, and specifically the administration that appointed him/her

I think you're right, actually.

Bolton is an entirely suitable candidate to represent the Bush administration to the UN, and - as I have said before - I believe the damage he can do is limited: international trust in the US/American credibility is already at zero, so I don't see how Bolton can diminish it further. I think his appointment is neutral.

It would be good if the Bush administration chose to appoint an ambassador to the UN who would be honest, credible, and respected, but to do that, the ambassador would have to have credible independence from the Bush administration, and the Bush administration will not appoint such a representative.

Roll on 2008.

But there was language in the law that authorized military actions and spending

don't play games.

Final paragraph of the ILA:

    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.

    ...

    4.a.2: MILITARY ASSISTANCE- The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for such organizations

that is a million miles from Invade, Overthrow and Occupy.

DaveC: "Because he represents the policy of the Executive branch of the government and does not pursue his own policy at odds with the administration."

I don't know whether you mean to be making this point:

"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."

But, frankly, I think it's a crock. George W. Bush appointed Colin Powell, not John Bolton, to be his Secretary of State. If he felt that Powell had become too allied with the State Department bureaucrats, he could have asked him to resign. If you think that somehow he couldn't, because it would have been unpopular, then (leaving aside questions about whether a genuine leader should do it anyways) he could still have asked Rich Armitage to resign, and appointed Bolton in his place.

Since he did none of those things, I cannot see why people think that what Bolton did was somehow necessary because he, not Powell or Armitage, was carrying out Bush's "real" foreign policy. Nor do I see why, if he disagreed with Powell, the right thing to do wouldn't have been to take it to Bush (or his chief of staff, or someone else in a position to make these determinations), and ask: what it Bush's view?, rather than engaging in dishonest maneuverings behind the back of his superiors, whom Bush appointed.

Because he represents the policy of the Executive branch of the government and does not pursue his own policy at odds with the administration.

Is insubordination the policy of the Executive Branch? What gave Bolton or the Vice-President the right to undermine the Secretary of State? People may joke that Cheney runs the country and that Bush wipes his nose when Cheney sneezes, but Cheney's formal power is very limited. If, as many suspect, Bolton was Cheney's mole then Bolton's behavior was technically criminal. The Vice-President does not have the right or the duty to second-guess the Secretary of State or encourage falsification of reports.

It appears to me that Secretary Rice is endorsing Bolton because she wants him out of Foggy Bottom now. She will not tolerate being second-guessed and undermined by Bolton and Cheney. It's too bad that Secretary Powell let himself be used by these people.

Is insubordination the policy of the Executive Branch?

I think you have it backwards. The Executive Branch is supposed to be the boss. The President and Vice-President are the elected leaders of our country, and the Sec of State is a cabinet appointee.

Then that begs the question you haven't answered: If Bolton, not Powell, was representing "real" Bush-Cheney policy when he undermined Powell, why wasn't Powell fired and Bolton made Secretary of State?

...why wasn't Powell fired and Bolton made Secretary of State?

Powell served one BushCo policy pretty well : give the appearance, at least, of moderation and thoughtfulness with respect to a particular goal, regardless of how cynical and radical the actual goal may be.

DaveC - the constitutional role of the Vice-President does not include putting moles into State. The VP has no right to undermine the Secretary of State. If, as you imply, the President put Bolton into this position, it would be consistent with the President's inability to be honest or take responsibility for errors. Now, since you brought it up, do you think the President told Secretary Powell that he had put Bolton into State as his minder, and how did he do that legally?

Interesting that Bolton admits he joined the National Guard in 1970 to avoid being sent to Vietnam, despite supporting the war. There's your tough guy, your "damn the torpedoes" fearless hero.

Interesting that Bolton admits he joined the National Guard in 1970 to avoid being sent to Vietnam, despite supporting the war.

so, he fits right in with the rest of 'em.

See - even back in 1970, he was supporting the Executive Branch position, which was that dying in Vietnam was for others.

See - even back in 1970, he was supporting the Executive Branch position, which was that dying in Vietnam was for others.

Huh, and Powell failed to wholeheartedly support that position. It is all becoming clear.

Now, Colin Powell did characterize the situation in Darfur as genocide, but of course, the UN blew him off. I don't mind if John Bolton is a jerk; the UN is a corrupt organization, what with the Oil for food scandals, child prostitution rings, Srebenicia, and inattention to a host of other things like Zimbabwe, Myanmar, possibly distant memories like Pol Pot, East Timor, and the Pakistani genocide against Bengalis in the country now known as Bangladesh, matters that the posters and commenters here do not deign to discuss. Sure, you would like a UN ambassador like Madeline Albright, but I do not.

Now, I need to get back to the "Hotel Rwanda" DVD.

I have to run but: you're citing East Timor as evidence of the UN's failings? East Timor, whose invasion was masterminded by staunch American ally/puppet and tinpot dictator General Suharto, who was probably a worse son-of-a-bitch than Saddam but was nevertheless our bestest bud? East Timor, whose genocide was conducted under the aegis of American diplomacy? East Timor, whose genocide happened not just with American knowledge but possibly American sanction? [There's a reason the East Timorese have been trying to get Kissinger indicted for war crimes, you know, and it's not just 'cause they don't have cable.] You're blaming the UN for that East Timor? Good grief. It's good thing I have to run; I'm torn between outrage and derisive laughter that you'd think to pin those atrocities at the UN's door.

Heck, maybe I am wrong about E Timor, I am not saying that the UN causd this or that the US ha no fault in this, just was remembering the things that the UN did not address or solve.

Also, forgot to mention the 2 million people in N Korea that were deliberately starved to death a few years ago.

I am not exactly a pro-UN guy, if you get my drift, and that is why I see no need for a US ambassador to defer to the UN in its current state of affairs.

The missing letters here and there were the computer's fault. I think it malfunctions very late at night.

Heck, maybe I am wrong about E Timor, I am not saying that the UN causd this or that the US ha no fault in this, just was remembering the things that the UN did not address or solve.

One of the other "things" you mentioned was Pol Pot, a very nasty thing indeed. But the UN did address this, in exactly the way the US wanted. When the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and overthrew Pol Pot, the Security Council condemned Vietnam.

DaveC: I am not saying that the UN causd this or that the US ha no fault in this, just was remembering the things that the UN did not address or solve.

So you hold the UN to a higher standard than you hold the US? Why is this?

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