Sunday, April 24, 2005

Encouraging Our Enemies?

This whole discussion of John Bolton is beginning to reveal an accepted mentality in the State Department that makes me wonder whether it might not be more in need of reform than even the United Nations.

The New York Times is reporting on the contents of declassified State Department email that are allegedly about John Bolton, though none of them were actually sent by John Bolton. I'm sure the Times believes these emails speak to the accusation that Bolton abuses his subordinates and co-workers, but I think they tell us something even more important about the state of the State Department itself. The first email mentioned in the article is a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about. Apparently, a State Department intelligence official, Mr. Westermann had his feelings hurt when Bolton's prinicipal assistant used the word "wimpy" to describe Westermann's approved language for a speech on Cuba.

Westermann's response would be comical if it weren't so pathetic. According to the Times, he wrote an email to his boss, Mr. Fingar, saying "personal attacks, harassment and impugning of my integrity" by Mr. Bolton and Mr. Fleitz were "now affecting my work, my health and dedication to public service." And Mr. Fingar, probably code-named "Mommy", responded with comforting encouragement for such hyper-sensitivity. "I am dismayed and disgusted that unwarranted personal attacks are affecting you in this way," was Mr. Fingar's reply to Westermann.

Do you remember the scene from the movie Braveheart where King Longshanks is trying to decide who he can send to negotiate a truce with William Wallace? He makes an interesting observation regarding his hopelessly effeminate son.

"Whom do I send? Not my gentle son. The mere sight of him would only encourage an enemy to take over the whole country." - Edward the Longshanks, Braveheart

Now let's take a look at a new report by Michael Hirsh for Newsweek relating an account of the State Department's handling of complaints by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

At a meeting in London in November 2003, his counterpart, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was complaining to Powell about John Bolton, according to a former Bush administration official who was there. Straw told the then Secretary of State that Bolton, Powell's under secretary for arms control, was making it impossible to reach allied agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Powell turned to an aide and said, "Get a different view on [the Iranian problem]. Bolton is being too tough."

Unbeknownst to Bolton, the aide then interviewed experts in Bolton's own Nonproliferation Bureau. The issue was resolved, the former official told NEWSWEEK, only after Powell adopted softer language recommended by these experts on how and when Iran might be referred to the U.N. Security Council. But the terrified State experts were "adamant that we not let Bolton know we had talked to them," the official said.

Newsweek's Michael Hirsh seems to think this illustrates Bolton's problem of taking an extreme and uncompromising line on issues and that he has bullied subordinates who disagree with him. I, on the other hand, think the various accounts of these incidents illustrate that we have far too many gentle sons in the State Department.

I'm all for consensus as long as it doesn't jeopardize the security of the United States. There is little benefit in a consensus to ignore Iran's continued deception surrounding their uranium enrichment program. Consensus is exactly how the U.N. Human Rights Commission crafts a resolution that fails to condemn the Sudanese government by name for atrocities committed in Darfur, but calls on all parties to immediately end all violence. Besides, even Michael Hirsh's favorite gentle son, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, demanded stronger language from EU and UN diplomats on numerous occasions, and rightfully so.

Can I go ahead an say it? This is laughable! In addition to our Senate Foreign Relations Committee embarrassing itself and demeaning the entire U.S. Senate on live television, we now have the New York Times and Newsweek parading our gentle sons before the entire world. It seems to me that Bolton's only sin at this point was being nominated by President Bush. I can only hope that the behavior of our Senate and State Department officials isn't encouraging too many of our enemies to take over the whole country. I am convinced now more than ever that John Bolton is exactly the right man, for exactly the right job, at exactly the right time.


Blogger Mike said...

It's a shame that instead of talking about Bolton's stance on the LOST treaty, the international criminal court, the War on Terror, the Oil for Food Scandal, and nuclear arms proliferation we are talking about how he handles his subordinates. It shows the weakness of the democrats argument. The Senate has already confirmed him four times in the past. Why is there a problem now? You hit it right on the head. Because President Bush nominated him.

11:33 AM  

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