Tuesday 5 December 2006

Bolton bolts

A sham-ppointment ended

Following his election victory of 2004, George W. Bush instigated some rather controversial appointments which did not endear him to many.

We guffawed when Condoleezza Rice was presented as the new Secretary of State succeeding Colin Powell, we wondered why Rumsfeld was still not given the boot and the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court drew more brick-bats than accolades, she eventually declined.

However, the most irreverent of all was that of John Bolton as the US Ambassador to the UN.

Mr. Bolton, a smart, intelligent but abrasive man in want of tact and lacking the graces required of a diplomatic posting could not be countenanced by the US Senate for that position but he went anyway through a recess appointment which had to be confirmed by the Senate eventually.

At a time when the UN was in need for reform through sometimes driven by US animosity for the lack of support for their Iraqi intransigence, Mr. Bolton in the eyes of the President was the right party spoiler to shake the place up.

Diplomacy and demeanour still matters

Unfortunately, they forgot that the UN is still a place where your case has to be eased into the system to garner support – Mr. Bolton probably had great potential but his demeanour made that possibility unrealisable.

After 16 months in the position, the Senate now under the control of the Democrats is still implacable, concerning confirming his appointment and as if by great intuitiveness Mr. Bolton has read the tea leaves and fallen on his sword.

There would be many who like me would not shed a tear for his going and like the metaphor of shaving 10 storeys off the UN Secretariat Building, his presence there has made no bit of difference to improving the perception of Mr George W. Bush’s America.

“There is no such thing as the United Nations. United States makes the U.N. work when it wants it to work. If the U.N. Secretariat building in New York lost 10 stories, it would not make a bit of difference.” John Bolton – 1994

As for the title of this piece, it is not original, but quite apt, anyhow.

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