Friday, September 15, 2006

# Posted 12:05 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

A LOVE SONG FOR BOLTON: The cover story in this week's Standard is about the conversion of John Bolton's staunchest critic into one of his strongest supporters. As Fred Barnes tells it, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) had no political stake in opposing Bolton's nomination in the first place. Voinovich really just thought that Bolton was the reckless unilateralist that critics made him out to be.

But now Voinovich has decided that Bolton's conduct as interim UN Ambassador demonstrates that he deserves a permanent appointment. Once again, Voinovich has no apparent ulterior motive for his change of heart. He's not up for re-election, he's popular with his constiuents and on good terms with the President.

So what do you think about Bolton? I haven't kept up with him at all since the original nomination fight, although I know that TPM has a blog dedicated to watching Bolton. Appropriately, it is called Bolton Watch.

A recent post on Bolton Watch criticizes Barnes' story but doesn't seem to contradict his account of Voinovich's motives. Another post says that Bolton's nomination is dead in the water anyhow because of Lincoln Chafee's objections.

So what does Chafee have against Bolton? I'm not exactly sure. Steve Clemons says that Chafee's stand is purely a matter of principle. But I'm not exactly sure what principle. Chafee says he is dissatsifed with the administration's lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but I'm not sure why Bolton is to blame for that. (An argument, after all, could be made for Hamas.)

Anyhow, there's quite a bit of interesting material on Bolton Watch, but the site is so viscerally anti-Bolton that it's hard for someone who hasn't already made up his mind (like me) to assess the site's credibility. If you know of any good, balanced accounts of Bolton's work, please post the links below.
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Hey David. For a pretty good primer on why many don't see him as, ehem, ideal diplomatic material, check out this quite remarkable document that has his 700+ last minute track change edits to the joint memorandum of the heads of state meeting last sept. some highlights:

p.1: CUT: "respect for nature"

p. 3: CUT: "corporate responsibility and accountability"

p. 3: CUT: "and urge all states that have not done so to sign, ratify and implement the United Nations Convention Against Corruption"

p.11: CHANGE: "promoting equal opportunity for participation and representation of men and women to participate in government decision making bodies…"

p.23: CUT: "We emphasize the responsibilities of all states, in conformity with the charter to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinctions of any kind, such as to race, colour, sex, language, or religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

p. 28: CUT: "We support reform of the Security Council to make it more efficient, transparent and effective."

there are hundreds more...
I'm still waiting for the love song for Belton.
'there are hundreds more....'
Most of which are along the lines of
p.5:CUT:'gross national product'

Your p.11 change was to replace the phrase you cite with "promoting equal opportunity for men and women to participate in government decision making bodies", which is hardly the impression your hackish excerpt tries to make.

Likewise the page p.23 was not cut, it was edited to become "We emphasize the responsibilities of all states, in conformity with the charter to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."

Did you bother to read the document, or are you quoting HuffPo highlights? I would think better of you if you were transcribing someone else's deceptive efforts rather than trying to distort the record yourself.

Even if the point you were trying to make was true, what bearing does that have on Bolton's fitness to be UN Ambassador? I think a better question is how a Senator could be so ill-informed that Bolton's conduct as an interim appointee comes as a surprise; I don't think Bolton's supporters or detractors call him that.
wow. talk about disingenuous. are you kidding me bgates? have you actually read what was deleted from this doc? have you considered the relevance of the phrases that were cut? Like Bolton or not, his edits to this significant UN document were dramatic, substantial and as I said, highly undiplomatic - the point of my brief comment. I think I will simply leave it to other oxblog readers decide by looking over the memorandum on their own.
Let's take the first edit, which altered
"We recognize the valuable role of all the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social, and related fields"
"We recognize the valuable role of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social, and related fields"
I'll guess that the point of this edit was to deny the value of certain UN conferences. Guessing further I'd imagine the Durban Conference would be the sort of thing Bolton had in mind here. Taylor, do you recognize the valuable role of equating Zionism with racism? Can you propose some other, more sinister (and equally plausible) meaning for that change?

Also, the document lists the edits as occurring between Aug 9 and Aug 11, in advance of the meeting beginning Sept 16. I am ignorant of how these matters work, so I ask without sarcasm whether changes to a document 35 days before it is to be made public can be fairly characterized as 'last minute'.
I'll also note that in the final version (which Taylor, who has described it as a 'significant document' has surely read), some of Bolton's edits were made, some were not, and some text he wanted to leave alone has been altered. Was Bolton diplomatic when he accepted the changes evidently desired by others but not when he proposed his own?
OK, per taylor's suggestion, another oxblog reader here. As the cliche goes, if this was a fight, they'd stop it. Bgates on a TKO; sorry, taylor, you just got pwned. Pathetic.
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