John Bolton as Political Operator, Ideologue and Neo-Primitive


Sidney Blumenthal’s column today exposes the perversity of appointing John Bolton to serve as our Ambassador to the United Nations.
Here are the most poignant lines in the piece, but I recommend reading it in full:
— John Bolton has been named by President Bush as the US ambassador to the UN. “If I were redoing the security council today, I’d have one permanent member because that’s the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world,” Bolton once said. Lately, as undersecretary of state for arms control, he has wrecked all the nonproliferation diplomacy within his reach. Over the past two decades he has been the person most dedicated to trying to discredit the UN. George Orwell’s clock of 1984 is striking 13.
— Bolton is an extraordinary combination of political operator and ideologue. He began his career as a cog in the machine of Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, helping his political action committees evade legal restrictions and federal fines. Helms, the most powerful reactionary in the Senate, sponsored Bolton’s rise to Reagan’s justice department. . .Bolton is often called a neoconservative, but he is more their ally, implementer and agent. His roots are in Helms’s Dixiecrat Republicanism, not the neocons’ airy Trotskyism or Straussianism.
— Bolton is a specimen of the “primitives”, as Truman’s secretary of state Dean Acheson called the unilateralists and McCarthyites of the early cold war. Through his political integration into the neocon apparatus, Bolton might be properly classified a neoprimitive.
— At the state department, Bolton was Colin Powell’s enemy within. In his first year, he forced the US withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, destroyed a protocol on enforcing the biological weapons convention, and ousted the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He scuttled the nuclear test ban treaty and the UN conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. And he was behind the renunciation of the US signature on the 1998 Rome statute creating the international criminal court. He described sending his letter notifying the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, as “the happiest moment of my government service”.
This debate about John Bolton is not just about him, or the United Nations — it is about restoring a sense of integrity and common purpose among the great nations of the world and restoring U.S. leadership after the debacle that preceded the Iraq War.

Appointing Bolton to this position is the same as smiling at and talking about fresh start with the international community, like Bush did in Europe, while at the same time sliding a sharp knife into the world’s back.
— Steve Clemons