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John Bolton Cowed
Last uploaded : Wednesday 13th Apr 2005 at 05:06
Contributed by : Carol Gould


Many observers of Washington life may wonder why Donald Rumsfeld is a survivor. Over the past four years of his second term as American Secretary of Defence he has been declared ?yesterday?s man;? ?dead in the water? and on the brink of resignation by scores of journalists, politicians and scholars. Now, in April 2005, a year after the revelations by Seymour Hersh and Dan Rather of the Abu Ghraib scandal, the Defence Secretary is being feted by TIME Magazine as one of its ?100 Most Influential People in the World 2004-2005? alongside actor Jamie Foxx and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Rumsfeld is, without doubt, one of the most skilled politicians ever to walk the treacherous corridors of Capitol Hill and is a consummate wordsmith when being interrogated by a Congressional committee. He has one skill, however, that harks back to his days as a champion wrestler: he knows how and when to go on the offensive without being eaten alive, or worse, demolished.

Watching American United Nations Ambassadorship Nominee John Bolton being questioned yesterday by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, it was painfully evident that he lacked the ability to embark on an offensive. Various Democrat and indeed Republican Senators seemed fixated on the fact that Bolton has said, in a public forum, that there is no United Nations and that if ten floors of the UN building were to disappear they would not be missed.

As Senator Barack Obama said, there is a lot of truth to the Bolton viewpoint. Nonetheless the Democrats on the Committee were on the offensive about his anti-United Nations sentiments and there were repeated queries of ?Why the hell would you want to work in a place you believe does not even exist?? Throughout the day Bolton became more and more cowed and at times looked like a schoolboy in the Headmaster?s office.

What is puzzling is Bolton?s complete lack of preparedness. Anyone who has been UN-watching for the past decade could justify such extreme sentiments by describing, for example, the antics of the supporters of the Durban Conference of September 2001.The hate-fest known as the ?United Nations Conference on Racism? had just ended in Durban, South Africa, where Shimon Peres and other Jewish and American dignitaries had had to run for their lives from hysterical crowds whipped up by pro-Palestinian groups. The conference, led by former Irish President and then UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, was a terrifying example of the way media bias against Israel and the USA can whip up huge crowds into near-violent frenzy. Throughout conservative circles to this day, ?Durban? is the euphemism for the worldwide movement to bring down Israel and the USA. 9/11 happened three days after the close of Durban and many were not shocked because they had only just been witnessing the ugly and intimidating scenes unfolding at Durban. A conference to combat human rights abuses around the world had degenerated into a ?whack Israel and the USA? sideshow under the umbrella of a UN event.

Bolton could have ?done a Rumsfeld? and turned the tables on the Committee with, ?Senator, how do YOU feel about an organisation that includes some of the world?s most reviled rogue states in rotating membership of its committees?? He could have asked them why they have such an affection for an organisation that is under scrutiny for an oil-for-food scandal that may prove misconduct by several United Nations agents, or why they defend an institution that has been associated with relentless ?Zionism is racism? calls over many decades by many of its dictator-run members. (See the list below; -- it is beyond belief that some of these repressive regimes are on the UN Human Rights Commission.)

One wonders if any of the more notorious member states of the United Nations would allow a grand building to rise in one of its cities accommodating grand offices full of men and women from every religion and background in the world. Would those rogue nations allow these men and women to roam its streets in safety and work in that edifice ? Daniel Pearl ventured into Pakistan to research a story and was beheaded.

Today?s testimony by Carl Ford to the same Committee darkened John Bolton?s reputation and it is possible he will not be confirmed. The evidence of his past misdeeds being alleged by such witnesses as Ford make him an unlikely candidate for a position that will encompass discourse on Iranian and North Korean nuclear brinkmanship. However, it would have been a valuable exercise for Bolton to have gone on the offensive and presented the dark side of the United Nations.

The Senators on the Democrat side of the table, most particularly Joe Biden and Barbara Boxer seized upon Bolton?s past statements about the United Nations and even showed a film clip from 1994. It is unfortunate that they did not ask him how he would fix the UN. Their lack of insight regarding the problems, scandals and waste at the organisation added to the shallowness of the debate. A new Ambassador should have been asked for his or her proposed remedies.

It is depressing to think that Bolton may occupy the same seat occupied by such giants as Adlai Stevenson and Eleanor Roosevelt. His inability to fight back is characteristic of bullies when they are truly cornered. The United States could do better than John Bolton. Greatness does not look like this.


18254. Argentina 2005
18255. Armenia 2007
18256. Australia 2005
18257. Bhutan 2006
18258. Brazil 2005
18259. Burkina Faso 2005
18260. Canada 2007
18261. China 2005
18262. Congo 2006
18263. Costa Rica 2006
18264. Cuba 2006
18265. Dominican Republic 2006
18266. Ecuador 2007
18267. Egypt 2006
18268. Eritrea 2006
18269. Ethiopia 2006
18270. Finland 2007
18271. France 2007
18272. Gabon 2005
18273. Germany 2005
18274. Guatemala 2006
18275. Guinea 2007
18276. Honduras 2006
18277. Hungary 2006
18278. India 2006
18279. Indonesia 2006
18280. Ireland 2005
18281. Italy 2006
18282. Japan 2005
18283. Kenya 2007
18284. Malaysia 2007
18285. Mauritania 2006
18286. Mexico 2007
18287. Nepal 2006
18288. Netherlands 2006
18289. Nigeria 2006
18290. Pakistan 2007
18291. Paraguay 2005
18292. Peru 2006
18293. Qatar 2006
18294. Republic of Korea 2007
18295. Romania 2007
18296. Russian Federation 2006
18297. Saudi Arabia 2006
18298. South Africa 2006
18299. Sri Lanka 2005
18300. Sudan 2007
18301. Swaziland 2005
18302. Togo 2007
18303. Ukraine 2005
18304. United Kingdom 2006
18305. United States of America 2005
18306. Zimbabwe 2005



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