Taking Stock: John Bolton’s Resignation

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John Bolton 100.jpg
A former diplomat I greatly respect advised me to avoid dwelling on the John Bolton confirmation and to move on to new policy subjects. He wrote:

steve — he’s resigned. let it go. . .you have other and better causes, and it only makes you appear petty and vindictive to continue to harp on the issue. in your terms, you won… be gracious and move on.

He’s absolutely right — and I have in fact tried to do this a number of times, but the administration was as unwilling to let go of the contest as were those who opposed Bolton’s confirmation. I believe in graciousness after political battles involving non-elected officials just as much as genuine elections.
Despite a rather loud outcry from numerous TWN readers, I tipped my hat to Ambassador Bolton and wished him well after a post I wrote that was the first among blogs as well as mainstream journalism to call the end to the real battle for Bolton’s ‘confirmation.’
I want to do the same thing again. I do wish Ambassador Bolton and his family well. He is a brilliant person who cloaked his designs in a style of pugnaciousness and occasional bullying that served his ends — though I think not as often the country’s.
My problem with Ambassador Bolton was never his cosmetic behavior, it was the content of his views and policy objectives, and the numerous times in which he undermined or sabotaged fragile diplomatic efforts underway and conducted by his colleagues and direct superiors.
John Bolton, in my view, saw a significant portion of his job as not to achieve success at the United Nations but rather to set the UN up for failure.
I do hope that I one day get the chance to encounter John Bolton in a public forum and debate national policy with him as well as how civil society managed the debate about his nomination and confirmation process. I commit to be a gentleman and genuinely civil when that future meeting takes place.
Oddly enough, I have been paired increasingly frequently on radio programs and in public policy events with a good friend of John Bolton’s from the American Enterprise Institute, Joshua Muravchik. I ran into Muravchik again today at the Arab Strategy Forum here in Dubai — and Muravchik and I manage quite well a serious ongoing debate about tough policy differences and divergent world views.
I do hope that Ambassador Bolton and some of those who supported and opposed him during his service in the Bush administration maintain a respectable demeanor.
Now for a quick take on outstanding issues, winners and losers, and other thoughts on implications of the Bolton resignation:

1. John Bolton’s resignation reflects a loss of ground by Jesse Helms’ inspired ‘pugnacious nationalists’. It is also a clear loss for Vice President Cheney and his loyal followers. Jim Lobe captures this quite well in a piece he has written tonight on Bolton.
2. Bolton’s resignation also hurts Condoleezza Rice in the short term because while she had to “manage” him more frequently than she liked — often sending Undersecretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns to manage the most fragile diplomatic agendas — Rice now has NO Deputy Secretary of State, and will soon face in January NO Counselor and NO Ambassador to the United Nations.
Losing Robert Zoellick, Philip Zelikow and John Bolton is an awful lot to lose without having clear successsors in place and ready to go. The already stretched thin Secretary of State will be stretched even thinner with Bolton’s departure.
3. On the good side, if the White House and State Department get their mutual acts together, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is ‘likely’ to expedite at lightning speed reasonable, even partly controversial, nominees to both Bolton’s UN position and to the Deputy Secretary position. This Bolton Battle won’t be replayed soon. I think the incoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden will bend over backwards to help Rice get a full team back in place at State as fast as possible.
4. This has not been picked up by the press, but I believe that the theatrical dimensions of the Bolton resignation were designed to make it look like the President was giving up something he really, really wanted in order to encourage Dems to ‘de-complexify’ the confirmation process of Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates. Watch for Dems who previously opposed Gates or had serious concerns about his Iran Contra involvement to ratchet down their concerns.
The President’s dropping of Bolton may very well be designed to facilitate a fast confirmation process for Gates.
5. Who will succeed Bolton is unclear. I have written about Jim Leach in the past — as well as many others including Paula Dobriansky and Zalmay Khalilzad.
I think Dobriansky has a strong chance of getting the job as she is respected around DC, is acceptable to both Rice and Cheney, and is not a complete rejection of John Bolton’s views. She is neocon-friendly if not a true neoconservative, and she manages diplomacy and achieving America’s diplomatic objectives well.
Jim Leach could also be extraordinary — and Khalilzad could be an important asset there too as a Muslim envoy from America to an institution representing the nations of the world. He is also a well-experienced strategist and diplomat.
There are other choices I won’t list here tonight as I think that these three are all qualified and realistic choices given the fact that George W. Bush is going to make the appointment.
6. Finally, it is important to remember that the Bolton Battle was not a true partisan struggle. It was one in which many Republicans covertly supported leading Democrats in the process — and on the other side, some Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Ben Nelson openly advocated Bolton’s confirmation.
Bolton did not get confirmed because of the failure of the White House to either unite the Republican caucus behind Bolton or to select a candidate that was easier for the whole Republican caucus in the Senate to accept. Republicans with a conscience stopped Bolton’s confirmation process, with support from the Democrats who were in the minority.

This effort took about 21 months from the time Bolton was nominated for his current position.
It’s been a long time. But again, I do insist on tipping my hat to Ambassador Bolton after this long fought campaign and wish him well.
I don’t know if the story is true, but one reporter who works for one of the more right of center Northeast publications interviewed John Bolton some time ago and asked him “So are you aware of what the opposition is saying?”
Allegedly, Bolton replied “I tune into The Washington Note every morning.”
I don’t know if the story is in fact true — but it was something I thought about often when writing the blog — knowing that Ambassador Bolton would be reading it.
It’s important to maintain balanced but tough debate in our society — and now it’s time to move on to the next big challenges.
Stay tuned.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

58 comments on “Taking Stock: John Bolton’s Resignation

  1. Idiot Proof Diet says:

    Bolton’s resignation also hurts Condoleezza Rice in the short term because while she had to “manage” him more frequently than she liked — often sending Undersecretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns to manage the most fragile diplomatic agendas — Rice now has NO Deputy Secretary of State, and will soon face in January NO Counselor and NO Ambassador to the United Nations. This of course is no longer an issue.

    Reply

  2. how to lose weight fast says:

    John Bolton might agree to serve as the uncompensated Ambassador to the UN in a second recess appointmentWhat would keep the RNC from finding some consulting fees/ghost book writer publishing fees Bolton could collect (for doing next to nothing) and then he could just continue to push the terrible bush foreign policies at the UN? Given that, is there a limited time for him to continue as Ambassador, or is it undefined which really indicates no change at all?

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  3. Frank says:

    the dancing israelis, huh? haven’t we already been through this before?! the leap that some make about these “dancing israelis” is pure anti-semitic inuendo. in other words, it’s crap
    please don’t “dumb down” the important conversations taking place here.
    Winnepago, is it “crap” that there were no dancing Israelis on a roof in New Jersey which were caught and held in custody for awhile? All I ask is a yes or no.
    There are only 191,000 google hits on the subject you call “crap”. I suggest you peruse some of that “crap” before you scream “ouh vei ist meir”!

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  4. roGER says:

    You only has to look at a picture of Bolton to realise what a repulsive buffoon he is.
    Go a little deeper and examine the record and the portrait becomes even uglier – that of a idealogue and bully, for whom hate and contempt is a the default emotional state.
    In the sewer of turds that Dubya’s adminstration produced, Bolton will always be remembered as an extra large, extra stinking curler. And that’s just the moustache.

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  5. Mrs. K8 says:

    I have no good wishes for a man who is eager to see the spread of death and destruction across the planet, and the death of our beloved Constitution, to boot.
    And I don’t understand anyone who would.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    Posted by MNPundit at December 5, 2006 11:23 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    News flash… southerners don’t talk like that…unless they are bigots ….which doesn’t include any more of the south’s population than it does the north.
    Biden is like McCain, pandering to the fringe elements simply for money support.

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  7. MNPundit says:

    I really don’t care how tied Biden is to AIPAC right now, I’m still waiting to hear Biden’s explanation of his “Slave State” and his north/south idiocy.
    Until he does, Joe Biden is less of a human being than Tom DeLay to me. There’s some leeway when actual southern’s say it because that’s how they’ve been raised, but when a blue-stater spouts shit like that, the knives must come out. I will not condone supporting Rebels.

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  8. Pissed Off American says:

    “not that anyone takes your views seriously here, but………..”
    Here we go again. Winnepeger, don’t speak for this forum, your opinion is your own, and you should express it as such. If you think the majority here prefer your mindless irritating drivel over Carroll’s comments, I think you are sadly delusional. It has been pleasant, these last few days, not having you stalking Carroll’s every comment with your typical ad hominem horseshit. I should have known it was too good to last.

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  9. winnipeger says:

    “Biden is scum bag opportunist already sucking up to the right wing jewish interest and the war hawk neos for campaign money.”
    carroll, carroll, carroll…
    not that anyone takes your views seriously here, but can you PLEASE refrain from your anti-jewish rhetoric?
    i got news for you honey, “the (sic) right-wing jewish interest and the war hawk neos” ain’t gonna be supporting biden in any substantial way.

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  10. Carroll says:

    BTW..
    I too am also sure Senator Biden will help Condi get a team together….Biden is scum bag opportunist already sucking up to the right wing jewish interest and the war hawk neos for campaign money.
    He is number three right now on my DemNeoCON watch
    list. He doesn’t think Palestine peace should be part of a comprehensive ME peace deal and wants to take on Russia over the spy poisoning.
    Biden…take some viagra instead fellow, you aren’t tough, you are a pandering political whore and you won’t get elected prez no matter how many asses you kiss.

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  11. norrie says:

    Christmas. Jesus didn’t tell us to get into debt to be seen as good present givers. What he did tell us is to value love and compassion. George Bush, show some Christian values at this time of year and release David Hicks.
    Norrie May-Welby Redfern

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  12. MNPundit says:

    The Bolton battle might not have been a purely partisan struggle due to turncoat Democrats and sensible Republicans, but not all partisanship is bad. Regardless it was certainly an ideological struggle between rule by the strongest for the strongest and a consensus of community.
    Add that Bolton’s interpersonal issues that are not only politically incorrect but dangerous and abusive and that is not a person who deserves to paid with my tax dollars.
    I do wonder why you tip your hat. I could wish John Bolton fought a less excellent campaign and we were rid of him sooner and get on with the process of fixing all that Bolton and his ilk have done wrong in this country. If Bolton really does read this blog and look through this comments I would wish to remind him that he will never ever get my support for any job in any field and if by random chance I somehow through a fantastical set of circumstances become his boss firing him for the better good of the office/company/organization will be my first priority.
    However, I hope to never hear of him again.

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  13. Paul says:

    That’s letting it go?

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  14. Matthew says:

    Notice how Melanie perfectly captures the Wingnut pysche: Screw the UN! Is it any surprise that our foreign policy is going off the rails when our former UN ambassador (unconfirmed) spoke like Melanie types. Do we really need any more proof that watching Fox News does, in fact, make you stupid. Melanie you should type you next comments on Robert Morrow’s site. It’s a grey-matter free zone.

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  15. vachon says:

    Did I mention I can’t spell and chew gum at the same time?

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  16. David Noziglia says:

    Steve:
    Others have commented on Bolton and your civility quite enough. I have only one point to add.
    Why does it make the slightest bit of difference in the world who Condie has over at the Department, when it has become a total irrelivancy over the past six years?
    Good people, doing their duty with intelligence and great effort, have been consistently ignored and shoved aside. That was true under the tragicly abused Powell, and is even more true under the clueless, empty Rice.
    The only thing State does these days is send out cables telling embassy officers to deliver talking points from Congress to the host country over some meaningless hobby horse of some Member, and I suspect there are few of these any more, given this do-nothing Congress.
    It would be nice to be out there, these days. I’d have plenty of time to do what I want, because there would be little other demand on my time. Might even be a chance to do good work, rather than meet the demands of some ideologue AS.

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  17. vachon says:

    I dunno, Steve. There’s something about your graciouness that’s bothering me and I can’t put my finger on it. God knows if it was me at the other end of the pointed stick, I’d be eternally grateful for whatever comfort comes me way. I also apprecaite that you work for an organization that books high profile speakers and writers from all across the spectrum: being too partisan had a direct effect on your mortgage.
    But this is too weird, even for me. Am I missing something or just overly ornery?

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  18. PUBLIUS says:

    An emerging progressive consensus to oppose the appointment of someone unfit for this war and these times… entire article here:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-e-jackson-jr/why-bob-gates-is-the-wron_b_35579.html
    William E. Jackson Jr. writes a column on the press and national security for “Editor & Publisher Online.” He served in the Executive Office of the President under President John Kennedy in 1963. He taught government and politics at UNC-Charlotte, and Davidson College. From 1974-77, he was chief legislative assistant to the U.S. Senate majority whip; and was the executive director of President Carter’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, 1978-80. He has been a foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution, and the Fulbright Institute of International Relations. In addition, he produced and hosted the political talk show “Crosshairs” on Adelphia cable television, 2000-2003. Jackson resides in Davidson, N.C.
    “It’s a chilling record, because you have two main themes of the Iraq war present in Robert Gates’ career at CIA: the arrogance and bullying of a Rumsfeld and the intelligence cherry-picking of a Cheney.”
    Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive

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  19. Steambomb says:

    Lets get something straight on Gates’ nomination hearings right now. Before Gates goes up to the capitol and sits down to answer all those questions he makes a visit to key senators offices and they discuss what they will ask and what his answers will be. This all makes great theatre on C-Span. However it does very little to ensure a competent, honest and dutiful appointment for the American people.

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  20. winnipeger says:

    “Yeah? THOSE countries do not have a bunch of fuckin’ maniacs propping up an idiot carrying the Nuclear Football.”
    Some do. You’re just not paying attention to them.
    Posted by MP at December 5, 2006 10:18 AM
    I’m sure that POA didn’t mean to make this statement. there WAY more than enough maniacs to go around in the general assembly And the security council. china, russia, pakistan, etc…
    are there some maniacs in power there? if the shoe fits…
    further, ALL countries “see the UN as a tool by which to advance agendas.”
    it’s a mistake to demigogue the u.s and israel alone.

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  21. eatbees says:

    Steve, over on IPS (where you linked to the Jim Lobe article) there is another article claiming that the failure of Rice’s Iran diplomacy strengthens Cheney’s hand in seeking an air attack on Iran — that Cheney has been patiently waiting for this moment all along and is ready now to ratchet up the pressure on Bush.
    That said, do you have any sense on what Gates’ likely position would be regarding an Iran attack? As the future Defense Secretary it seems he would have some say in the matter.

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  22. MP says:

    “Yeah? THOSE countries do not have a bunch of fuckin’ maniacs propping up an idiot carrying the Nuclear Football.”
    Some do. You’re just not paying attention to them.

    Reply

  23. Easy E says:

    CONFIRMING GATES:
    WHY THE RUSH?
    by Ray McGovern
    The lame-duck Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee seems determined to force through confirmation of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense. The hurry is synthetic – and totally unnecessary.
    I know, I know – everyone but Barney the dog wants Rumsfeld out of the Pentagon tout suite. According to a Pentagon spokesman, however, Gates has commitments that would preclude his taking the reins at the Pentagon until January. So, senators, relax already. Let Rumsfeld spend December at one of his houses in Taos, while you do your homework. There is no exaggerating the importance of the Gates candidacy.
    Even Democrats on the committee are saying Gates is a shoo-in barring an unexpected disclosure. But the likelihood of such a disclosure seems nil, with Gates the sole witness at his hearing Tuesday. Still, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), who was an analyst in the State Department’s intelligence bureau and now sits on the House Intelligence Committee, has called Gates’ nomination “deeply troubling” and appealed for hearings that are “thorough and probing.”
    Gates has primarily two things going for him, which hardly suffice to justify confirmation:
    • The Anyone-but-Rumsfeld syndrome, which has understandable appeal. Just how much appeal was brought home to me last week, when a former colleague who worked closely with Gates during Iran-Contra said, “Despite my misgivings, I would support Satan himself in preference to Rumsfeld.”
    • The Not-Enough-Evidence-to-Indict bromide offered reluctantly by Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel who led the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair. Walsh was frustrated by Gates’ remarkable inability to recall explosive information that his subordinates swore under oath they had told him “about Oliver North’s illegal activities,” for example. (Gates’ supporters still brag about his “eidetic memory.”) Walsh wrote:
    “The statements of Gates often seemed scripted and less than candid. Nevertheless … a jury could find the evidence left a reasonable doubt that Gates either obstructed official inquiries or that his two demonstrably incorrect statements were deliberate lies.”
    Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
    The Armed Services Committee’s ranking member, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who voted against Gates’ nomination in 1991 to be director of the CIA, said he wanted to give Gates a “fresh look; a lot of time has passed.” Well, highly damaging evidence has come to light since 1991, implicating Gates in some of the most serious national-security scandals of the 1980s. Veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry, for one, has been providing chapter and verse on ConsortiumNews.com.
    For example, in January 1995, Howard Teicher, who served on President Reagan’s National Security Council staff, submitted a sworn affidavit detailing the activities of Gates and his then-boss, CIA Director William Casey, in secretly providing arms to Iraq. This violated the Arms Export Control Act in two ways: ignoring the requirement to notify Congress; and providing arms to a state designated as a sponsor of terrorism.
    It gets worse. To grease the skids for a similar adventure involving weapons to Iran, Gates ordered his more malleable subordinates at the CIA to cook up intelligence reports to provide some comfort to Reagan in acquiescing to these activities. A National Intelligence Estimate of May 1985 predicted Soviet inroads in Iran if the United States did not reach out to “moderates” within the Iranian leadership.
    In addition, Gates’ analysts were pressed to publish several reports beginning in late 1985 – as HAWK anti-aircraft missiles wended their way to Tehran – that Iranian-sponsored terrorism had “dropped off substantially.” There was no persuasive evidence to support that judgment.
    As part of my official duties at the time, I took steps to make Gates aware of this a month before he wrote in articles in the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs magazine, and our professional journal Studies in Intelligence that, “No CIA publication asserted these things.” I then tried in vain to get him to correct the record.
    Hold the Nomination
    Since this episode casts serious doubt on Gates’ veracity, I felt a responsibility to bring it to the attention of the senators weighing Gates’ nomination to become CIA director in 1991. On Oct. 7, 1991, I swore in an affidavit laying out the facts and gave it to the Senate Intelligence Committee. I heard nothing.
    It is difficult to believe that senators have become so used to being diddled by administration officials and nominees that they shy away from looking seriously into such matters. After the brutal nomination hearings in 1991, then-Sen. Tom Daschle addressed the $64,000 question – “Whether Gates might continue to trim the truth” – and insisted: “We cannot afford to take that chance.”
    Nor should we take that chance now. As Iraq goes down the drain, and “the crazies” accelerate their campaign to bomb Iran, what is more important than a defense secretary from whom Congress can expect truthful testimony? Hold the Gates nomination over to January.
    * * *

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  24. Pissed Off American says:

    Add in just about every other country in the assembly, and on the security council, and you’d have a crack at a true statement.
    Posted by MP
    Yeah? THOSE countries do not have a bunch of fuckin’ maniacs propping up an idiot carrying the Nuclear Football.

    Reply

  25. Pissed Off American says:

    If any of you get the chance, check out Gates’ and Monkey Boy’s body language as they stand before the cameras with Monkey Boy voicing his endorsement of Gates. Its scarey.

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  26. MP says:

    “The problem is that countries such as the United States, or Israel, see the UN as a tool by which to advance agendas…”
    Add in just about every other country in the assembly, and on the security council, and you’d have a crack at a true statement.

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  27. MP says:

    Steve wrote: “It’s important to maintain balanced but tough debate in our society…” Triple YES to this sentiment. Thanks for the discipline that allows you maintain this approach.

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  28. Pissed Off American says:

    Any moral and compassionate human, that cares about his fellow man, must surely hope for a successful and constructive entity such as the UN was intended to be. The problem is that countries such as the United States, or Israel, see the UN as a tool by which to advance agendas, and if the UN isn’t advancing our agenda, than it is not seen as useful or constructive. Never mind that our agenda has become destructive, immoral, and imperialistic. Bolton wasn’t at the UN to improve our relationships with the world community. He was there to bully through the Bush Administration’s design for world dominance and control, economically, politically, environmentally, and militarily. If this Administration cannot coerce a concensus of world opinion that accepts, allows, or even abets the designs of this Administration, than this Administration seeks to simply erase the organization through which that concensus has been denied.
    Now, more than ever before in man’s history, we NEED the UN, as it was originally envisioned, to unite the various peoples that inhabit an ever-more crowded and fragile eco-system.
    The kind of American arrogance and divisiveness that Bolton represented at the UN has no place in our tumultous and dangerous times. Mankind has a very small window through which we can secure our future on this planet, and that window is rapidly closing. If this Administration has it way, that window is going to be slammed shut.
    In POA mode, that means…….
    Fuck Bolton, throw him out with the rest of the trash.

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  29. DeWitt Grey says:

    Steve:
    An excellent wrap-up of an unfortunate but no less exemplary affair.
    I still hold out some hope (admittedly less and less) that the Republican Party will one day revert to reading the Constitution more or less the same way when they have the Presidency and when they’re in Loyal Opposition. There may be all sorts of interesting “insider” reasons that Dick Lugar decided to play a deep procedural game on the Bolton nominations, but it sure would have improved the quality of public debate in this country, not to mention enhanced the tarnished reputation of our republic, had Lugar simply but no less clearly and publicly reminded the President that the “advise and consent” clause means “advise” and not just “consent”, and that the considered advice of the Senate was that the President should send them a different and less divisive candidate for this sensitive ambassadorship.
    As the President allegedly prides himself on being a “straight shooter”, we are obliged to take his public remarks at face value, and consequently we must conclude that he still has contempt for his Constitutional obligation to take the Senate’s advice into consideration in nominating high officials.
    The public dialogue won’t be quite as civil as you would prefer, Steve, so long as the Radical Right insists on playing by a different set of rules than the rest of us.

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  30. tlsintx says:

    Steve, thanks for not letting go of this issue. Bolton was not right for the UN and was bent on undermining it. We need an ambassador who has a different world view than bushco pushes. good work.

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  31. MP says:

    Den: Didn’t you mean “magnanimous”?

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  32. JM says:

    Melanie: The UN lets genocides happen around the world.
    Something of a misunderstanding of how the UN works. The UN is only as strong, proactive and helpful as its member states allow it to be. Want to “stop genocide” from happening “around the world?” Then ask the members of the Security Council to act.
    Take a look at what the UN is doing in eastern Congo as an example.

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  33. DonS says:

    I think Steve is being a little, you know,disingenuous here. Maybe on purpose. Due to the nature of his, ahem, position. But, lordy lordy, that does give the rest of us the opportunity to wail away at the strawman he’s set up. Some of us need to use a blunderbuss, some a shiv. Anything to kill the beast.
    Now, on to the next job, indeed. Laying about the high crimes and misdemeanors for the American people to see. Without expiating that filth, the body politic will get even sicker.

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  34. Melanie says:

    The UN is being taken over by Islamist and totalitarian forces that want to bring down the US. I’m from Australia and I see Bolton’s removal as catastrophic. The UN is corrupt as hell and taken over by the biggest facists and human rights abusers in the world. Bolton was the only one with balls to stand up to that.
    The UN lets genocides happen around the world. Bolton was strong and needed in the UN tto make sure that other issues outside of Israeli would be a focus for the UN.
    Most people hate him because Bush appointed him but the UN is corrupt as hell and he was the only one with th guts to say it. Stuff diplomacy – people are being massacred.

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  35. jonst says:

    Steve,
    What do you mean by the term “cosmetic behavior”? What does that imply? Do you mean the way he is alledged to treat humans who have the misfortune to work for him? As opposed, say to his politics? If so….what your are essentially saying is, ‘I don’t like what he does in theory…..what he does in practice is little interest to me compared to theory’
    Like most critics of the Admin you are hopelessly on the defensive.

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  36. slipki says:

    2. Condi
    Losing Robert Zoellick, Philip Zelikow and John Bolton is an awful lot to lose without having clear successsors in place and ready to go.
    “If someone had told me, I would have done it” or something like that before the 911 commish.
    How do you get to a position of gov dept/agency leadership and have no clue, twice.
    Why do you tolerate this, sir!
    slipkid

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  37. TokyoTom says:

    I agree with others here that it is NOT time to let go any of the righteous anger which which we need to confront this criminal and corrupt administration, which still poses grave dangers to our liberty, our pocketbooks and to our long-term national interests.

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  38. ahem says:

    Forgive me for any lack of grace, but given Bolton’s ‘pugnacious’ steamrolling of any consensus on arms control during his time at State, I’ll be glad to see the back of him. I can’t think of anyone who acted with such bad faith in the recent history of anti-proliferation diplomacy.

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  39. Carroll says:

    I can’t think of a single nice thing to say about Bolton. I don’t think Bolton and his kind can be excused under the “different viewpoints” or “honest differences of opinion” or “policy” differences and the spin that they are just “patriots” with a different point of view..that is pure bullshit.
    May Bolton and all his fellow masters of the universe rot in hell.

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  40. Nancy/Ca says:

    no,no,no,no,NO! This is not the Steve Clemons of last summer, yuck, I need a shower after reading this.

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  41. Robert M. says:

    Steve,
    Diplomacy is politics carried on by means other than bullets. But its still POLITICS.
    THIS crowd is not playing by Queensbury rules. No reason why the OTHER crowd should do the same. If you want to make nice so Bolton & his ilk will attend your sponsored conferences, fine. Its good to know what the Enemy is thinking, even though they contenance brazen dissembling. But kicking him on the way down to make sure he stays down? Should be first order of business by Democrats. After all, that WAS Jim Baker’s own first order of “bidness” in 200o, wasn’t it?
    As you can see from the posters above, not one person even near to defending Bolton. Your “former senior diplomat” has got it all wrong. Making an example of Bolton will give those who remain some pause. Alas, they may be too arrogant to get the message. The ones in the White House, that is.

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  42. steambomb says:

    What is really amazing is how nonchalantly it appears to be treated by Steve Clemons. “Oh I guess we should move on”. “Oh we just watched this wretched man do criminal acts within our government and then the administration turtled to keep those criminal actions under the rug, but oh I guess I won so we’ll move on.”….. These bastards have desensitized americans to an exponential degree and now their deeds are seen as everyday behavior. Not with this guy. I am not buying any of this bullshit.

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  43. Pissed Off American says:

    Bullshit. This isn’t about winning or losing it has always been about corruption. That bastard Bolton had requested NSA intercepts in my oppinion on key members of our government. I want some transparency and I want to know who the bastard was spying on and what it had to do with his job. Or if it had to do with something bigger. Like lying our country into a war.
    Posted by steambomb
    Its amazing, isn’t it? These fucking criminals kill a few hundred thousand people, piss all over everything we are supposed to represent, and we are ‘sposed to be “gentlemanly and civil” when they all begin scurrying for their rocks?

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  44. Easy E says:

    A CIA Insider’s Take on Gates
    by Ray McGovern
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1204-31.htm

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  45. steambomb says:

    Bullshit. This isn’t about winning or losing it has always been about corruption. That bastard Bolton had requested NSA intercepts in my oppinion on key members of our government. I want some transparency and I want to know who the bastard was spying on and what it had to do with his job. Or if it had to do with something bigger. Like lying our country into a war.

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  46. John says:

    The coming weeks will indeed be telling. It’s unlikely that Bush will be able to get notorious neo-cons past confirmation. But given the administration’s ideological commitment, can he bring himself to nominate anyone else? And if he can, will anyone else agree to serve? With so many vacancies at State, it’s beginning to look as if the rats have jumped ship, and replacements will not board until the ship gets righted. Unless the administration convincingly forswears its fantasy based policies, only committed masochists would agree to serve in such a dreadful, “no win” situation, even if it lasts for only two years. Given this administration’s track record, Congress would do well to start with the assumption that there has to be something seriously wrong with anyone Bush nominates, particularly someone who would agree to stand for nomination to top jobs at State.

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  47. Frank says:

    John Bolton , the “mustachio” that pounded on the door and lead the disrupting charge of radicalized patronage seeking Bush supporters into the Florida ballot counting room in the 2000 presidential election, now leaves Bush’s “pay off” job of UN ambassador. Good riddance to the best ambassador Israel ever had at the UN.

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  48. steve duncan says:

    I watched a bit of Brit Hume’s sit down with Bush tonight. He practically baited Bush with a query as to why Bolton wasn’t simply moved into another position within the administration. Bush seemed to indicate that hadn’t been eliminated as an option. He begged off on a more definitive answer, saying he and Bolton had yet to speak at length about his departure, or non-departure if Hume wanted to construe it that way should he choose to. What say you Steve, was this Bush being coy and abstruse for lack of a prepared answer or does Bolton stand a chance of showing up elsewhere working directly for Bush?

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  49. Pissed Off American says:

    “It’s important to maintain balanced but tough debate in our society — and now it’s time to move on to the next big challenges.”
    The next “big challenge” is holding the various criminals in the Bush Administration accountable for the lies they used to embroil us in this debacle in Iraq. And that is not the only issue that needs investigation and the application of accountability. The energy hearings. Enron. The complete malfeasance, or willfull complicity, that was exhibited by this Administration’s failure to stop the 9/11 attacks. Torture. Rendition. Paying journalists to pimp pseudo news to the American public. The blatant propaganda the Pentagon engaged in through both the Tillmam and the Lynch fantasies. The failure to provide our troops with personal body armor. Making a gay prostitute privy to State’s secrets. Felonious tampering with the electoral process. Illegal wiretaps. Possible and likely perjury, committed by our attorney general, during his confirmation hearings in regards to his role in having Monkey Boy excused from jury duty. New Orleans. The list goes on and on and on……..
    And if we DO NOT seek accountability for the above mentioned crimes and failures of government, (and the failures of the checks and balances that should have NEVER allowed this Administration to stray SO FAR from the founding father’s designs and tenets), than we are NOT a nation of laws, we do NOT have a representative government, and never again can we claim a moral high ground in the world community.
    Any and every American that cherishes what we once purported ourselves to be should be ASHAMED of what we have become.

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  50. mlaw230 says:

    Well done Steve. The inclination will be to do unto others as they have done unto us.
    While it is quite amazing that the Administration expects some level of civility after 6 years of base rudeness, and understandable that people who appreciaate the human impact, and national calamity, of the current administration, will take things personally as did Senator- elect Webb. That would be a disaster for our country.
    We have a short period (1 Friedman?) to prevent a regional war. The Pesident is the first in the modern era to be so discredited that he can be snubbed by the Prime Minister he installed in Iraq. History will treat him very unkindly, but he has almost 2 years to run and a wounded President with a Messianic complex is a very dangerous thing as he attempts to salvage his legacy. These are dangerous times.
    We have to manage the next two years and further cornering the man, and his henchman, is just not a good idea. Let Bolton withdraw with dignity, confirm Gates as ambassador from the realists, adult supervision is warranted.

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  51. Donna Z says:

    General Clark once said of the Bolton appointment: “Well, he’ll be in place where we can keep an eye on him.”
    Considering Bolton’s moves at the UN, we can now let him pass from view. Fine with me.
    So will we get a new policy for Gates and whomever goes to the UN to work with? There’s the rub. (Just keeping with the Shakespearean theme being set by the previous poster.)
    Please keep us posted as to what is happening in Dubai, there hasn’t been a word mentioned about this conference by the MSM. I’m most concerned about the possibility of regional/international formal talks regarding Iraq. The Shi’ites seem to be telling us to buzz off.

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  52. liz says:

    good riddance to Bolton….. Never liked what little style he had.
    Gates ~ *rolls eyes*~

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  53. Edward Nashton says:

    Bravo Steve. Your entry was a Shakespearean final act to the tragedy of John Bolton.

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  54. Easy E says:

    Bolton’s history. Next.
    Let’s move on to Gates. He’s got to go, along with Cheney and the rest of the cabal. As Carroll says, “Burn Washington to the ground and start over!”

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  55. DonS says:

    BTW Steve, I toatlly concur in you reading of the theatrics and timing of this event to defuse critisim of Gates. Let’s see just how obsequious these dems are, shall we?

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  56. Nell says:

    Any Democratic Senator who softens his or her position on Gates out of some kind of misguided gratitude for this Bolton resignation — when Bolton was already defeated — is letting down those who sent him/her to Washington.
    What possible reason could there be to let skate in a serial liar like Gates, someone ready to tell those in power what they want to hear without any relationship to reality?

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  57. DonS says:

    Well and diplomatically spoken. However, all of your well-placed friends’ advice notwithstanding, it is an unseemly lot who continues to advocate for the downfall of the U. N. I wont even look for metaphors. The pittance of a contribution that the U.S, puts into the UN budget as a percent of GDP is shameful if one looks for monetary measures against which to judge the hypocrisy of the bullying attitude that has become the stock in trade of the latter day critics.
    When I studied the UN and other international institutions as a college pol sci major in the 60’s there was not nearly any of the carping there is today. The critics of this frail and yet hopeful instituion were relegated to the fringes, the Birchers and the lot, if you have that long a memory.
    So yes, by all means, let’s be diplomatic. But tip your hat to no critic or sage advisor — however well palced in power the heiracrchy — for having fought the right fight, and the good fight, against ignorance, pure and simple.

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  58. Den Valdron says:

    I’m afraid I will not be wishing Mr. Bolton well. He’s the original kiss up/kick down bully and belligerent. He’s a sharp tongued ideologue always ready to abuse. In victory, he would not have been unanimous. In defeat, he deserves nothing.
    So screw him. All I’ve got to say to Mr. Bolton is good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope that someday Mr. Bolton can find a position for which his talents and skill might find a real use. Janitor at the dog pound sounds about right.

    Reply

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