Senior Republican Foreign Relations Committee Staff Reports “Bolton Confirmation Dead”


The Washington Post has run an article this morning stating that the administration’s effort to get John Bolton “confirmed” is now essentially dead — though Condoleezza Rice seems ready to deploy some theatrics to try and get Senator Lincoln Chafee to change his mind.
My question is why didn’t she do that after the late July hearing in which Chafee clearly outlined his serioius problems with the administration’s Middle East foreign policy. Playing catch-up won’t get Bolton confirmed.

Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer write:

President Bush’s nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations appears increasingly endangered in the Senate, prompting the administration to explore other ways to keep him in the job after his temporary appointment expires in January, officials said yesterday.
The situation represents a sharp turnaround from two weeks ago, when the White House was confident it could finally push through Bolton’s long-stalled nomination. But last week’s surprise move by Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) to delay a vote convinced Republicans on Capitol Hill that the nomination may be doomed, prompting a search for alternatives.
Administration officials said they have not given up. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Chafee yesterday to kick off a lobbying campaign that will continue today when he returns to Washington after his hard-fought Republican primary victory in Rhode Island on Tuesday.
Bush and national Republicans pulled out the stops to help Chafee win the primary, and they expect a payback. But with Chafee now preparing to face a strong Democratic challenger in a Democratic state in November, many Republicans said he has less incentive to support a firebrand figure such as Bolton.

“It’s dead as far as the Senate is concerned,”
said one Republican official at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Chafee holds the decisive vote. “Chafee made it a 9 to 9 vote, and that’s not going to change.” A Senate Republican leadership aide added: “Chafee holds Bolton’s future in his hands, and people are very worried he’s going to squeeze and never let go.” [emphasis added]

This article validates what I posted right after last Thursday’s failed effort by the administration to secure a vote on John Bolton in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
— Steve Clemons


34 comments on “Senior Republican Foreign Relations Committee Staff Reports “Bolton Confirmation Dead”

  1. WOW GOLD says:

    you’re going to dish dirt on me you’ll need to be original. I have already written a book about my felonious past. I outed myself, so to speak so there is nothing revelatory about these so-called factoids. The book is called News Junkie. It was published last week.


  2. MP says:

    MP, Could you be more specific? I think it’s true that the US foreign policy affects Israel in a manner which the majority of Isrealis disprove (in some cases at least), but the mechanism isn’t quite clear to me. My own take on it is that the aid given to Israel, which is largely military, strengthens the right wing both here and in Israel, because the right wing is closer to the military.”
    Marky, not being on the “inside,” I’m not sure what the mechanism is per se. I can only tell you what I read and how I interpret it. As I understand it, the US started giving Israel support back in the early 1970s after it saw how well Israel performed on its own against Arab/Soviet proxy armies without direct involvement by the US–no US soldiers were in harm’s way. It was a cheap and painless way for the US to counter Soviet plays in the ME and block the Soviet crescent from Syria and Iraq through Jordan to Egypt. Israel, in effect, prevented Jordan from falling into the Soviet sphere.
    Israel also captured much Soviet war equipment and handed it over to the US, so we could learn about MiGs and such.
    During the Gulf War, Bush I convinced Israel to stay out of the conflict even when Scuds were falling on her–and gave her some pretty ineffectual Patriot missiles as partial protection against the inevitable attacks from Iraq.
    During the recent Lebanon conflict, there was much talk that the Bush administration was pushing Israel to attack Syria. There was also much talk that, from the Administration’s POV, the conflict was a trial run at what a US attack on Iran might look like. Even though Israel is very nervous about Iran, they didn’t want to broaden the war to Syria and resisted doing so.
    In return, Israel does get a lot of aid and weaponry and a blind eye turned toward its actions toward the Palestinians. So, I guess the mechanism is a kind of quid pro quo.
    I think it’s important to understand that there are many different political currents in Israel and within Zionism, as there are here and elsewhere. Hamas and PLO shouldn’t be lumped together; neither should the various parties and factions within Israel, even within the Israeli army. Similarly, many Israelis, even those on the right, don’t like AIPAC and the pressure it places on Israel. You might remember the hoopla around moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. AIPAC pushed for it, but Rabin didn’t want it to happen. I believe Rabin tried to get AIPAC’s top man fired, without success.
    So, overall, I don’t believe that Jews, Israel, or even AIPAC control US foreign policy–and I don’t believe that our foreign policy is Israel-centric, as is sometimes suggested here. Exerting a large degree of influence doesn’t mean a faction controls events. That takes the connection and critique several steps too far.
    My take is that a lot of Israeli politics is manipulated by fear, just as it is here. The Jews, of course, and Israelis, in particular, have good historical reasons to be afraid–but they can’t let fear rule them, or the situation will never improve.


  3. Kathleen says:

    Short of a wooden stake through the heart, can we really say the Bolton confirmation is DOA?


  4. susan says:

    “I’m not the only one who thinks Bush will use nukes on Iran..”
    Marky, Maybe Bush is trying to inspire his base. The elections are nearly here, and he HAS to say something to make them get out and vote. The word NUKE probably sets their little black hearts all a flutter. You know how much they like it when he “talks tough.”
    I still don’t think that we will attack Iran. Recently I read this, and it deserves wider attention:
    “…Despite the constant invocation of a possible military attack on Iran, however, a little-noticed section of the administration’s official national security strategy indicates that Bush has already decided that he will not use military force to try to prevent Iran from going nuclear.
    Instead, the administration has shifted its aim to pressing Iran to make internal political changes, based on the dubious theory that it would lead to a change in Iranian nuclear policy.
    News coverage of the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) issued Mar. 16 emphasised its reference to the doctrine of preemption. But a careful reading of the document reveals that its real message — ignored by the media — was that Iran will not alter its nuclear policy until after regime change has taken place.
    The NSS takes pains to reduce the significance of Iran’s obtaining a nuclear capability. “As important as are these nuclear issues,” it says, “the United States has broader concerns regarding Iran. The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom.
    Then the NSS states, “The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of U.S. policy.
    This carefully worded statement thus explicitly makes regime change — not stopping Iran’s progress toward a nuclear capability — the goal of U.S. policy toward Iran.”


  5. elementary teacher says:

    Speaking of the FBI …
    According to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition the following veteran national security experts were turned away, ignored, or censored by the 9/11 Commission, even though they had direct and relevant information related to the Commission’s investigation:
    John M. Cole, Former Veteran Intelligence Operations Specialist; FBI
    John Vincent, Retired Special Agent, Counterterrorism; FBI
    Robert Wright, Veteran Special Agent, Counterterrorism; FBI
    Sibel Edmonds, Former Language Specialist; FBI
    Behrooz Sarshar, Former Language Specialist; FBI
    Mike German, Special Agent, Counterterrorism;FBI
    Gilbert Graham, Retired Special Agent, Counterintelligence; FBI
    Coleen Rowley, Retired Division Counsel; FBI
    Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, DIA
    Dick Stoltz, Retired Special Agent; ATF
    Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Red Team Leader; FAA
    Linda Lewis, Retired Emergency Programs Specialist; USDA
    Mark Burton, Senior Analyst; NSA
    Fuller details:


  6. .... says:

    interesting article in forward on the donations from the israel lobby to whitehouse, chafees opponent in the upcoming election.


  7. Monty says:

    Great news!
    However, the Cheney Regime have always treated the UN like an unruly stepchild and will continue to ignore it.
    An important victory, but since fascists aren’t about diplomacy, it won’t do much for US/UN relations. Kofi Annan spending face time with Castro at the United Federation of America-Haters, etc. Bush/Cheney have marginalized the US beyond any extent I’d have imagined possible.


  8. Marky says:

    OT but worthy of note: I’m not the only one who thinks Bush will use nukes on Iran.
    Another test for Chris Nelson and other respected insiders: do they believe Bush would use nuclear weapons on Iran? Sometimes its the outsider that sees things clearly. If you’re an insider, you may assume that people in your crowd have placed certain restrictions on themselves. In Bush’s case, this is a terrible blunder. Having Bolton’s nomination fail is a good thing, but it doesn’t protect us against Bush acting out his messianic delusions. No amount of sensible talk will influence Bush or Cheney.


  9. Marky says:

    Obama/Chaffee 08! Let the milquetoast moderates restore the empty center of US politics.


  10. chris_from_boca says:

    “We Democrats are just, well, confused,” Obama writes. He goes on. “Mainly, though, the Democratic Party has become the party of reaction. In reaction to a war that is ill-conceived, we appear suspicious of all military action.
    “In reaction to those who proclaim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to tackle pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism, and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our policies with a larger meaning.”
    f’ng wanker.
    another “if only the dems would…” speeches. this guy lost my vote, whenever he runs.


  11. Marky says:

    Could you be more specific? I think it’s true that the US foreign policy affects Israel in a manner which the majority of Isrealis disprove (in some cases at least), but the mechanism isn’t quite clear to me.
    My own take on it is that the aid given to Israel, which is largely military, strengthens the right wing both here and in Israel, because the right wing is closer to the military.


  12. MP says:

    “Consequently, America’s entire Mideast mission carries the stain of Jewish “exceptionalism”. Why so little outcry? The problem is demographic and ideological: America’s media and political classes are overstocked with ‘Israel-first’ loyalists. Their target: U.S. public opinion and the institutions which shape it.
    To push this agenda, pro-Israel spin-meisters have convinced Americans into believing that our government’s ongoing war dance towards all of Israel’s adversaries signal nothing more than the mere convergence of U.S.-Zionist interests. ”
    A stronger and more consistent argument could be made that American foreign policy is held hostage by oil interests–not Israel. Israel is used by America more than the other way around. Though, its true, Israel does get some concessions out of America in exchange for its willingness to be used by the superpower.


  13. Steve says:

    You can email President Bush, VP Cheney and Congressional Leaders from my homepage. Check it out here……..


  14. Pissed Off American says:

    I occured to me some time ago that the only agency in goverment halfway doing it’s job is the FBI.
    Posted by Carroll
    Yeah, but they never brought John Lennon to justice either. Incompetents, one and all.
    (Seriously, Carroll, you might want to ask Sibel Edmonds whether or not the FBI is “doing its job.)


  15. Pissed Off American says:

    Posted by Mark Green……
    I can tell be your grasp of the situation and the articulate manner in which you expressed your concerns that you are obviously rabidly anti-semitic, a hopeless conspiracy theorist, and probably a gay socialist as well. Oh, and I almost forgot, a Bush hater.
    Now that I have successfully debunked your argument, can I sell ya a CD?? Its a collaborative effort by Disney/ABC, a sequel to “Fantasia”.


  16. Mark Green says:

    U.S. foreign policies have become so uniquely inconsistent, so politicized, that they make a mockery of international law. Can moral decay be far behind? No wonder the U.N. is such a basket case. Like the corpse of a fish, it’s rotting from the head down. In supreme deference to Israel, America has discarded its opportunity to lead the world by example, namely, upholding the impartial rule of law. Consequently, America’s entire Mideast mission carries the stain of Jewish “exceptionalism”. Why so little outcry? The problem is demographic and ideological: America’s media and political classes are overstocked with ‘Israel-first’ loyalists. Their target: U.S. public opinion and the institutions which shape it.
    To push this agenda, pro-Israel spin-meisters have convinced Americans into believing that our government’s ongoing war dance towards all of Israel’s adversaries signal nothing more than the mere convergence of U.S.-Zionist interests. But that’s a kosher fairy tale. Israeli fingerprints are all over America’s disastrous war in Iraq as well as our continuing confrontation with Iran. And our President’s self-righteous claims about spreading “freedom” and “democracy” are just as contrived. Not only have all the original rationalizations for the U.S. invasion of Iraq been discredited, but comparable Israeli misdeeds are consistently met with American aid, diplomatic cover, and state-of-the-art weapons systems. This pattern has endured for decades. And woe to those would-be leaders who dare challenge this glaring double standard, as they tend to disappear.
    It can be argued that America is a nation under ‘soft occupation’ by a shadow government serving a foreign power


  17. Nancy/Ca says:

    Im keeping the faith Steve that you will be able to shine a spotlight again on the warmongering Bolton! I remember jumping up and down when Sen.Voinovich voiced his “doubts”
    (What the heck changed his mind since?) Any chance Sen.Chaffee will suddenly decide Bolton is ok now that Chaffee won the primary? And yes,where is Hagel on all of this?


  18. Dirk says:

    Well, it looks like Bolton client Israel is
    that it was using inaccurate charts when it bombed
    that UN post, killing all the observers:
    This is at least somewhat plausible given that Israel
    is in another border dispute where they are laying down
    barbed wire 15 meters inside Lebanese territory, but claim
    that it is along the UN defined line:


  19. Carroll says:

    Speaking of Ney.
    I occured to me some time ago that the only agency in goverment halfway doing it’s job is the FBI.


  20. elementary teacher says:

    Ohio Congressman to Plead Guilty
    Representative Bob Ney, Republican of Ohio, has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges related to his dealings with the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, lawyers and others with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.


  21. elementary teacher says:

    Speaking of the Armed Services Committee..
    Hours after a rare visit to Capitol Hill by Bush yesterday, the Senate armed services committee approved legislation being pushed by McCain that the White House says would force it to shut down its secret prisons.
    McCain has received backing from Colin Powell, the secretary of state during the first four years of the Bush administration.
    “The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 [of the Geneva conventions] would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk,” Powell wrote in a letter to McCain released yesterday.
    “We are not saying the CIA cannot carry out a program,” McCain said yesterday. “We are saying it cannot amend the Geneva conventions, which calls for the kind of treatment of prisoners that fall under Common Article 3.”


  22. susan says:

    “Armitage’s tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive….”
    I agree; we need to get a little higher on the food chain. I would suggest talking to President Cheney and his loyal lackey, G.W.B.


  23. .... says:

    pot calling the kettle black >>Armitage’s tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive.<<


  24. Robert Morrow says:

    Hey, let’s talk about the outing of Valerie Plame. I haven’t heard much about that from the WashNote lately and I’ve been looking for the update on this pressing issue. Can you believe the lengths that the neocons like Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney will go to destroy people who questioned the invasion of Iraq?
    Roseanne Roseannadanna recently commented on this and you know what she had to say?: NEVERMIND!
    September 14, 2006
    The Real Story Behind Armitage’s Role
    By Robert Novak
    WASHINGTON — When Richard Armitage finally acknowledged last week he was my source three years ago in revealing Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA employee, the former deputy secretary of state’s interviews obscured what he really did. I want to set the record straight based on firsthand knowledge.
    First, Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he “thought” might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson. Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column.
    An accurate depiction of what Armitage actually said deepens the irony of him being my source. He was a foremost internal skeptic of the administration’s war policy, and I long had opposed military intervention in Iraq. Zealous foes of George W. Bush transformed me improbably into the president’s lapdog. But they cannot fit Armitage into the left-wing fantasy of a well-crafted White House conspiracy to destroy Joe and Valerie Wilson. The news that he and not Karl Rove was the leaker was devastating news for the Left.
    A peculiar convergence had joined Armitage and me on the same historical path. During his quarter of a century in Washington, I had no contact with Armitage before our fateful interview. I tried to see him in the first two and one-half years of the Bush administration, but he rebuffed me — summarily and with disdain, I thought.
    Then, without explanation, in June 2003, Armitage’s office said the deputy secretary would see me. This was two weeks before Joe Wilson surfaced himself as author of a 2002 report for the CIA debunking Iraqi interest in buying uranium in Africa.
    I sat down with Armitage in his State Department office the afternoon of July 8 with tacit rather than explicit ground rules: deep background with nothing said attributed to Armitage or even an anonymous State Department official. Consequently, I refused to identify Armitage as my leaker until his admission was forced by “Hubris,” a new book by reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn that absolutely identified him.
    Late in my hour-long interview with Armitage. I asked why the CIA had sent Wilson — lacking intelligence experience, nuclear policy or recent contact with Niger — on the African mission. He told the Washington Post last week that his answer was: “I don’t know, but I think his wife worked out there.”
    Neither of us took notes, and nobody else was present. But I recalled our conversation that week in writing a column, while Armitage reconstructed it months later for federal prosecutors. He had told me unequivocally that Mrs. Wilson worked in the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division and that she had suggested her husband’s mission. As for his current implications that he never expected this to be published, he noted that the story of Mrs. Wilson’s role fit the style of the old Evans-Novak column — implying to me it continued reporting Washington inside information.
    Mrs. Wilson’s name appeared in my column July 14, 2003, but it was not until Oct. 1 that I heard about it from Armitage. Washington lobbyist Kenneth Duberstein, Armitage’s close friend and political adviser, called me to say the deputy secretary feared he had “inadvertently” (the word Armitage used in last week’s interviews) disclosed Mrs. Wilson’s identity to me in July and was considering resignation. (Duberstein’s phone call was disclosed in the Isikoff-Corn book, which used Duberstein as a source. They reported Duberstein was responsible for arranging my unexpected interview with Armitage.)
    Duberstein told me Armitage wanted to know whether he was my source. I did not reply because I was sure that Armitage knew he was the source. I believed he contacted me Oct. 1 because of news the weekend of Sept. 27-28 that the Justice Department was investigating the leak. I cannot credit Armitage’s current claim that he realized he was the source only when my Oct. 1 column revealed that the official who gave me the information was “no partisan gunslinger.”
    Armitage’s silence the next two and one-half years caused intense pain for his colleagues in government and enabled partisan Democrats in Congress to falsely accuse Rove of being my primary source. When Armitage now says he was mute because of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s request, that does not explain his silent three months between his claimed first realization that he was the source and Fitzgerald’s appointment on Dec. 30. Armitage’s tardy self-disclosure is tainted because it is deceptive.


  25. skip says:

    There is no mystery to any of this. Remember what Rummy said after 9/11: “go massive, drain the swamp, clean it all up. Things related and not.”
    The WH doesn’t CARE whether things tie together, so long as they can pretend they do. Just like with al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezzbollah and the Chechnyans (who went from good guys to bad guys overnight). If, god forbid, these disparate groups ever make common cause against us, we will have this administration to thank for it.


  26. S Brennan says:

    Apparently the picture above was taken post mortem.


  27. Kevin says:

    I realize that this question may be merely academic now, but what ever became of Hagel’s decision on Bolton? I read that he was opposed to Bolton at one time but then met with him and changed his mind. Does anyone know what caused him to change his mind?


  28. Punchy says:

    Jud hit it on the head. Bolton CAN serve again–he can be re-reappointed. There’s technical issues about salary and such, but really…money, meet the underside of table.
    I’d LOVE to see the Bush Admin get its proper comeuppance, but since they already invent new rules, why not invent one for Bolton?
    Shorter: I’ll believe it when I actually see it.


  29. Jon Stopa says:

    Its been my suspicion that US policy toward N. Korea during the Bush years has been dictated in part by the need to justify the antimissile system. By stimulating N. Korea to build a-bombs, it becomes logical to build that system. Sort of. Consider how necessary an antimissile system (we need to build right now!) would seem if US-N. Korean affairs were smooth and they were good little treaty upholders?


  30. judyo says:

    It would not surprise me a bit if they ignored Congress.
    This is an imperial regime after all.


  31. profmarcus says:

    i hope it’s deader than a doornail and that your choice, dobriansky, isn’t on the short list… she may have the credentials and even the right mental disposition, but her sig on the pnac principles makes my stomach churn…


  32. erichwwk says:

    Thank God!
    The NYTimes reports:
    “U.N. inspectors investigating Iran’s nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document “outrageous and dishonest” and offering evidence to refute its central claims.
    The report’s author, Fredrick Fleitz, is a onetime CIA officer and special assistant to John R. Bolton, the administration’s former point man on Iran at the State Department. Bolton, who is now ambassador to the United Nations, had been highly influential during President Bush’s first term in drawing up a tough policy that rejected talks with Tehran.”
    I do hope the Reid conference will address the attempt to repeat WHG and OSP type nonsense to hang on to the apocolyptic vision of “God told me to do it”. I would like to see the Nuclear Posture Review, and the trashing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty discussed as well. It is one thing to have land mines and unexploded cluster bombs strewn over the landscape, and quite another to show Katrina and WTC incompetance over nuclear warheads.


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