For the first time in the sixty-year history of the United Nations, the United States has sent an unconfirmed ambassador to the United Nations. John Bolton's recess appointment demonstrates the President's contempt for Congress, particularly when you consider that Bolton had not been confirmed because the administration refused to provide information requested by the Senate.
The United Nations is made up of 191 nations, many of which are not democratic and whose interests run counter to our own. This is the nature of the beast. But in order to promote U.S. interests at the United Nations, the U.S. should have someone in the position who is willing to engage in the long process of diplomatic give and take -- not someone who has expressed his contempt for the United Nations, let alone diplomacy.
Making the UN work for the U.S. requires diplomacy more than anything, something that Bolton has shown he can't handle. The British, our closest ally, found Bolton so disruptive that they asked that he be removed from the Libya negotiations.
President Bush thinks he's got the right guy for the job -- that Bolton, through sheer brute force, will get results from bureaucracies.
The United Nations is renowned for its bureaucracy. But Bush's attitude demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the UN works. Diplomats are not stifled by the UN's bureaucracy. Rather, diplomacy often stifles the UN's bureaucrats. It is the great equalizer in a body with 191 different "leaders."
When it comes right down to it, Bolton's peers at the United Nations will not be as pliant to his bullying tactics as his charges at the State Department.
Maybe Mr. Bolton will soon learn an elementary schoolyard lesson: nobody likes a bully.