Monday, August 01, 2005

Bolton Appointed to UN Post

After much contentious debate within the Senate, President Bush has decided to use his recess appointment for granting John Bolton the post of US Ambassador to the UN (Bolton - US Ambassor Or Ass?). Bush had this to say about the appointment:
The United States Senate held thorough confirmation hearings, and a majority of United States senators agree that he is the right man for the job. Yet because of partisan delaying tactics by a handful of senators, John was unfairly denied the up-or-down vote that he deserves.

As a result, America has now gone more than six months without a permanent ambassador to the United Nations. This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about U.N. reform.

So today, I've used my constitutional authority to appoint John Bolton to serve as America's ambassador to the United Nations.
Despite the dramatic emergency the President has tried to veil over this appointment, the decision is just another in the long line of the Bush Administration's power stratagem. The move comes as no surprise to most political pundits, nor does this president's incessant use of recess appointments. If one cannot garner the consensus of the Senate, direct appointment through loopholes in the constitution seems a more viable option than compromise. As Fred Kaplan pointed out back in April, the US Senate, even with a Republican majority, seemed unlikely to approve the nomination without much contention:
The most telling thing about today's hearing may be that Bolton displayed not the slightest bit of energy, one way or the other, when discussing the challenges facing international organizations. President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice have said several times, since the second term began, that the United Nations will be a forum where some of the day's central challenges - Iranian nukes, Lebanese independence, an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord - may be played out.

Apart from all the other doubts about Bolton's suitability, does the U.S. Senate really want a U.N. ambassador who seems, at bottom, so uninterested in what goes on there?
So now the US has an ambassador at the UN (until 2006) who believes in foreign policies funded by bad intelligence, who dislikes multilateralism and genocide prevention, and who vehemently hates the institution of the United Nations. On top of that, the consent of the US Senate was circumvented and dilutes the effect such an ambassador will have on the international stage.

And as time will tell, that might be the only good news. Let us all hope the UN will hold strong despite its more contentious members and embrace reform, and escape a US transformation or dissolution.


At 1:00 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Rick said...

How about the previous President's "incessant use of recess appointments" (in fact, more that the current White House occupant)? How long do YOU think the filibuster should have been sustained for such an important post before a recess appointment? If the Senate refused to confirm John Roberts for the entire next Supreme Court term, would THAT be a long enough delay?


At 9:15 PM GMT-5, Blogger the prisoner said...

There have been many presidents who have misused the concept of recess appointment, including Washington and Jefferson himself. Makes it as wrong as the Democratic over-use of the filibuster. No single party can escape blame on this.

But my personal feelings aside on Bolton, the fact that a president had to recess appoint an ambassador presents a clear message to the world community: "This guy is not a consensus representative."

An ambassador of all types of posts should be able to garner support from both sides or how the hell is he going to garner support for the US in an America-hating world? Due to Bush's slipping approval rating and congress' abysmal rating as well, all actions are under much public scrutiny. I really don't know what is so special about Bolton that Bush felt it was worthwhile to spend his "political capital" on him. He should have waited on something more important, like Roberts or something.


At 5:56 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Rick said...

You never answered my questions:

1) How long do YOU think the filibuster should have been sustained for such an important post before a recess appointment?

2) If the Senate refused to confirm John Roberts for the entire next Supreme Court term, would THAT be a long enough delay?

As for your opinion that a recess-appointed ambassador presents a clear message to the world community, I agree, just a different message: "This guy has the President's ear and is someone Bush went to the mat for, rather than some weak, consensus representative, who is shut out of the White House." Maybe I'm just more of a glass-half-full kind of guy.


At 9:26 AM GMT-5, Blogger the prisoner said...

First of all, the Roberts nomination is smooth sailing from the standpoint of moderates in both parties. But extremist on the Left will press him on the Planned Parenthood involvement and his posts in previous Republican administrations. And according to the San Francisco Chronicle today, extremists on the Right will be upset with his support of gay-right activists in the 1996 Supreme Court Case.

But extremists have limited agendas and tend to avoid looking at the big picture. So this is not at all surprising.

As for recess appointments, the intention in the Constitution is when the vacacancy occurs during congregational recess, not before. Though as often as recesses have occurred under Republican rule, it is sure is more likely than it ever was. Hell, the Senate is only meeting for 121 days this session! Let's not even get into the "absentee" presidency which has amassed more vacation time than any previous administration!

The length of delay in getting Senate approval should indicate to Bush that either he should let up a little on his executive privilege for certain documents or should have chosen someone qualified for the job in question, not just one of his buddies. Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton are good examples of this.

Roberts is a surprising depaush could have nominated.rture from extremism and actually is one of the most moderate choices Bush could have chosen.


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