Editorials Assess Bush’s Recess Appointment of John Bolton

By: E&P Staff

Many newspapers weighed in today with editorial comment on President George W. Bush’s belated appointment (circumventing the U.S. Senate) of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. Here is a sample:

Centre Daily Times (State College, Pa.): ?There’s something sadly fitting about President Bush naming John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations through a tactic known as a ‘recess’ appointment. Bolton, after all, is the diplomatic world’s equivalent of a playground bully.?

Chicago Tribune: ?The question is who will be embarrassed — those who support Bolton or those who loathe him. … If Bolton behaves like the bullying hothead his critics say he is, he will alienate the diplomats of other nations and signal to the world that the Bush administration doesn’t care a whit if the UN headquarters campus flops into New York’s East River. A Bolton meltdown would embarrass the president who defied and skirted Congress to ramrod him into the job. …If Bolton emerges as a force for a more accountable and ambitious UN, it is his critics who’ll have to eat the crow.?

USA Today: ?With the matter settled, we can agree on this much: It’s unfortunate that Bush could not find a nominee who excels as both a diplomat and reformer. John Negroponte, who held the post in Bush’s first term, filled that bill. Bolton is further weakened in that both the U.N. bureaucracy and its members recognize that he lacks the broad support that Senate confirmation would have provided, a vulnerability as the U.N. wrestles with the oil-for-food scandal, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “On the long list of questionable appointments President Bush has made during his tenure, [Mr. Bolton] may be the worst of all.”

San Jose Mercury-News: “Bush’s choice of ambassador is one indicator of how much interest he has in working within international organizations. Not overly much, is the message. If Bolton must be the ambassador — and Bush will have it no other way — then the manner of his acquiring the job is fitting.”

The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.): “Good for President Bush for circumventing the U.S. Senate…That not only gets around obstructionist Democrats and ‘moderate’ (let’s compromise with the people who hate us and won’t change their minds no matter what) Republicans. It also sends a signal, we hope, that the administration won’t put up with filibustering nonsense when it comes time to replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist?. The (unintentionally) funniest comment came from Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd, who said Bolton was ‘damaged goods.’ That’s like shooting someone and declaring him wounded.”

The New York Times: “If there’s a positive side to President Bush’s appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it’s that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department, and it’s hard not to think that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s generally positive performance in office is due, in part, to her canniness in dispatching Mr. Bolton out of Washington.

“But the appointment is, of course, terrible news for the United Nations.”

Boston Herald : “Bolton, who helped engineer the repeal of the UN resolution that equated Zionism with racism, knows well how that world body can and should work — not as a toothless debating society, but as a force for good and for security in the world. Perhaps Bolton’s brand of tough love can help restore the United Nations to something resembling relevancy on the world stage.”

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