A Neo-Con Steps Down Bolton Resigns as US Ambassador to UN

John Bolton, the controversial United States Ambassador to the United Nations, said on Monday he would resign from his post. Bolton faced an incoming Democratic Congress that was unlikely to confirm his post.


US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is quitting before he gets fired.
REUTERS

US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is quitting before he gets fired.

Getting along well with others was probably not high on the list of qualities on the job description when President George W. Bush selected John Bolton as his ambassador to the United Nations. The outspoken career diplomat was known far more for provoking anger than assuaging it. That's why many were perplexed and enraged when Bush appointed Bolton to head the US mission to the UN, an institution Bolton openly loathed.

As far back as 1994, Bolton had waged a rhetorical war against the international institution. "If the UN secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference," he quipped. He later penned an article in the right-wing magazine Weekly Standard entitled "Kofi Annan's UN Power Grab."

After some 14 months on the job, the ambassador resigned on Monday -- a move Bush accepted "reluctantly." The truth, however, is that the resignation comes as a preemptive strike. Bolton's recess appointment ends soon and he faces an incoming Democrat-controlled Congress that promises little or no chance of approving his position at the UN. Bolton will step down this month.

The unconfirmed Ambassador

Bush appointed Ambassador Bolton in August 2005 while the Senate was in recess in order to circumvent Congressional confirmation. Under that process, the appointment stands until the next session of Congress, which is set to begin in early January. The White House resubmitted Bolton's nomination to Congress last month, but with Democrats taking over a majority of seats, his chances of winning confirmation appeared grim.

Democrats and some Republicans have blocked Bolton's formal appointment for the past year, citing concerns over the ambassador's past comments about the UN and his famously undiplomatic management style. The White House, though, has never stopped singing his praises.

"Ambassador Bolton served his country with great distinction, and he achieved a great deal at the United Nations," said Dana Perino, White House deputy press secretary. "He made reform at the UN a front and center issue."

Perino praised Bolton's work at the UN, saying he assembled coalitions to address North Korea's nuclear activity, Iran's uranium enrichment and the violence in Darfur.

But Bolton's desire to broker compromise and work together with other members of the United Nations was not always seen to be in the cooperative spirit of the UN. "There's no such thing as the United Nations," he once said, "There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interest and we can get others to go along."

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