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  • U.S. Senate will hold hearing on Bolton UN nomination

    Nomination

    HEARING

    before the

    COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
    UNITED STATES SENATE
    ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
    SECOND SESSION

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Time: 9:30 AM
    Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
    Presiding: Senator Lugar

    Nominee:

    The Honorable John R. Bolton

    To be U.S. Representative to the United Nations with
    rank of Ambassador and U.S. Representative to the
    United Nations Security Council and U.S.
    Representative to Sessions of the United Nations
    General Assembly during his tenure of service as
    U.S. Representative to the United Nations

  • #2
    UNITED NATIONS, July 22 — In recent months, as one international crisis followed another, John R. Bolton has fulfilled the role of the United Nations’ most influential ambassador at full strength, firmly articulating the position of the United States government regarding Iran, North Korea and the Middle East.

    His performance won over at least one crucial critic, Senator George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio. Mr. Voinovich’s opposition a year ago forced Mr. Bolton to take the job as a presidential recess appointment, an arrangement that expires at the end of this Congress in January.

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing this Thursday on Mr. Bolton’s renomination, and a floor vote could come in September. “My observations are that while Bolton is not perfect, he has demonstrated his ability, especially in recent months, to work with others and follow the president’s lead by working multilaterally,” Mr. Voinovich said in a Washington Post opinion article on Thursday in which he confirmed that he would vote for Mr. Bolton.

    He said he was impressed by how Mr. Bolton, whom he had suspected of “go-it-alone” tendencies, frequently invoked “my instructions” from Washington.

    The Bush administration is not popular at the United Nations, where it is often perceived as disdainful of diplomacy, and its policies as heedless of the effects on others and single-minded in the willful assertion of American interests. By extension, then, many diplomats say they see Mr. Bolton as a stand-in for the arrogance of the administration itself.

    But diplomats focus particularly on an area with less evidence of instructions from Washington and more of Mr. Bolton’s personal touch, the mission that he has described as his priority: overhauling the institution’s discredited management. Envoys say he has in fact endangered that effort by alienating traditional allies. They say he combatively asserts American leadership, contests procedures at the mannerly, rules-bound United Nations and then shrugs off the organization when it does not follow his lead.

    Six ambassadors separately offered similar accounts of an incident in June that they said captured the situation. All were from nations in Europe, the Pacific and Latin America that consider themselves close allies of the United States, and they asked to speak anonymously in commenting on a fellow envoy.

    Mr. Bolton that day burst into a packed committee hall, produced a cordless microphone and began to lecture envoys from developing nations about their weakening of a proposal to tighten management of the United Nations, his chief goal.

    Gaveled to silence, he threw up his hands and said, “Well, so much for trying something different.”

    It was not merely rude, the ambassadors said. One recalled that moments later, his BlackBerry flashed a message from another envoy working on management change. “He just busted us apart,” it read.

    Three weeks later, on June 30, the 191-member General Assembly upended Mr. Bolton’s strategy to force change, lifting a six-month budget cap that he engineered without agreeing to significant management improvements. Dumisani Kumalo, the South African ambassador and the leader of the Group of 77, which represents 132 developing nations, said Mr. Bolton’s “putting on budget caps and being very contentious” had increased his group’s resistance.

    The envoys will not, of course, have any say about whether Mr. Bolton receives the full appointment to the United Nations. But their concerns over his methods extend to issues that the senators will undoubtedly have to weigh: his ability to build coalitions and reach consensus.

    Mr. Bolton, whose knowledge of the United Nations is deep from his past service as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, said he did not believe his manner was confrontational. “It’s not a question of personal style so much as it is a way of articulating a position that puts American interests in the best light,” he said. “And I think in some cases people are unfamiliar with that, but I don’t think that’s confrontational. I think that’s a matter of clarity.”

    In particular, he said, in the June episode, he had been simply trying to provoke honest debate.

    “I said to myself, maybe there’s a way to do something a little unusual here,” he said. “I know it didn’t work, but I think that’s part of what we have to do to shake things up here, to try to do something a little different, a little creative, to try to talk back and forth and engage in a colloquy as if we were on the floor of a parliament.”

    He has plenty of backers who remain convinced that only that kind of tough presence can alter the institution. Perhaps his strongest and longest standing supporter is Senator Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican who is a leading critic of the way the United Nations functions.

    “What John offers is what the U.S. needs at the U.N. today,” he said in an interview. “John is the right kind of change agent in a universe that is resistant to change. In order to get reform done, you’re going to have to push, you have to be assertive.”

    Sean McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said, “He has done an extraordinary job representing the U.S. during what has turned out to be an extraordinary time at the U.N., and Secretary Rice thinks he’s doing a terrific job.”

    But over the past month, more than 30 ambassadors consulted in the preparation of this article, all of whom share the United States’ goal of changing United Nations management practices, expressed misgivings over Mr. Bolton’s leadership.

    Representative Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on an international relations subcommittee that focuses on the United Nations, said that in a visit here last month he had encountered “frustration and resentment over the U.S. performance at the U.N.”

    And outside experts also expressed concerns.

    “I actually agree with Bolton on what has to be done at the U.N., but his confrontational tactics have been very dysfunctional for the U.S. purpose,” said Edward C. Luck, a professor of international affairs at Columbia who has followed the United Nations for three decades. “To be successful at the U.N., you have to build coalitions, and if you take unilateral action the way Bolton has, you’re isolated, and if you’re isolated, you can’t achieve much.”

    William H. Luers, president of the United Nations Association of the United States, an independent support group, said, “There clearly are occasions when you have to put your foot down, but if you put your foot down every day, it unravels any diplomatic assets you have.”

    Asked about the allied ambassadors’ broad criticisms, Mr. Bolton said, “What I object to as a matter of tactics is compromising with ourselves before we compromise with our opponents, and by compromising with ourselves, I mean compromising with our friends, too....”

    Comment


    • #3
      continued.....

      Mr. Bolton came to the United Nations on Aug. 2 last year after a bruising battle in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Democrats on the committee cited accusations that he bullied subordinates, shaped intelligence reports to reflect his policy views and tried to engineer the removal of a C.I.A. official who disagreed with him. They also noted scornful references he had made about the United Nations like his comment that 10 floors of the Secretariat building could be lopped off without being missed.

      He immediately stood out from the silken diplomatic crowd with a white shaving-brush mustache, the bouncy walk of a fighter entering the ring and a blunt sense of humor that can veer abruptly from lighthearted to cutting.

      In the months after his arrival, ambassadors said that despite his history of putdowns of the United Nations, they were impressed by his work ethic and knowledge of his brief and thought they could collaborate with him.

      Now the reaction is different. “My initial feeling was, let’s see if we can work with him, and I have done some things to push for consensus on issues that were not easy for my country,” said an ambassador with close ties to the Bush administration.

      “But all he gives us in return is, ‘It doesn’t matter, whatever you do is insufficient,’ ” he said. “He’s lost me as an ally now, and that’s what many other ambassadors who consider themselves friends of the U.S. are saying.”

      A European envoy said that Mr. Bolton was a difficult ally for his traditionally pro-American group because he often staked out unilateral hard-line positions in the news media or Congress and then proved unwilling to compromise in the give and take of negotiations.

      In the aftermath of a 170-to-4 vote last spring on creating a Human Rights Council, which the United States opposed, Peter Maurer, the ambassador of Switzerland, characterized the American approach as “intransigent and maximalist.”

      “All too often,” he said, “high ambitions are cover-ups for less noble aims, and oriented not at improving the United Nations, but at belittling and weakening it.”

      Mr. Bolton’s habit of avoiding any favorable mention of the United Nations while seizing many opportunities to disparage it is so well established that Senator Paul S. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat, observed to him in a May hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee, “The role of constant scold I’m not sure is the best way to induce change.”

      An envoy of a country close to the United States complained that Mr. Bolton often stayed away from meetings, leaving ambassadors in the dark about American positions, then produced 11th-hour amendments and demands for reopening points that had been painfully muscled into consensus.

      “We are all like cooks, and the U.S. is sitting on the sidewalk and when we have this platter cooked, the U.S. comes in and says it was the wrong dish, you were cooking chicken and we wanted meat,” said an envoy from a country close to the United States.

      On June 30, Mr. Bolton stunned a group of allied ambassadors. As they waited in the office of Jan Eliasson, the president of the General Assembly, to approve a plan to review thousands of outdated and redundant directives, word arrived that Mr. Bolton had cut a side deal to postpone the effort. And he had done so with the three countries viewed as the proposal’s most vocal opponents, Egypt, India and South Africa.

      Mr. Bolton explained the incident by saying, “What I was trying to do was sit down with people whose positions diverge the most with the United States and, rather than work through indirection, negotiate directly.”

      But an envoy from a country that always votes with the United States said: “That came as very shocking and disappointing to us. We usually work very closely with him, but sometimes, I guess, you get surprised.”

      Bolton’s ways foil goals, envoys say

      Comment


      • #4
        It's hard to imagine something more cynical than the White House exploiting Middle East convulsions - in which many innocents on all sides are dying in real time - to divide Americans at home in order to try and squeeze through the Senate confirmation of the pugnacious radicalizer and international de-stabilizer, John Bolton.

        Today, several reports have come to The Washington Note that Jay Zeidman, the influential 24-year old White House liaison to the Jewish community, is putting out the call to prominent American Jewish organizations to support John Bolton - with the arm-twisting innuendo that in this time of crisis in the Middle East, American Jews need to line up behind the guy Jesse Helms said "is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in this world."

        That's exactly the kind of unstable world that Bolton seems constantly trying to stir up.

        Zeidman has sent the word out to numerous Jewish organizations asking "What can the White House expect in terms of supporting John Bolton?"

        Why would Israelis here or abroad want someone whose best skill seems to be antagonism and fiery, flamboyant stridency that rarely achieves a positive outcome. One would think that Israel and members of the American Jewish community would want someone helping to steward their concerns in the UN who was actually good at achieving stabilizing results that can stand the test of time.

        Bolton blows things up. And we've had enough of that in the Middle East.

        Zeidman is the son of prominent Greenberg Traurig attorney Fred S. Zeidman who is actively involved in leading Republican Jewish activities in Texas and is Vice Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

        A bio of Fred Zeidman reports these affiliations:

        Mr. Zeidman is very active in community and political affairs in Texas and nationwide. He holds leadership positions in the Anti-Defamation League (Southwest Region), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Texas Inter-Faith Housing Corp., and the Houston Jewish Community Foundation. He is also Texas Chairman of the State of Israel Bonds and a member of the Board of Development Corporation of Israel.

        He formerly served as co-chairman of the finance committee of the Republican Party of Harris County, Texas, and formerly served on the finance committee of the Republican Party of Texas, and is a Ranger for the Bush Campaign. Mr. Zeidman previously served as Vice Chairman, Board of Regents at Texas Southern University. In addition, Mr. Zeidman was vice-chairman of the Dole/Kemp presidential campaign in Harris County and has been a key Jewish advisor to Republican congressional and senatorial delegations nationwide. Fred Zeidman graduated Washington University and received an MBA from New York University.


        The Bolton battle will be messy. It is clear that the dynamics of a new Bolton battle are different than March-September 2005, but still - it will be messy. It is outrageous that the White House would yet again exploit RELIGIOUS IDENTITY and the worsening Middle East crisis just before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has gone to the Middle East to hopefully broker a diplomatic effort.

        Shame on the White House - again.

        White House calls on Jewish groups to line up behind John Bolton

        Comment


        • #5
          Well now... looks like the ballgame just altered a bit, huh?

          Let's hope the Dems acquire some testicular fortitude and stand their ground against this bullying demagogue.



          V

          Comment


          • #6
            Battle over Bolton could be decided by Jewish support

            Comment


            • #7
              Charade - John Bolton's excruciating confirmation hearing

              Comment


              • #8
                Will Joe Lieberman Oppose John Bolton?

                Probably not - which is one reason (along with a load of other issues that mark him out as a DINO - Democrat In Name Only) why he's getting his butt kicked in the Connecticut Democratic Primary.



                V

                Comment


                • #9
                  All hands on deck to defeat John Bolton's re-nomination to the United Nations

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    WASHINGTON: A Senate committee scrubbed its planned vote Thursday on keeping John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, as a key Republican remained undecided on the nomination by President George W. Bush.

                    Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, the only Republican who has not publicly committed to supporting Bolton, sought more time, members of the Foreign Relations Committee said. Chafee, locked in a tough re-election bid, faces a Republican primary election Tuesday.

                    The committee chairman, Richard Lugar, did not say when the committee would meet on Bolton again.

                    Given Democratic opposition to Bolton's nomination, Republicans on the committee would have to send his name to the Senate with a full endorsement. A fierce opponent of Bolton, Senator Christopher Dodd, Democratic of Connecticut, said, "I think the nomination is in deep trouble again, as it should be."

                    Key Republican wins delay on Bolton vote

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sen. Lincoln Chafee has pulled the plug on a push by his fellow Republicans to confirm John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, saying he had more questions that needed to be answered.

                      The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was expected to vote along party lines during a committee meeting Thursday to approve Bolton. But the panel postponed the vote after Chafee, R-R.I., expressed doubt.

                      "Sen. Chafee said he still had questions that were not answered,'' said the senator's spokesman, Stephen Hourahan.

                      Chafee was expected to send a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later in the day outlining his questions about Bolton, Hourahan said.

                      The delay might be brief. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "I would expect probably early next week they will have an opportunity to take it up again.''

                      The United Nations is grappling with several critical issues and "we are very hopeful that John will get an up or down vote in the Senate and we would urge everybody to vote in a positive way on John's nomination,'' McCormack said.

                      During the hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., gave no reason for the delay and did not say when the vote would be held. Bolton had been opposed by many Democrats but was expected to be confirmed by the Republican-led panel.

                      Lugar said he removed the nomination from the agenda of Thursday's committee meeting after conferring with several senators.

                      Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the panel, said he did not know what the delayed vote means for Bolton, or whether Democrats would push for a filibuster. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said he plans to recommend his colleagues filibuster the floor vote on Bolton to keep him from being confirmed.

                      Democrats have questioned Bolton's brusque style and whether he could be an effective bureaucrat who could force reform at the U.N.

                      Biden did say Democrats would not push for a committee vote any time soon. "I feel zero urgency with Mr. Bolton,'' said Biden, D-Del.

                      Bolton's approval by the committee would have paved the way for a confirmation vote on the Senate floor, which Republicans have wanted for more than a year. Bush temporarily installed Bolton as U.N. ambassador on Aug. 1 of last year while Congress was in recess, an appointment that will expire in January. The recess appointment, provided for by the Constitution, came after Democrats blocked repeated attempts by GOP leaders to grant Bolton Senate confirmation.

                      The panel's meeting comes as the United Nations is playing pivotal roles in trying to resolve confrontations with North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programs, and in keeping peace in the Middle East.

                      Except for Chafee, Republicans on the committee have promised to support Bolton.

                      Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said Wednesday he had a "direct conversation'' with Bolton earlier in the week. When asked whether he thinks Bolton is the right man for the job, Hagel would only say: ``I'm going to vote for him.''

                      Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, who last year sided with Democrats in opposing the president's nomination, has said he had been won over by Bolton's hard work in recent months.

                      Senate committee postpones vote on Bolton nomination to U.N.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bully Bolton

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          WASHINGTON, Sep 11 (IPS) - What looked like a virtually sure thing just one month ago - Senate confirmation of the Bush administration's controversial ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton - is suddenly looking unexpectedly shaky.

                          Last week's eleventh-hour request by moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put off its vote on President George W. Bush's nomination of the outspoken - some say bullying - envoy pending clarification of the administration's current Middle East policies may have doomed Bolton's chances.

                          The committee, which is chaired by Sen. Richard Lugar, another moderate Republican whose support for Bolton has always been less than enthusiastic, has not scheduled a follow-up meeting, and time is rapidly running out. The Senate is expected to recess in advance of the November mid-term elections at the end of this month before returning for a likely brief "lame-duck" session before the end of the year.

                          "I think it is highly unlikely that the committee will take up the nomination after this, based on what I've been told by very senior sources there," according to Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Programme of the New America Foundation (NAF) think tank, who helped lead the successful effort to defeat Bolton's nomination when it was first submitted to the Senate at the beginning of Bush's first term.

                          "At the same time, we're hearing that the State Department does not yet consider it dead, so we have to remain vigilant," he told IPS Monday, adding, however, that he thought Chafee, who voted for Bolton in 2005, was poised to oppose him if indeed the Committee took it up before the recess.

                          The battle over Bolton takes on significance in the context of two larger struggles. The first is between the administration and Democrats, who have long argued that Bolton's contempt for the United Nations and sharp-tongued unilateralism serve only to isolate Washington at a time when its international image is at or near an all-time low.

                          The second is between administration and neo-conservative hard-liners led by Bolton's chief champion, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the State Department which, while nominally supportive of Bolton, has shown a lack of confidence in his negotiating skills. This is particularly so since his failure earlier this year to gain backing from key U.S. allies for reforms in U.N. management and the U.N. Human Rights Council that Washington had wanted.

                          Indeed, in an article based on interviews with U.N. ambassadors from more than 30 countries, most of them close allies of Washington, the New York Times reported in July that Bolton's diplomatic and personal style have alienated his fellow diplomats and isolated the U.S. at Turtle Bay.

                          As a result, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her top aide, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, have preferred to work directly through their counterparts in foreign capitals and at the U.N. on key issues that come before the Security Council, rather than entrusting delicate issues to Bolton, who has also irritated the State Department more than once by taking positions without clearing them with his superiors in advance.

                          Bolton, who, as the State Department's top arms-control official in Bush's first term also frequently ran afoul of Rice's predecessor, Colin Powell, was first nominated to the U.N. post in March 2005, after Rice rejected Cheney's request that he be made deputy secretary of state.

                          After a bruising confirmation battle during which Democrats and some of his former State Department colleagues accused him of a bullying management style, strong anti-U.N. bias, excessive secrecy and distorting intelligence to suit his ideological preferences, Bush gave him a "recess appointment". This is a rare procedural manoeuvre that enables presidents to appoint individuals to posts without their being confirmed by the Senate, rather than be defeated by a threatened Democratic filibuster.

                          Unlike a Senate confirmation, which lasts a full presidential term, however, a recess appointment terminates at the end of a Congressional term. With the current Congress set to expire at year's end, Bolton will lose his post unless he is confirmed by the Senate or given another "recess appointment" for which, however, he could not be paid.

                          The White House decided to renew the fight for Bolton's confirmation in late July at the height of the war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, when the one Republican senator who had opposed his nomination last year, Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, publicly reversed his position.

                          The decision was promptly hailed by prominent pro-Israel groups, such as the American Jewish Committee, and hard-line neo-conservatives, including Frank Gaffney, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and the presidents of the Hudson and the American Enterprise Institutes, who all expressed appreciation for his staunch opposition to proposed Security Council resolutions that were even mildly critical of Israel's conduct of the war.

                          Indeed, the White House appeared to be calculating that some Democratic senators, notably those with large Jewish constituencies in New York and Florida, would be less likely to oppose Bolton at a moment when Hezbollah was raining scores of missiles on Israeli territory each day.

                          But in the first confirmation hearing Jul. 27, Chafee, who faces a tough challenge by a right-wing Republican for his Senate seat Tuesday, grilled Bolton on his views about the Middle East, particularly his insistence that "terrorism" - rather than the failure to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians - was the root cause of U.S. challenges in the region.

                          When the committee next met to vote on the nomination last Thursday, Chafee reportedly warned Lugar that, if the vote went forward, he would join Democrats in opposing Bolton - thus ensuring that the nomination could not be referred to the Senate floor - pending further clarification by Rice of U.S. Middle East policy. Lugar adjourned the meeting and has not yet rescheduled a vote.

                          Most analysts believe it is unlikely that Chafee will vote to approve Bolton if Lugar, who reportedly prefers a less polarising nominee, schedules a vote.

                          "If (Chafee) wins (the primary election), it won't do him any good in the general election (in November) if he votes for Bolton," according to one close observer who noted that the tiny state is both liberal in its policy preferences and overwhelmingly Democratic. "If he loses, then he gets to vote his conscience, which would also be against Bolton."

                          If Bolton can't be approved by the committee, according to strategists, the White House will face a choice: to try to circumvent the committee by bringing the nomination directly to the Senate floor; to give Bolton a second recess appointment; or to let his term expire and nominate someone else early next year.

                          The first option, according to Clemons, would make it more likely that Democrats could mount a successful filibuster against the nomination. (With 55 senators, Republicans are five votes short of being able to end a filibuster by themselves.)

                          Because such a move would defy Senate rules and tradition, New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, who are now under strong pressure from pro-Israel groups, including the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, to support Bolton, would be less likely to break ranks, according to this view.

                          The second option, said Morton Halperin, Washington director of the Open Society Institute and another prominent Bolton critic, would be "very awkward." Not only could Bolton not be compensated by the government, but he may not even be able to use facilities at the U.S. Mission at the U.N., according to Halperin. "I find it hard to believe they would do that," he said.

                          Time runs out on Bolton nomination

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            President Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations appears increasingly endangered in the Senate, prompting the administration to explore other ways to keep him in the job after his temporary appointment expires in January, officials said yesterday.

                            The situation represents a sharp turnaround from two weeks ago, when the White House was confident it could finally push through Bolton's long-stalled nomination. But last week's surprise move by Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) to delay a vote convinced Republicans on Capitol Hill that the nomination may be doomed, prompting a search for alternatives.

                            Administration officials said they have not given up. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Chafee yesterday to kick off a lobbying campaign that will continue today when he returns to Washington after his hard-fought Republican primary victory in Rhode Island on Tuesday.

                            Bush and national Republicans pulled out the stops to help Chafee win the primary, and they expect a payback. But with Chafee now preparing to face a strong Democratic challenger in a Democratic state in November, many Republicans said he has less incentive to support a firebrand figure such as Bolton.

                            "It's dead as far as the Senate is concerned," said one Republican official at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Chafee holds the decisive vote. "Chafee made it a 9 to 9 vote, and that's not going to change." A Senate Republican leadership aide added: "Chafee holds Bolton's future in his hands, and people are very worried he's going to squeeze and never let go."

                            White House officials said that assessment is premature. "John Bolton's been a tireless advocate for the United States at the U.N.," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "We continue to be confident he'll get the up-or-down vote he deserves, and it remains our goal that the vote would happen before the recess."

                            Another failed nomination would be a stinging defeat for Bush, who defied Senate opposition last year and installed Bolton at the United Nations on an interim basis with a recess appointment. That appointment will end in January unless the Senate votes to confirm him before adjourning for the year.

                            The battle over Bolton has been a defining struggle that has put the Bush administration's often brash style of foreign policy to the test. Bolton, who served as undersecretary of state in Bush's first term, has been a lightning rod among diplomats, Democrats and some Republicans because of his outspoken, tough-minded approach to issues such as Iran, the Middle East and the United Nations itself.

                            But in the 13 months since he was sent to New York, Bolton has surprised some critics with a more consensus-building style than they expected. Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), who played a central role in blocking the nomination last year, reversed course this summer, declaring himself impressed by Bolton's performance - seemingly clearing the way to confirmation.

                            Chafee put a halt to that last week by saying he would not vote for Bolton until after the administration addresses questions on Middle East policy that he had sent in a letter to Rice. Taken aback, White House officials hoped that it was merely a tactic to put off a controversial vote until after the primary, while preparing contingencies in case it was not.

                            Even with a "no" vote from Chafee, the Foreign Relations Committee could send the nomination to the floor on a tie vote, but Republicans would probably face a Democratic filibuster.

                            Bush has the power to give Bolton a second recess appointment, but under the common interpretation of federal law, Bolton could not be paid. Even if Bolton were willing to serve as a volunteer ambassador, officials said, the move could run afoul of another federal law that bans full-time employees from working without compensation.

                            Another possible option might be an appointment as "acting" ambassador. When the confirmation of President Bill Clinton's nominee for civil rights chief at the Justice Department, Bill Lann Lee, was blocked, Clinton appointed him deputy assistant attorney general, a posting that does not require Senate approval, and then had Lee fill in as "acting assistant attorney general." Lee spent 2 1/2 years in the post that way, although current law limits acting tenures to 210 days.

                            Such a move could anger a Senate that zealously guards its prerogatives.

                            "I don't think John Bolton has too many options but to go home," said Paul C. Light, a governance scholar at the Brookings Institution. "At some point, he has to decide whether he has to go."

                            Chafee's office said he has not decided how to vote. But an adviser outlined the difficult choice: "Politically it's a no-win for the senator. He votes against it, and he hurts the Republicans who just helped him in a primary in a very, very tight race. . . . And he votes for it, he hurts himself with the Democrats that he needs in November."

                            White House seeks a way to keep Bolton at the U.N.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              WASHINGTON: John Bolton's troubled tenure as US ambassador to the UN is "going nowhere", a key Democratic senator said yesterday after the Democrats' election victory.

                              Mr Bolton, the controversial former undersecretary of state in charge of non-proliferation, was nominated by George W. Bush to be UN envoy in March 2005.

                              After his confirmation was blocked in the Republican-led Senate, Mr Bush made a recess appointment, which will last until the new Congress convenes in January. But Democrats are unlikely to vote to extend Mr Bolton's tenure.

                              Democrat Joseph Biden of Delaware is expected to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I never saw a real enthusiasm (for Bolton's nomination) on the Republican side to begin with. There's none on our side. And I think John Bolton's going nowhere," he said.

                              Before the poll, there was talk of Mr Bush re-submitting Mr Bolton's nomination. Another possibility was having Mr Bush appoint Mr Bolton to another US government job so he could still be paid but assigning him to work at the UN.

                              Bolton a shot duck at UN

                              Comment

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