<em>MoveOn.org</em> Moving on Bolton


MoveOn.org has entered the fray on John Bolton’s nomination.
The following email letter went out to MoveOn subscribers in states of Democratic Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well as those in Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Indiana to cover Lincoln Chafee, Chuck Hagel, and Richard Lugar.
We are looking to make sure that these Democratic Senators and these three critically important Republicans are all “UN-Bolted,” and reject the “America Alone Alliance” in favor of our newly created “Leadership League.”
Here is the letter from Eli Pariser:
Dear MoveOn member,
It’s a little like nominating a felon to be police chief. Yesterday, President Bush nominated John Bolton, one of the most active opponents of U.S. multilateralism and diplomacy, to be ambassador to the U.N.
But Bolton doesn’t believe in international law, or in the U.N. In 2000, Bolton said, “If I were doing the Security Council today, I’d have one permanent member [the United States] because that’s the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world.”
And he’s gone on record saying that all international laws are invalid, meaningless attempts to constrict American power.
The whole idea of the U.N., of course, is that it’s a place for the world community to work together on the problems that face us all. And at a time when we need other nations’ goodwill and cooperation to deal with the mess in Iraq and to fight al Qaeda, confirming an inflammatory unilateralist like John Bolton as our ambassador to the rest of the world is a terrible idea. Even Republicans on the Foreign Relations committee in the Senate are nervous–according to the New York Times, Senator Lugar, who chairs the committee, advised Secretary of State Rice not to nominate Bolton.
If all the Democrats and one Republican on the Senate’s Foreign Relations committee vote against Bolton’s nomination, it’ll stop there.
But the committee will vote soon, and your Senator alone could make the difference. Please take a moment to call Senator Sarbanes at the number below today and ask him to oppose the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador.
Here’s Senator Sarbanes’s number:
Senator Paul Sarbanes, DC Phone: 202-224-4524
After you call, please help us track the volume of calls by reporting your call here.
Bolton’s take on foreign policy is so far out of the mainstream, he even makes Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly look pretty good. Here’s an excerpt from their 1999 conversation on “The O’Reilly Factor”:
O’REILLY: And I find it difficult to stand by and watch another Cambodia, another Rwanda, unfold. And I believe the United States has a responsibility here.
BOLTON: Let me ask you this, Mr. O’Reilly. How many dead Americans is it worth to you to stop the brutality?
O’REILLY: I don’t think I would quantify that because…
BOLTON: I think you have to quantify it. I think if you don’t answer that question…
O’REILLY: … I think if you’re going to be a superpower…
BOLTON: … you’re ducking the key point that the commander in chief has to decide upon before putting American troops into a combat situation. We are now at war with Serbia. And the president has to be able to justify to himself and to the American people that Americans are about to die, or may well die, for a certain specific American interest.
BOLTON: I believe…
O’REILLY: … I do not believe in standing by while people are slaughtered.
BOLTON: … Our foreign policy should support American interests. Let the rest of the world support the rest of the world’s interests.
If John Bolton is confirmed as U.N. ambassador, he’ll be one of the primary links with the international community. Please call your Senator today and ask him to vote against John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador.
— Eli Pariser, March 11, 2005

I commend MoveOn for encouraging its many members to consider whether John Bolton is the person we want representing our interests in the United Nations at this time.
I think that America can do far better — and should.
We have some time now to organize before the confirmation hearings — but for future reference, the numbers below may be helpful.
The letter that I received referred to Paul Sarbanes because I have a house in Maryland, but here is the contact information for Democratic Party members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well as the numbers for Hagel, Lugar, and Chafee:
(202) 224-5042 Joseph Biden, Delaware
(202) 224-3553 Barbara Boxer, California
(202) 224-2823 Christopher Dodd, Connecticut
(202) 224-5323 Russ Feingold, Wisconsin
(202) 224-2742 John Kerry, Massachusetts
(202) 224-5274 Bill Nelson, Florida
(202) 224-2854 Barack Obama, Illinois
(202) 224-4524 Paul Sarbanes, Maryland
(202) 224-2921 Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island
(202) 224-4224 Chuck Hagel, Nebraska
(202) 224-4814 Richard Lugar, Indiana
Those assembling on our side of the battle lines on Bolton — those who believe in principled and robust American leadership in the world while treating other nations, and particularly our friends, with dignity — are turning out to be a pretty impressive group.
More tomorrow.
— Steve Clemons