I don’t have much time to write about this now, but TWN — which was keenly focused on blocking John Bolton‘s confirmation as Ambassador to the United Nations — will be launching a “Bolton Watch” division of The Washington Note in early 2006.
I have been keeping my powder dry on Bolton and decided some time ago to give Bolton time to prove his critics, and me, wrong about the fundamental reasons we opposed him.
He started off politely on the surface, but underneath, he’s done a great deal to harm America’s foreign policy portfolio, and his crusades in the name of U.N. reform are actually designed to undermine any chance of achieving reasonable and serious reform.
Because Bolton was not confirmed by the Senate, his days at the U.N. are numbered — but those days and his work during them need to have a more consistent monitor. This will not be a Bash-Bolton blog, but will call his actions and behavior as they are. If he gets on a course that is positive for American and UN interests, then the blog will highlight that. But as I suspect, he continues to vigorously work to undermine both the United Nations and enlightened American diplomacy, then this blog will expose him.
There is more planning that needs to be completed before launch, but I wanted to give early word of this decision.
TWN will be hiring research staff to help in this endeavor — so your financial support is appreciated. If you are interested in supporting, there is a paypal link above, or alternatively, you can write to me and I can give a mailing address.
I have really deliberated about this step — and take it reluctantly. I feel that it was civil society’s responsibility to debate Bolton’s qualifications and my responsibility do all that one could to try and block Bolton’s confirmation and appointment to the position he holds now as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
We succeeded in blocking confirmation, but the President has a right of recess appointment, even though that provision of the Constitution is not designed to skirt Congress as Bush did in this appointment.
I was hopeful that the pressure TWN and others put on Bolton in this process would produce a John Bolton who would be less damaging than he has been in this job. But it is only after having spent time with some very high-ranking former Republican officials recently — who all share my perspective of Bolton — that I have decided to launch this new “Bolton Watch” division of TWN.
I don’t think Condi Rice can manage John Bolton, as she promised Senator George Voinovich. But I do think that more constant, micro-focus of this Ambassador’s every move — good and bad — will help us survive his tenure there.
More on this later — but this was news I wanted to get out to readers before New Year’s Day.
So, if you are thinking of it, toast “Bolton Watch” on the 31st.
My friends and I will be.
— Steve Clemons