Mark Goldberg: Bolton’s Greeting


He may have been a few miles away from the Bronx, but Bolton was greeted with borough’s eponymous cheer on his first day. Check out Crooks and Liars for the coverage.
On a more serious note, I think Chris Preble probably underestimates the danger to American interests that Bolton now poses.
To be sure, he was right to point out yesterday that recent American presidents of both political stripes have shown their disdain for the legal regime that the United Nations represents. That’s not going to change.
Fortunately, though, the United Nations does a lot more than provide a forum for American presidents to circumvent when they want to launch a war. From peace keeping, to responding to natural disasters, to trying war criminals, the UN performs important functions that a single nation cannot.
I know Steve, (probably Chris too) tends to be a hard nosed realist when it comes to defining American security interests. But at least since the Clinton administration, those at the helm of American foreign policy have not shared this view, and have waged wars (in my opinion, some of which were justified some not) that have left the US dependent on other nations to clean up after us. Thus, for example, to “exit the Balkan thicket,” we needed to convince other countries to take on some responsibilities there – as they have.
Similarly, as Iraq descends further into chaos and quagmire, it will be increasingly clear (if it isn’t already) that we need to exit that thicket as well. When that time comes, we’ll need all the support we can muster from our allies (and Iran) to make that exit as painless as possible.
The problem with Bolton is that there is nothing about his history that suggests he will not use his influence at the United Nations to pursue his own agenda. And to the extent that he sabotages America’s relations with our allies — and Iran — in pursuit of that agenda, Ambassador Bolton will have a pernicious effect on American security.
Mark Leon Goldberg