I don’t have time to write much now about the weird ups and downs of the DC scene — and no doubt if I do, I’ll trigger a tsunami from my tough love TWN readership.
John Bolton’s brand of hard-edged (pugnacious) nationalism is not for me, and I worked hard — within the rules of American civil society — with a lot of other political actors to block a Senate vote on his confirmation at US Ambassador to the United Nations.
That said, I listened to Bolton today on a BlogTalk radio interview with Atlas Shrugs blog mistress Pamela Geller. The show mostly focused on his new book, Surrender is Not An Option: Defending America at the United Nations.
I call things as they are — and whereas I disagree with Bolton vigorously on regime change in Iran and many other substantive issues, I was pleasantly surprised by his tone about diplomacy, his general willingness to acknowledge some importance of the United Nations, and his comment that “James Baker is the best Secretary of State we have ever had.”
Geller quickly said about Baker, “I don’t like him.” Bolton responded, “Well, I think he’s one of the best in our nation’s history.”
That was a surprise — for what it’s worth. Baker wasn’t perfect — but he was one of the best, and he thought carefully about the interconnecting dynamics of economics and security before most.
I even wrote Ambassador Bolton a short, private email commending his salute to Baker, but we’ll leave the rest of that note off the record. Maybe I’ll get a signed book from him yet.
Now I’m off to moderate a session with former Senators Birch Bayh and Dale Bumpers. Next week’s colloquy will feature Senator Richard Lugar.
— Steve Clemons