What a surprise. President Bush has nominated John Bolton, a neocon and U.N. hater to be its ambassador. Even the Washington Post's lead sentence can't hide the irony of this nomination: President Bush has chosen Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, a longtime critic of the United Nations and a hard-liner on Taiwan-China relations and arms control, to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations… The man has been quoted saying things such as: In 1994, he charged, “There’s no such thing as the United Nations,” saying that ‘’If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.'’ Four years later, he attacked the international body again, saying, “many Republicans in Congress - and perhaps a majority - not only do not care about losing the General Assembly vote but actually see it as a ‘make my day’ outcome. Indeed, once the vote is lost, and the adverse consequences predicted by the U.N.’s supporters begin to occur, this will simply provide further evidence to many why nothing more should be paid to the U.N. system.” Look for other lovely quotes from Bolton at Think Progress. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's responsd to the nomination with: This is a disappointing choice and one that sends all the wrong signals. At a time when President Bush has recognized we need to begin repairing our damaged relations with the rest of the world, he nominates someone with a long history of being opposed to working cooperatively with other nations. Just as unfortunate, Mr. Bolton has overseen this Administration’s flawed proliferation policy that has seen North Korea quadruple its nuclear arsenal and seen Iran take dangerous steps toward the development of nuclear weapons. Mr. Bolton will have much to answer for during the course of his confirmation hearings.” While the conservatives overrun their blogs and Web sites with hateful remarks and articles about the UN, very little from the left respond with articles about what would happen to the world if the UN was not around (and what would have happened in the past. SARS anyone?)Check out UN Dispatch, one of the few blogs that highlights the good work of the UN.
Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.