An ‘Ineffective Bully’

Two months ago, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, publicly criticized UN Security Council members Russia, China, and Qatar for "disappointing the Jewish state," while heaping praise on John Bolton – the U.S. recess-appointment UN ambassador – "jokingly" describing him as "a secret member of Israel’s own team."

It appears American ambassadors rarely – if ever – disappoint the Jewish state. Since 1967, American ambassadors have vetoed or threatened to veto every proposed resolution critical of Israel.

In particular, on July 13, Bolton vetoed a resolution proposed by Qatar that called upon Israel to immediately end its two-week-old military incursion into Gaza.

And Bolton appears to have just blocked Chinese efforts to get the Security Council to issue a "strong condemnation" of the day-long assault by the Israelis on a UN outpost in Lebanon, which resulted in the deaths of a Chinese, a Finnish, a Canadian, and an Austrian, UN military observers.

The reaction in Congress has been so positive that President Bush is attempting once more to get Bolton confirmed by the Senate as ambassador.

Chairman Richard Lugar, in reopening confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had this – inter alia – to say:

"Our nation is confronted, as it was last year, by serious diplomatic challenges that will have a profound effect on U.S. national security.

"At the heart of our efforts to resolve these issues is a basic question: Can the United States build relationships and alliances around the world that will give us the tools we need to protect our national security?"

After making the utterly ridiculous claim that "the Bush administration has embraced a multilateral dimension to problem-solving that recognizes that we need allies" Lugar went on to say;

"The process of building international relationships cannot be reserved for times of crisis. It must be a constant preoccupation of any administration, and it must be a core diplomatic mission of our United Nations ambassador."

Well, obviously, Bonkers Bolton is the man for the job.

For example, on the eve of Security Council deliberations on what – if anything – to do with the "Iranian dossier" the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency had improperly sent them, Bolton made this outrageous threat:

"This is a real test for the Security Council. There’s just no doubt that for close to 20 years, the Iranians have been pursuing nuclear weapons through a clandestine program that we’ve uncovered.

“If the UN Security Council can’t deal with the proliferation of nuclear weapons, can’t deal with the greatest threat we have with a country like Iran – that’s one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism – if the Security Council can’t deal with that, you have a real question of what it can deal with.”

Unfortunately for Bolton, the "Iranian dossier" makes it clear there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran is now pursuing or has ever pursued a nuclear weapons program.

So, the Council noted in a non-binding Presidential Statement they had “serious concern” that after more than two years of intrusive inspections the Agency was still not in a position to even conclude that Iran had declared all its activities that should have been declared.

Now, that’s obviously not what Bolton wanted or expected.

Nevertheless, Bolton emerged from the final negotiating session to falsely claim the Council was sending an unmistakable message to Iran:

“This is simply a statement that says to Iran, you have consistently disobeyed resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency, violated your safeguards agreements, you’ve violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, you must now come into compliance, and if in 30 days that hasn’t happened, and we expect a report from the IAEA director general, in 30 days the Security Council will be competent and ready to act.”

In announcing today that he still opposes Bolton’s confirmation, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) cited another example of Bolton’s diplomatic style:

"My objection isn’t that he’s a bully, but that he’s been an ineffective bully and can’t win the day when it comes – when it really counts.

"For example, prior to a vote earlier this month on the UN Security Council resolution intended to sanction North Korea for its provocative 4th of July missile launches, Mr. Bolton publicly assured anyone who would listen that he could get support for a resolution with teeth – with a so-called Chapter VII resolution..

"Turns out, of course, he couldn’t. The resolution adopted by the UN Security Council fell well short of that."

Of course, the last thing the world needs is for Bonkers Bolton to be effective.

Read more by Gordon Prather

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. — ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.