Sen. George Voinovich’s (R.-Ohio) idiotic reasoning that he will now support John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations gives Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) a perfect opening to bring up Bolton’s nomination for a confirmation vote.
When President Bush gave Bolton a recess appointment last August, Bolton was coming off a bruising fight in the Senate. Voinovich had surprised Republican colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee by announcing his reluctance to support Bolton, handing Democrats the momentum they desired to stall the nomination.
Democrat obstructionists succeeded when a cloture vote on Bolton failed. Fortunately, Bush chose to bypass the Senate and appointed Bolton as UN ambassador anyway through a recess appointment.
At the same time, Bush renominated Bolton, leaving it up to the Senate to act. For nearly a year, Bolton has waited to be confirmed for the job permanently.
In that time, Bolton has demonstrated his ability to be an effective UN ambassador, championing the much-needed message of reform. He brought a fresh perspective to the United Nations, and the criticism voiced by Voinovich and Democrats—that he didn’t play well with others—has proven to be moot.
Bolton has taken a lead on human rights issues, starting with the structure of the new Human Rights Council. He correctly held the United States out of the new council after U.S. proposals were rejected.
Bolton also deserves credit for his efforts to change the way the UN spends money. Despite resistance from less-developed countries that seek to control the process, the United States must continue pushing for management and personnel reform. Bolton is right to criticize the countries resisting change. As the oil-for-food scandal made apparent, reform is needed.
Bolton also has been a steady force in condemning terrorists and their sympathizers as crises have emerged in North Korea, Iran and Israel. He has done a good job articulating the U.S. position on these rogue regimes.
Voinovich was right about one thing in his Washington Post op-ed today: “I do not believe the United States, at this dangerous time, can afford to have a U.N. ambassador who does not have Congress’s full support.” The time has come to give Bolton the support he deserves—and needs—to be a force of change at the United Nations.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist should bring Bolton’s nomination up for an immediate vote. The Senate should vote to confirm. Doing so will send a clear message that status quo at the UN won’t be tolerated.