There’s this tradition of the Congress holding its advice and consenting to whomever the president chooses as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. It might be an elder statesman such as Adlai Stevenson or a patrician presence like George H.W. Bush. It could be an opinionated Jeane Kirkpatrick, a charismatic Andy Young or a buttoned-down John Negroponte.
But John Bolton?
Since when does a president send up a certifiably surly, congenital critic of the UN? This singular practice of rubber-stamping appointees only works when the president doesn’t select a UNphobe with all the tact of a punch in the mouth. A Foggy Bottomed Mike Tyson with a track record of bullying subordinates, as well as trying to cook the intelligence books and hype Cuba’s weaponry capacity.
We all know how imperfect the U (oil for food, Syria on the Security Council) N is, but it’s the only such international forum there is and we’re stuck trying to make the best – not the worst — of it. In a world where fighting terrorism is an international imperative, we need all the friends – or at least non-adversaries – we can muster. We don’t need the UN’s permission to defend ourselves, but our national security has never been so dependent on global relationships.
Sending Bolton sends absolutely the wrong message: “You thought we were a tad arrogant, nigh on to unilateralist and diplomatically challenged before? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
The confirmation of Bolton would be more than a mistake. And it would be more than mistaken allegiance to a quaint tradition. It would be a disaster.