I Don’t Want Mr. Rogers, I Want John Bolton

Rebeccah Ramey

May 1, 2005

It’s bad enough that President Bush’s pick for Ambassador to the UN, Secretary John Bolton, has been viciously berated by Democrats, but I could barely sit still when I heard what Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) had to say about him. Secretary Bolton has been accused of being, among other things, an “arrogant” “bullying” man with “his own hard-line opinions” and “abrasive managerial style.” Mr. Voinovich listened to the Democrat members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee describe Secretary Bolton this way, and was convinced that this made him unfit to hold the position of Ambassador to the United Nations. Okay, to be fair, these weren’t the only reasons. Secretary Bolton was also accused of “improperly manipulating intelligence” while holding the position as under secretary of state (in which he has received three Senate confirmations). The reason I didn’t mention this one at first, is because it is the only accusation that has been absolutely proven to be completely and utterly false. Actually, I don’t think anyone is disputing that Mr. Bolton does indeed have his own hard-line opinions, interpretations, and less than ginger approach to managing those who work for him. Now let us consider the job for which he has received the nomination from the Chief Executor of our country, as well as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

As ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Bolton will represent the President and the people of the United States to the United Nations. The same United Nations involved in the Oil for Food scandal, the same United Nations made to look like a clown by Saddam Hussein (until the President finally said ‘enough is enough, there is nothing funny about letting a despotic, waste of a man, mass murderer call the shots and thumb his nose at anything the United States is a part of’), the same United Nations whose aim is to engage freedom-loving, lawful nations in discussions and agreements, in an effort to accomplish security for the interests of the United States and the interests of the other members of the diplomatic alliance. Secretary Bolton has been accused of having little to none of the skills required for diplomacy. Well, whatever is needed for diplomacy, Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar, pointed out that Secretary Bolton must know something about them. In the Senate Foreign Relations hearing, Mr. Lugar said:

At the core of any nomination process is the question of whether the nominee is qualified to undertake the task for which he or she is nominated. I have no doubts that Secretary Bolton is extremely well- qualified… He has just served four years in a key undersecretary position that technically outranks the post for which he is now nominated… He was the primary negotiator in the creation of the successful Proliferation Security Initiative and the landmark Moscow Treaty. He played a large role in the agreement with Libya on the surrender of that nation’s WMD programs, and the 10-plus-10-over-10 agreement that resulted in $10 billion in pledges from the other G-8 countries to secure the Soviet weapons of mass destruction arsenal.

It goes without saying that this is an incredible record, for which Americans already owe him recognition and appreciation, and his ability to accomplish such feats is essential for what lies ahead for the United States and our allies. The UN doesn’t need reform because it carries some special, intrinsic value; it needs reform because it is one of the greatest tools for dealing with real international and national crises. Look what’s looming in the not-so-distant future for the UN Security Council. Iran has Britain, Germany, and yes, even France, ready to buckle down and join President Bush’s plan for actions against Tehran. Why? Well, because in 2002 dissidents in Iran revealed Iran’s biggest nuclear site. When Britain, Germany and France made Iran promise to end nuclear developments in exchange for economic benefits, it agreed, but now Iran wants to resume those developments.

And just a few days ago, on May 11th, North Korea declared it had removed a nuclear reactor for weapons fuel and that it removed 8,000 spent fuel rods from a reactor. I haven’t a clue as to what those things are, exactly, or how they work. I do know that in removing those fuel rods and reprocessing them, it could make enough plutonium for one to three nuclear bombs. They could be bluffing. We don’t really know for sure what they’re doing, of course, because they won’t let anyone know for certain. (I can hear the lecture of one of my professors now… should we wait until their capacity to harm us matches the reality of their will?) On February 10th, North Korea claimed that they already have an arsenal of nuclear weapons. We do know that the North Koreans have medium-ranged missiles with a range long enough to reach Japan and American bases in Japan. Oh, and to throw another wrench in the mess, which should not be taken lightly, China, whose land mass and population dwarfs the land mass and population of the United States and has a machine-like work force upon which the American economy is currently dependent, is North Korea’s biggest supplier of energy and food. This past Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry said ‘no’ to applying sanctions on North Korea in order to rein in her nuclear ambitions.

So back to Senator Voinovich’s complaints and unwillingness to join the rest of the Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who voted for him: it boils down to the fact that Senator. Voinovich and the Democrats think that Secretary Bolton is just too mean to represent the United States to the UN. I heard someone who was critical of Bolton compare his becoming the UN ambassador to Bonnie and Clyde becoming bank tellers. Well, no, it’s not that cute. It’s more like a man with moral clarity, who recognizes friends and foes when he sees them, who believes that rather than having intrinsic worth, the UN only carries value when it is effective, who critically thinks for himself and, as it turns out, shares the President’s drive and no-nonsense approach to protecting the citizens of this nation from people who want to destroy us. Perhaps Senator Voinovich wants someone a little more like Mr. Rogers to handle this task. I don’t. I want John Bolton.

Rebeccah Ramey is a recent graduate of Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar Program. She currently works in Washington, D.C.