Bolton Blasts U.N.
Former U.S./U.N. ambassador John Bolton returned to U.N. headquarters in NYC on Friday to launch his new book "Surrender Is Not An Option" The controversial U.S. diplomat quit his U.N. post in November 2006 when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stalled a vote on his nomination. For the preceding 18 mos. Bolton served as UN ambassador under a temporary Congressional recess appointment that was to expire on January 1, 2007. With a Democratic Congress taking office and a rejected nomination likely, Bolton asked President Bush to withdraw his name rather than face an embarrassing defeat on the Senate floor. Now free from his White House shackles, Bolton pulled no punches as he lectured reporters. When asked about the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (the U.N. atomic watchdog) , Mohamed ElBaradei, who has been actively trying to head off U.S. moves to impose new sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its atomic "research" program Bolton said: "He is an apologist for Iran. His actions have been contrary to Security Council resolutions. He may not think he is a secular Pope, but he thinks he is a secular cardinal who is over and above the member governments. This is a fundamental perversion of the way the IAEA ought to work. I think he is discrediting the IAEA and harming a very important UN agency."On the potential of U.S. military strike on Iran: "I always used to say when the President said it was unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons that he was a man of his word. When he said unacceptable, I thought what he meant was unacceptable. What that means is that you have to use military force if there is no other option." The veteran political operative who grew famous for leading Republican forces in the 2000 Florida presidential vote recount, spoke to an audience mixed with press, U.N. staffers and a sprinkling of diplomats eager to hear his take on U.N. issues and Washington machinations. He explained that his book was an "effort to describe what happens behind the scenes at the United Nations and the U.S. State Dept. To try and tell the story about how policy is developed on some critical issues," but Bolton insisted that the book is not a "kiss and tell." While the book has drawn mixed reviews inside the U.N., (the U.N. book store refuses to carry it), outside the world body, critiques seem to fall along partisan lines, republicans generally like it, democrats have called it a "waste of time." Bolton confessed that on many issues he really does not have a current pipeline into the White House, but he did not shy away from commenting on several key issues confronting the Bush administration. On turmoil in Pakistan: "I think that the United States has contributed to some of the instability by implying less than robust support of (President) Musharraf, not because we think he is a Jeffersonian democrat, but because of the strategic interest of insuring that the nuclear weapons don't get out of control." On Israel's recent strike on a suspected secret Syrian nuclear facility: "This was some kind of Syrian-North Korean joint venture in the nuclear field....So, it would not surprise me that to avoid inspection at Yongbyon (North Korea) they decided to recreate (a clone) near the Euphrates River (in Syria)....So, I could even see this as a three-way joint venture with Iran, North Korea and Syria." Bolton chastised the White House for maintaining a "gag" order on any comments pertaining to the Israeli strike: " The administration, I think, has made a real mistake in not allowing more facts to come out. Because, I think it is undercutting its own argument about North Korea's commitment to giving up its nuclear weapons program." Neither the office of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, nor the State Department would offer any reaction to the Bolton comments though several officials from the US/UN mission did accompany the former ambassador during his United Nations visit.