December 5, 2006

NY's Senators Stood Silent

"The line on Mr. Bolton from his critics was that he was too direct..." (see below).

Got that? Better to be passive-agressive, duplicitous, conniving and hypocritical, like our Senators from New York.

Shame on them and their enablers.

Editorial of The New York Sun  |  December 5, 2006

After Bolton

The Democratic majority hasn't even formally taken over on Capitol Hill, yet it already has a scalp to claim - that of the American ambassador at the United Nations, John Bolton. It is a sad moment. Mr. Bolton entered his ambassadorship a hero among many here for his role, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, in winning the repeal of the United Nations resolution equating Zionism with racism. Since he got here, he and his wife Gretchen have participated widely in the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners around town. As people gained a sense of how hard he worked in pursuit of America's interests, the affection this city holds for him has grown enormously.

There are many here who had hoped this sense would be conveyed to the Democrats who opposed Mr. Bolton by Senator Schumer, who was full of blandishments about the possibility of getting Mr. Bolton confirmed in the new Congress. Instead, the city is now full of people who've supported Mr. Schumer, financially and otherwise, who are left with disappointment. When it came time to speak up for the envoy with the clearest sense of how the world body has made the destruction of Israel its special mission and who was best equipped to stymie that mission, New York's senior senator stood publicly silent.

It was reminiscent of Mr. Schumer's failure to follow through on his 1998 campaign pledge to get the American embassy in Israel moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. And Mr. Schumer was not the only one who disappointed on Mr. Bolton. Senator Clinton was completely off the field. And the Republicans, who controlled the Senate for the past year, were unable to get Mr. Bolton confirmed, initially as a result of qualms by Senators Voinovich and Chafee. The line on Mr. Bolton from his critics was that he was too direct, which is quite something given the bluntness with which Daniel Patrick Moynihan rose to great fame at the United Nations or the saltiness with which the most famous recent Democratic ambassador at Turtle Bay, Madeleine Albright, was given to expressing herself.

America has had ample experience trying diplomatic niceness at Turtle Bay. Previous ambassadors such as Thomas Pickering, say, or General Walters were masters of the art. What it produced on their watches has been corruption, bias against Israel, and inaction and impotence when the United Nations was confronted with the crises of the time. Over the years, some of America's finest diplomats and most energetic intellectuals have represented our country at the United Nations, from Adlai Stevenson and Arthur Goldberg to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Richard Holbrooke. And the record will show that none of them made much headway except when they got blunt and abrasive, and few, if any, made more headway than Mr. Bolton.

Which is all the more remarkable given that he was serving a recess appointment. He was instrumental in keeping America out of the new Human Rights Council, which even the New York Times is acknowledging is an international embarrassment worse than the one it replaced. He pressed the case for accountability and controls, working well with Christopher Burnham. One had the feeling that Mr. Bolton got up earlier, worked harder on the minutiae of the matters under discussion, and prospered by knowing the system better than his adversaries, which is no doubt why the United Nations apologists went to such extremes to oppose him, with Secretary General Annan's deputy, Mark Malloch Brown, entering the American domestic political fray in the effort to block Mr. Bolton's confirmation.

There will be now a scramble to fill Mr. Bolton's shoes. Among those touted as potential successors are George Mitchell, a Democrat who was a failure as a Middle East peacemaker; Senator DeWine, who doesn't have much of a foreign policy reputation and who failed to win re-election in Ohio; and Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador in Baghdad who has skillfully deflected onto President Bush the blame for what has gone wrong in Iraq. Our own instinct is that at this point a good confirmation fight would be worth more than the confirmation of any one of the above.

Mr. Bush could get this kind of illuminating fight with the nomination of, say, Claudia Rosett, the brilliant journalist who pursued so doggedly the oil-for-food scandal. Senator Coleman and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are other inspired partisans who come to mind. But there will be plenty to choose from. To the extent the United Nations is useful at all, it is as a megaphone for explaining American policy to the world. Sending anyone to Turtle Bay with hopes of doing anything other than delivering the American message, trying to catch crooks misusing taxpayer dollars, and blowing the whistle on the anti- Israel bias would be naïve. The best move the president would make is to react to the defeat of Mr. Bolton by moving now to hold back as much money as he can of the $5 billion a year America spends on the United Nations. It's the least he could do if he can't get his most trusted choice as envoy to look out for how our money is spent.

Original article here.


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