And Don’t Let The Door Hit You In The Butt
Ohhh! I’m all a-twitter.
John R. Bolton has resigned/got his butt kicked by the old and new Senate. Spiegel Online (German) headlined its commentary with Bye Bye Cement Head (Betonkopf) . Most everyone else headlined it as well. Go read all about it.
Of course my faithful reader(s) will imagine me doing a rather uncoordinated happy dance at this news. And yes, for some odd reason, I wouldn’t hire a dog hater to run a puppy kennel and I don’t think Bolton was the appropriate man for the UN. The UN is diplomacy. It serves little other purpose. To put one of the least diplomatic individuals, one who is an outspoken critic of the UN, is not the most diplomatic moves Bush has made. (Wait, what appropriate diplomatic moves has Bush made?)
Anyway. What I find more interesting is the journalistic snark behind the headlines. Both in the WP and the NYT, we find hints that the administrations foreign policy facade is starting to crumble.
The Washington Post points to the situation like this,
Bolton became the second high-profile member of Bush’s foreign policy team, after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, to announce his departure after the Nov. 7 elections. Bush appeared aggravated at having to abandon Bolton, whose bare-knuckle diplomacy and skepticism of multilateralism made him a favorite of conservatives and a lightning rod for many in the Washington and international establishments.
“I’m not happy about it,” Bush said in a one-minute appearance with Bolton before cameras in the Oval Office. “I think he deserved to be confirmed. And the reason why I think he deserved to be confirmed is because I know he did a fabulous job for the country.”
Bolton’s departure leaves another hole in Bush’s foreign policy team at a time when the U.N. ambassador is heavily involved in diplomacy involving the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea and the ongoing crisis in Lebanon. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been without a deputy since July, when Robert B. Zoellick resigned, and her counselor, Philip D. Zelikow, announced last week that he will depart at the end of the year.
And the New York Times puts it this way,
Mr. Bolton’s resignation leaves President Bush with three holes in his national security team: at the United Nations; the State Department, where Ms. Rice’s deputy, Robert B. Zoellick, resigned in June; and at the office of the director of National Intelligence, where the job of deputy has been vacant since Michael V. Hayden was named C.I.A. director in May.
How Mr. Bush chooses to fill those jobs could indicate which direction the administration will tilt during its last two years, administration officials and United Nations diplomats said. Since the midterm elections, foreign policy realists have appeared to be ascendant at the expense of more ideological conservatives.
Of those said to be under consideration, Mr. Burns has expressed interest in the job, administration officials said, but he is also Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s most trusted deputy, and she may be unwilling to relinquish him. Administration officials said that an appointment of Mr. Burns, who served under President Clinton as well, might further alienate conservatives who are already unhappy about Mr. Bolton’s departure.
Rumsfeld, two of Rice’s top aids and now Bolton. Feith has long since been unfaithful and Wolfowitz is being sheepish over at the World Bank. That is the top news of the day. Why aren’t any of the rats remaining on board? (What? That’s in the rat job description? Oh. Got it.)
Everything I’ve read up to now points to the fact that
Bush Cheney had considered trying to bypass the Senate on this issue but he chose to back down. It was a good choice. I’m just starting the book ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ by James Surowiecki. If his idea holds, the Senate might just have something in not wanting Bolton. And not even a Republican Senate was in love with Mr. Bolton.
I’m just glad the reign of handlebar moustaches is over.
Mr. Bolton, don’t let the UN door hit you in the butt on your way out to a
well deserved retirement.
Update: In an interesting case of synchronicity, while I commented on the foreign policy facade failing, Shaun Mullen over at The Moderate Voice snarked about pretty much the same thing.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. This will be a major theme in the next couple of weeks. I can feel the pressure building already.