Column: Self-inflicted alienation

By Todd Swiss

In a time when the United States is wildly unpopular in the world, George Bush and the White House decided to make an unpopular political appointment that even the Senate does not agree with. Members of both the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have expressed grave concern over the nomination of John Bolton as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. However, our president decided that the Senate was taking much too long to fully decide whether Bolton was an acceptable candidate and misused his executive powers to appoint the wrong person for the job.

John Bolton is the absolute worst person to be appointed as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton was taped making many pig-headed and offensive statements about the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. At one specific hearing, Bolton claimed that there is no United Nations and the only purpose of the institution was to do what benefits the United States. He went on to say that if the United Nations building in New York would lose 10 of its 38 floors, it would not matter. Bolton is also known to use intimidating tactics to further his own interests. I find it very hard to believe that Bush could not appoint someone who is more open to the idea of international law and cooperation.

Beyond Bolton being a terrible choice for the United Nations, the way that Bush and other Bolton-supporters have handled the confirmation process is absolutely appalling. Many senators believe that Bolton is not the right choice for the position and they chose to filibuster, a legal and often-used strategy to delay and disrupt the confirmation process. Republicans said that using such tactics were not fair and some even said that filibusters should be illegal. However, if the same Republican senators were the minority in the Senate, they would have the right to filibuster against laws and nominations that the president or the majority support. In addition, they cried out in the media, attempting to get pity from the American public like a toddler that does not get its way.

Bush’s decision to forego the important system of checks and balances shows how Bush feels about government and presidential power. Bush does not respect the democracy that he so often talks about in his “patriotic” speeches. He tells other nations that they need democracy to be respectful to their citizens. However, when the struggle of democracy happens to not go his way, he finds a loophole in our law and uses power that he should not have. The White House even refused to release documents that were relevant to the nomination process. Nothing makes someone look more guilty than refusing to cooperate with another branch of your own government. I thought we were all on the same side, but I guess the White House does not see it that way.

Bush stated that, “This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about U.N. reform.” Bush appointed a man who says that there is no United Nations to that same institution to help reform the international ruling body. If it was up to Bolton, he would gladly make the United Nations much less important in regulating what the United States do. Furthermore, a man who is so staunchly anti-United Nations will surely not care what other nations say about our war in Iraq. While Bush has never made an explicit statement about how he feels about the United Nations, his actions speak louder than any words he has ever uttered. He wants absolutely nothing to do with it.

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Todd Swiss is a senior in LAS. His column appears on Tuesdays. He can be reached at [email protected].