Monday, June 20, 2005

With Bolton Gone, Progress Gets Made

Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer have an important piece in today's Washington Post, running the same day as the second scheduled attempt in the Senate to end debate on John Bolton's nomination to be UN Ambassador. Since Bolton's departure as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, the pair report, "the Bush administration not only has moved to reconcile with Russia over nuclear threat reduction but also has dropped its campaign to oust the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and made common cause with European allies in offering incentives to Iran to persuade it to drop any ambitions for nuclear weapons."

In all three areas (Russia, IAEA, Iran), Bolton came to be seen as a roadblock, and with the arrival of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State early this year, the issues were removed from his portfolio. Since then, as Baker and Linzer note, progress has been made on each (although they make clear that the causal relationships between Bolton's departure and the policy changes are not conclusive). Aside from those changes, the Post cites two other examples of key actions blocked by Bolton that have occurred since he left his post: the revival in May of the "New York channel" for communications with North Korea, and a March proposal to share civilian nuclear technology with India.

Other than getting him out of Condi Rice's way so that the State Department could actually accomplish something (clearly a successful step, judging from these examples), I can find nothing that justifies elevating Bolton to represent us at the United Nations. Seems to me, from everything else I've read (and it's only confirmed by this article) that John Bolton was effective at holding up progress on practically every major diplomatic initiative undertaken by the Bush Administration. What on earth could possess Bush and Rice to think he will make the best point-man for our efforts to reform the United Nations? It defies every fiber of common sense.

- More from Laura Rozen at War and Piece. She calls this "almost laughable." I'd agree, if it weren't so serious.

- More too from Mickey Kaus at Slate: "Surface story: Bolton promoted to powerful U.N. post where he'll destroy U.S. relations with allies! Real story: Bolton moved out of powerful State job to U.N. post where he can do much less damage!." Ugh.

[Update: Stygius has more as well. -- 11:50 a.m.]

[Note: I intend to live-blog the Senate's Bolton debate beginning at 5 p.m. EDT today, so come back for that if you aren't able to watch. -- 7:30 a.m.]


At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I commented on your blog the other day and mentioned my intention of finding other news blogs.

('Oh you!' 'Yeees! me :)' 'ok, then what?' )

well, to further this intent. I googled 'blogspot'. Have you ever done that? I realized that infact newsblog seemed to the most popular blogs. There were quite a few american and british blogs and many iraqie blogs as well.
Your's and Kevin's and a few other such blogs appeared to me to belong to a world I know of, live in. Those that have Bush and Blair and Saddam quite like an irritating fly in the room. Infact in one of my earlier world blogs, there was a mention of 'tho bush's intentions were never right, his actions have had some good impacts'.
Read these ones (just one example - and you'll know what I am talking about. Or did you always know about these, and I am one of the last ones that lived with illusions!

Also googled blogspot russia for some russian blogs, but I am exhausted by now...

At 3:28 PM, Blogger EG said...

Now I get it!

Put Bolton in the U.N., let the other ambassadors get pissed, replace him, and the next U.N. representative can effect reform. It's a great approach once you see the logic.


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