A career State Department diplomat, his last billet was undersecretary for arms control and international security. He previously worked on arms control issues at the U.N. from 1989 to 1993.
I didn't know much about Mr. Bolton when Reuters dropped his name on my desktop; let's see what some Very Important People have to say about him:
"Now, when bridge-building and strengthening of alliances are so critical to our national security, he is a poor person to serve as a conciliator at the United Nations." - Sen. John Corzine, D, NJ.
"(Boltons')... "antipathy to the U.N. will prevent him from effectively discharging his duties as our ambassador." - Sen. Chris Dodd, D, Conn.
Here's a Bolton bio put together by people who aren't important, but dearly wish they were. Nice website, too. They have many strong reservations about Bolton; some of the examples of his past remarks they cite, such as:
At a 1994 panel discussion sponsored by the World Federalist Association, Bolton claimed, "There's no such thing as the United Nations," saying that ''If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.'' (8)
During the July 2001 global U.N. conference on small arms and light weapons, Bolton told delegates that the United States was not only opposed to any agreement restricting civilian possession of small arms, it also didn't appreciate "the promotion of international advocacy activity by international or non-governmental organizations." Bolton 's delegation was accompanied by that distinguished American NGO the National Rifle Association. (7)
In 1998, when he was senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, Bolton described the International Criminal Court (ICC) as "a product of fuzzy-minded romanticism [that] is not just naïve, but dangerous."
...lead me to respectfully ask, "What's the big problem here? Is it too much to ask that a career diplomat prioritize things like our sovereignty, interests, and constitution over feckless international popularity contests?"
A U.N. spokesman was quoted as saying "I don't know about what previous biases he may bring here... We have nothing against people who do hold us accountable. On the contrary, I think we do want to be held accountable."
Huh? That sounds a little dry to me. Here's the TRB Quantum Transmorgified version, where you get the real context, and nothing but semantic accuracy:
The U.N. spokesman rose from behind his executive (a small french helicopter adorned one corner) desk in the corner office near the top floor of the U.N. building. A spent glass bong, two feet tall and filled with champagne, was centered on the blotter in front of his chair.
"Welcome, Welcome!", he said. Noticing my glance at the bong, he said, "They are doing SIMPLY AMAZING things with hemp these days. I am investigating whether or not we should subsidize the trade as an economic development tool."
I asked him if he'd heard about Bolton's appointment.
"I don't know about what previous biases he may bring here," said the spokesman. He packed the bowl and fished out a pocket- sized reproduction of the current Chinese army flamethrower. "We have nothing against people who do hold us... uh, accountable."
Now I've never met anyone but UC frat types who could inhale a sentence, but the rest of his answer went like this: "Onthecontrary,Ithinkwedo (HOLLLLLLLD the smoke - exhale) want to be held accountable. *cough*"
It was an amazing display, and his enunciation came through clearly in spite of the vigorous bubbling noise from the bong.
There is an old saying that a man can be measured by the enemies he makes.
Mr. Bolton sounds like the perfect man for the job to me.
(some information in this post orginated in this AP article.)