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John Bolton nominated
The "hawk" Bush wants at the UN

By Nicole Colson | March 18, 2005 | Page 12

"THE [UNITED Nations] Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." Meet John Bolton, the man George W. Bush has picked to be the new U.S. ambassador to...the United Nations (UN).

Bolton, a longtime Republican operative who served in both the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, is one of the most determined "hawks" in Washington. "He's been our man at the State Department," David Keene, chair of the American Conservative Union, told the New York Times. Bolton proudly displays a mock grenade in his office, labeled "To John Bolton--World's Greatest Reaganite."

A hard-core "unilateralist," he has made a career out of bashing the UN--and rejects the idea that world opinion should ever constrain the U.S. from pursuing its military or economic aims. In an interview in 2000 on National Public Radio, Bolton told Juan Williams, "If I were redoing the Security Council today, I'd have one permanent member, because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world." "And that one member would be?" asked Williams. "The United States," Bolton replied.

Bolton brags that one of the highlights of his career was his role in the 1991 repeal of the UN General Assembly's 1975 resolution condemning Zionism as a racist policy--"thus removing the greatest stain on the UN's reputation." As an undersecretary of state for Bush Jr., Bolton was a driving force behind the U.S. refusal to join the International Criminal Court. He said the day he signed the letter withdrawing the U.S. signature on the treaty was "the happiest moment of my government service."

Bolton has argued against the U.S. paying its UN dues and helped lead the administration's unsuccessful effort to deny a third term of office to Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency--in retaliation for ElBaradei's criticisms of the Bush administration claim that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction."

Even some conservatives are shocked by the Bush administration's audacity in nominating Bolton. Chas Freeman, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the appointment was "the equivalent of dropping a neutron bomb on the organization."

As the New York Times joked in an editorial, the Bolton nomination "leaves us wondering what Mr. Bush's next nomination will be. Donald Rumsfeld to negotiate a new set of Geneva Conventions? Martha Stewart to run the Securities and Exchange Commission? Kenneth Lay for energy secretary?"

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