Do not send Boltonto the United Nations

Nominating John Bolton certainly questions Bush’s call for international cooperation.

The U.S. Senate is considering John Bolton’s nomination for ambassador to the United Nations. To say Bolton is not a fan of the United Nations is the understatement of the year.

Few people believe the United Nations is a perfect institution. In fact, many people believe the United Nations is a troubled institution. That does not, however, excuse President George W. Bush’s decision to nominate Bolton.

Bolton, who vaguely looks like Teddy Roosevelt, is a throwback to the bully pulpit frame of mind, and this is exactly the problem. Supporters would say this is exactly what the United Nations needs. But at this moment in time, an “our way or the highway” approach will only work to fuel animosity toward the United States. Bolton just isn’t the right person for this position.

Bush’s unilateralism has caused enough harm to the United States’ interests. Besides Bolton’s undiplomatic approach and disdain for the United Nations, looming accusations have already helped to undermine what positive attributes he did have.

In 2002, Bolton was set to announce Cuba had a secret biological weapons program, a folly that would have undermined the United States’ credibility worldwide. A lower-ranking official prevented such a statement. Bolton then tried to have the official who disagreed with him on Cuba fired. Bolton is a staunch opponent to the global ban on nuclear testing and once said it wouldn’t really matter if the U.N. building lost the top 10 stories (where high-ranking officials reside) to a bomb.

It is fine to admit the United Nations is a troubled institution and the United States is the one lone superpower. But having a person with staunch anti-U.N. ideas as the ambassador to the United Nations is not likely to advance U.S. interests in the international organization.

Bush claimed he wanted to improve the United States’ standing in the world. Nominating Bolton questioned that statement’s sincerity. Bush is right to seek better relationships within the international community. The Senate should reacquaint Bush with his own goal by rejecting Bolton’s nomination.