When does a political thug become a diplomat? When he’s John Bolton and the president is George Bush.
Many thanks to Molly Ivins for writing an incisive piece on the dark, absurd humor of this appointment. Here’s what Ivins quotes Bolton saying about the UN:
"There is no United Nations. … When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow. When it suits our interests to do so, we will do so. When it does not suit our interests, we will not."
Bolton’s the same guy who accused Cuba of running a germ warfare program and Syria of developing weapons of mass destruction–claims which were never proven and probably not even believed by anyone. I don’t even think Bolton believed them. But there is a certain class of arrogant right wing political thug who believes like Alice in Wonderland that a thing means what I say it means. Don’t bother about truth. Bolton, contemptuous of those he hates and of the truth, figured he’d make his point by rattling his saber and moving on to the next outrageous overstatement. He knew in the Bush Administration he’d probably be given a medal for it. So there would be no price to pay.
Now he gets to harrumph on a world stage. Remember all that happy talk that Bush spouted in Europe about a new age of international cooperation, putting the past behind us, etc. Well, this appointment really tells it like it is for Bush. He wants the UN to know that he detests it and plans to keep its feet to the fire in every way he can.
All this being said, today’s news about the U.S. coming around to the European point of view on negotiations with Iran is a somewhat hopeful sign that Bush is not totally divorced from reality. You can be sure that John Bolton was not one of the Bush advisors who lobbied for this position. In fact, Ivins points out that Bolton makes Iran and North Korea apoplectic (not hard to imagine why). And you can be sure that Bolton in his new job will do everything he can to embarrass, intimidate and humiliate Iran and its leaders regardless of Bush’s professed moderation of Iran policy.