This offers an opportunity for Bolton defenders to try to get the debate back where it belongs, on the substantive merits of his nomination rather than the sideshow disputes over whether he has occasionally spoken sharply to people and the 11-year-old off-the-wall allegation of abuse by the founder of the Dallas chapter of ?Mothers Opposing Bush.? Bolton has been nominated not to ?serve? the United Nations, as liberals have it, but to serve the president of the United States and the goals of his foreign policy there. He is such a superb choice partly because there is as little chance of him being captured by the U.N. bureaucracy as there was of him being captured by the State Department bureaucracy. We would expect and hope that at the end of Bolton's tenure at the U.N. he will have earned just as much enmity from recalcitrant bureaucrats at Turtle Bay as he did at Foggy Bottom.
This was at the root of Bolton's dispute with Powell. Since he has no strong philosophical moorings himself, Powell quickly became the servant of the permanent State Department establishment, for whom Bush's post-9/11 reorienting of U.S. foreign policy was discomfiting at best. Bolton was not just a believer in Bush's foreign policy, but regarded it as his professional duty to represent it in a building where he knew it wouldn't make him popular. Yes, this occasionally meant clashes with bureaucratic underlings. This was sometimes necessary ? it is President Bush's appointees who are supposed to be setting the direction of the U.S. government, not bureaucrats with their own agendas. But it mostly meant that Bolton was routinely disagreeing with Powell and Armitage, who are now bent on exacting their revenge in a campaign marked by Powell's trademark underhanded style.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
So say the The Editors of National Review: