“Why We Fight” the John Bolton Nomination: Remember First Principles


Some very interesting and thoughtful folks have emailed me today and shared with me their views on why they are so opposed to John Bolton serving as America’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
The most ringing are those who understand that the person in that role must represent the best of who we are and be a no-nonsense advocate for American interests as well as committed to an institution that helps further global stability and which can address some of the world’s most insoluble problems.
I am slightly modified one email that matches my own views very closely, and I want to share it.
I do think that it is important to remember “first principles” in what this is all about and this note from a TWN reader makes a great contribution.

Dear Steve:
You have opened many important doors on this blog on the reasons “why we fight” John Bolton’s nomination. This isn’t just about Bolton’s politics or bad behavior — and its not because of some leftist plot to give Dick Cheney a bad day.
Some of these thoughts have emerged in your posts and in the commentary on The Washington Note, but I wanted to order a few thoughts here:
1) Many thoughtful Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, and even those who are not involved in politics at all, are deeply troubled by the unprecedented decline in America’s standing during the past few years.
2) Poll after poll has shown a precipitous drop in favorable attitudes toward the U.S., not only in the Arab and Muslim world, but in Europe, South America, and Asia, and even in our own continent of North America. (i.e. Canada and Mexico ) Anti-U.S. sentiment in the Arab world might be explained away as an unfortunate side effect of the current conflict, but when the entire world simultaneously and suddenly shows a dramatic rise in these sentiments, then any reasonable person should be deeply concerned.
3) John Bolton’s views, demeanor, and capacity for engendering animosity are well known. Foreign diplomats have made no secret of their dislike for him.
4) Bolton’s opponents believe that America’s standing in the world and its ability to inspire are important both to America’s and the world’s well being. They see Bolton as likely to exacerbate the recent decline in America’s standing rather than improve it.
Here is an intro from a Pew Survey on rising anti-Americanism, as well as the report itself, which contains dramatic tables documenting the decline.
Best regards,

This note really inspired me today — and I hope that there are some in the Senate, both in the broad Chamber itself and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that are reminded that this Battle over Bolton is indeed about principles, and about sensible and enlightened American engagement in the world.
One interesting side note is that Andy Kohut and Bruce Stokes, who both had so much to do with engineering this important international survey of attitudes toward globalization and the United States are feverishly working on a book, due very soon to the publisher, which hopefully will be released this summer.
Some won’t find these reasons enough to vote against John Bolton — and that is tragic actually. But this is an important pillar of the many reasons that have emerged during his confirmation process.
TWN will continue to push all of the buttons — but very much appreciates those who articulate what this battle really ought to be about.
For those of you who need a 4-minute refresher, go see the Bolton video at www.StopBolton.org.
More to come.
— Steve Clemons