For two weeks, however, the former have hoped to pick off one or more of the latter by subjecting Mr. Bolton to a series of allegations and charges that call into question his judgment, integrity and conduct. As the votes on the Bolton nomination are cast, Senators should bear in mind the following:
O John Bolton is eminently qualified. He has worked for years ? including in the first Bush Administration and throughout the current presidency, as well as during the years between ? on matters directly relevant to his future assignment. Even his critics acknowledge that Secretary Bolton is deeply knowledgeable about the organization and reform of the United Nations, coalition-building diplomacy and some of the most pressing problems confronting this country and the UN ? notably, state-sponsorship of terror and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
O Secretary Bolton?s intimate understanding of these subjects has caused him to have strong views about them. On occasion, he has expressed those views forcefully and with a measure of rhetorical hyperbole. While some have seized upon his choice of words to disqualify Mr. Bolton, he is indisputably correct in arguing that the UN has rarely been united in the way and for the purposes its founders envisioned. He is also correct in noting that the international community has generally proven most effective in dealing with international crises when led by the United States. It would serve U.S. interests well to have the man charged with shaping efforts to reform and revitalize the United Nations guided by these insights.
O John Bolton has been a steady and effective advocate for President Bush?s policies inside often-hostile bureaucracies. That should hardly be a disqualifier for his promotion given that, in our government, agencies like the State Department are supposed to be part of an executive branch led by the President.
There is no getting around it, though: In the course of advancing Mr. Bush?s agenda inside a State Department often overtly hostile to this administration?s security policies, Mr. Bolton has made many enemies. A few have come forward publicly; others have talked to the press only on an off-the-record basis.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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