Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Fuck-You Diplomacy 

Ladies and gentlemen: please welcome Mr. Sidney Blumenthal, who has kindly consented to introduce your next ambassador to the U.N.:
In the heat of the battle over the Florida vote after the 2000 US presidential election, a burly, mustachioed man burst into the room where the ballots for Miami-Dade County were being tabulated, like John Wayne barging into a saloon for a shoot-out. "I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count," drawled John Bolton. And those ballots from Miami-Dade were not counted.

Now that same John Bolton has been named by President Bush as the US ambassador to the UN. "If I were redoing the security council today, I'd have one permanent member because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world," Bolton once said. Lately, as undersecretary of state for arms control, he has wrecked all the nonproliferation diplomacy within his reach. Over the past two decades he has been the person most dedicated to trying to discredit the UN. George Orwell's clock of 1984 is striking 13 . . . .

At the state department, Bolton was Colin Powell's enemy within. In his first year, he forced the US withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, destroyed a protocol on enforcing the biological weapons convention, and ousted the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He scuttled the nuclear test ban treaty and the UN conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. And he was behind the renunciation of the US signature on the 1998 Rome statute creating the international criminal court. He described sending his letter notifying the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, as "the happiest moment of my government service" . . . .

Bolton is an extraordinary combination of political operator and ideologue. He began his career as a cog in the machine of Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, helping his political action committees evade legal restrictions and federal fines. Helms, the most powerful reactionary in the Senate, sponsored Bolton's rise to Reagan's justice department. "John Bolton," Helms said, "is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, or what the Bible describes as the final battle between good and evil."
Yes, we know that last quote is frustratingly vague. We did, however, read the entire piece, and we are sad to report that Mr. Helms never does specify on which side we should expect, when Armageddon comes, to find him and Mr. Bolton fighting.

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