POSTCARD USA: UN gets a gift from Bush —Khalid Hasan
To the great disappointment of those who still harbour the illusion that the Washington Post is a “liberal” newspaper, here is how it ended a rambling editorial on the Bolton nomination, “So far, there is no compelling case for denying Mr Bush his choice.” I think I will cancel my daily subscription
Dorothy Parker once said to know in what contempt God holds money, all you have to do is look at the people He gives it to. That applies to Bush. To know what he thinks of the United Nations, just look at who he has nominated as the next US ambassador to the world body.
The man is John R Bolton, a serving official who was rather aptly described during his nomination hearing at the Senate as a “quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy”. This colourful characterisation came from Carl W Ford, a retired State Department official, who had worked with him. He said of Bolton, “He’s got a bigger kick, and it gets bigger and stronger the further down the bureaucracy he is kicking.” I should add that this holds true of every good Pakistani bureaucrat.
However, in Bush’s book, Bolton is eminently qualified as ambassador to the United Nations, since he holds the organisation in such contempt. Under questioning by the Senate’s Democratic members, when he said that he had been misquoted, Sen Barbara Boxer from California who is adept at putting the boot in, played a videotape of a 1994 speech in which Bolton had said, “There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world — that’s the United States — when it suits our interests and when we can get others to go along.”
Pax Americana is what the President believes should be — and is — the new world order. If you don’t like a regime — and there is no shortage of bad ones in the world — invade and destroy it — and do it on CNN. Bolton fits the bill. He is exactly the type of Republican the White House loves. Carl Ford who testified against the nomination — a group of former American diplomats has said in a joint representation that the man is not fit to hold the UN post — told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Bolton was a “bully” who abused his authority and power, intimidated intelligence analysis and damaged the integrity of the agency he was working for. He questioned his suitability for high office. He said he himself was as good a Republican as Bolton but “the collateral damage and the personal hurt he (Bolton) causes is not worth the price that had to be paid”.
One allegation against Bolton is that when the chief bio-weapons analyst at the State Department, Christian Westermann, refused to approve Bolton’s intended announcement that Cuba had a secret bio-weapons programme, he tried to get Westermann fired. He also berated and intimidated him. Bolton said he had merely tried to get him transferred because the analyst had shared Bolton’s Cuba concerns with others, something he wasn’t supposed to do.
While Bolton’s nomination is expected to go through since the Republicans are in a majority in the Senate, this is hardly the kind of message that needs to be sent to the United Nations and the world at this time of all times. However, the ultra conservatives whose dream agenda for the world Bush seems to follow are elated at the appointment. Helle Dale, a columnist for the right-wing Washington Times wrote this week, “If the UN can be redeemed, it’ll need someone like Bolton to take charge.” He also called the UN “the errant world body”. Senator Boxer, to her credit, suggested that Bolton needs “anger management”.
The New York Times, which but for the law, the Bush ultras would burn to the ground, once again spoke out boldly against yet another divisive and provocative administration decision when it wrote in a leading article on April 13, “The longer John Bolton’s Senate hearing for the post of United Nations representative went on, the more outrageous it seemed that President Bush could have nominated a man who had made withering disdain for that world body the signature of his career in international affairs. Some fear that the aim is to scuttle the United Nations. It’s more likely, but just as disturbing, that this is another example of Mr Bush’s rewarding loyalty rather than holding officials accountable for mistakes, especially those who helped build the case for war with Iraq ... With America’s credibility as low as it is, the last thing the nation needs is a United Nations envoy who tries to force intelligence into an ideological construct.”
I should add that to the great disappointment of those who still harbour the illusion that the Washington Post is a “liberal” newspaper. Here is how it ended a rambling editorial on the Bolton nomination, “So far, there is no compelling case for denying Mr Bush his choice.”
I think I will cancel my daily subscription and read the newspaper that chased Richard Nixon out of the White House on the Internet.
Khalid Hasan is Daily Times’ US-based correspondent. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org