There's an interesting article at the National Review, today, about how Bolton is not as unsuited to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "OK", I thought, "I'll give that a read". And might I say, I don't know what kind of people read the National Review, but apparently they remember more SAT words than I do. I had to look up both "gravamen" and "vitiates".
The article is by Rich Lowry, and he makes a few solid points. Bolton has indeed been involved in many activities that involved more than one country:
In his current job as undersecretary of state for arms control, he worked on the Moscow Treaty, which codified steep reductions in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. He was instrumental in the passage of U.N. Resolution 1540, urging countries to crack down on WMD proliferation. He was central in the creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative, a multilateral effort to block the transfer of WMDs. He was the lead U.S. negotiator in the creation of the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Proliferation of WMD, an attempt to secure Russian WMD materials. Just how multilateral can one guy get?I was reading without that angry red color clouding my vision, the article seemed to be presenting its point fairly well, so I kept reading. Well, I did take exception to the line "This attitude is the international version of the old definition of a liberal as someone who won't take his own side in a fight". That was a bit of a cheap shot. But more or less the article makes a decent argument. Then, of course, I got to the part that didn't ring as true with me.
The second is that Bolton's multilateralism is always in the service of advancing Bush's foreign policy. Since Democrats oppose that foreign policy, they pretend Bolton rejects international cooperation altogether. His version of multilateralism vitiates what for many Democrats should be its chief purpose frustrating Bush goals abroad. Alas, John Bolton is determined to be Bush's ambassador to the U.N., rather than the other way around, making him the kind of diplomat the Democrats just can't abide.I do indeed oppose most of Bush's foreign policies, I do. I feel that they smack of superiority complexes and imperialistic goals. To me, advancing these policies *is* rejecting international cooperation. Has Lowry heard some of the things that Rice has said? Does he think that she never really made those comments, or that no one else in the administration echoed the sentiment?
So, as I interpret it, Bolton's version of multilateralism is painted with the brush that builds nations and assumes that the U.S. should be in charge. Isn't having a version of multilateralism that actually translates to "making others play the way we want them to" exactly what we're complaining about?
I don't think that I'm not on my own side if I feel that the U.S. should be working as a member of the U.N. instead of the eldest son and heir.