It’s all over the news, but let me add my own piece on the 59 former American diplomats who have written to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar to say that the choice of John Bolton could not be more wrong for America’s perch in the U.N.
AP’s Barry Schweid reports:
The ex-diplomats have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, some for long terms and others briefly. They include Arthur A. Hartman, ambassador to France and the Soviet Union under Presidents Carter and Reagan and assistant secretary of state for European affairs under President Nixon.
Others who signed the letter include James F. Leonard, deputy ambassador to the U.N. in the Ford and Carter administrations; Princeton N. Lyman, ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria under Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton; Monteagle Stearns, ambassador to Greece and Ivory Coast in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations; and Spurgeon M. Keeny Jr., deputy director of the Arms Control Agency in the Carter administration.
Their criticism dwelled primarily on Bolton’s stand on issues as the State Department’s senior arms control official. They said he had an “exceptional record” of opposing U.S. efforts to improve national security through arms control.
I tried to reach former mega-diplomat and career foreign service officer Tom Pickering today — but he was off to Brazil and reported back to me through his office that his international travel precluded him from commenting at this time on the Bolton nomination. Pickering neither knocked Bolton nor gave him any praise.
In foreign service circles, Pickering is a revered and effective diplomat who is forceful and always has a powerful opinion. His silence on Bolton is telling, in my view.
This Al Kamen column from March 8th reminds that there may be “some complicated history” between Pickering and John Bolton that may not yet have been cited in a memoir.
Thanks to this group of bipartisan ambassadors for speaking their minds and standing up for the country’s interests.
— Steve Clemons