Bolton yields to Se­nate crit­ics, quits fight for U.N. post

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Stephen Di­nan

Pres­i­dent Bush on Dec. 4 ac­cepted John R. Bolton’s res­ig­na­tion as U.N. am­bas­sador, giv­ing in to the ob­jec­tions of Se­nate Democrats and one Repub­li­can a month af­ter the White House pledged to push to con­firm him.

Mr. Bolton had been serv­ing as a tem­po­rary “re­cess ap­point­ment” since Au­gust 2005, but his busy term was not enough to per­suade Se­nate crit­ics to give him full ap­proval for the top U.S. job at the United Na­tions.

“I’m not happy about it. I think he de­served to be con­firmed,” Mr. Bush said at the White House af­ter ac­cept­ing Mr. Bolton’s res­ig­na­tion in per­son in the Oval Of­fice.

Repub­li­can lead­ers had wanted to force an­other vote on Mr. Bolton’s nom­i­na­tion be­fore the end of the year, when Democrats as­sume con­trol of Congress. But in Mr. Bolton’s Dec. 1 res­ig­na­tion let­ter, he said the fight was over and he would end his ser­vice in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion when his tem­po­rary post ex­pires, when Congress ad­journs this year.

The White House said Mr. Bolton’s let­ter also ended the pos­si­bil­ity of keep­ing him on the job, which they could have done by cre­at­ing an­other sim­i­lar po­si­tion and giv­ing him a re­cess ap­point­ment to it.

His de­par­ture will leave Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice with three ma­jor va­can­cies to fill. Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Robert B. Zoellick, the de­part­ment’s sec­ond-in-com­mand, left for Wall Street in July, and Philip Ze­likow, the de­part­ment coun­selor and a top con­fi­dant of the sec­re­tary, an­nounced last month he plans to re­turn to his teach­ing job at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia in Jan­uary.

The Bloomberg News ser­vice re­ported Dec. 4 that U.S. Am­bas­sador to Iraq Zal­may Khalilzad may soon be leav­ing Bagh­dad and is a lead­ing can­di­date to fill one of the top va­can­cies.

White House press sec­re­tary Tony Snow said Mr. Bolton’s de­par­ture showed the con­fir­ma­tion process was bro­ken, and he blamed par­ti­san ob­struc­tion.

But law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill said Mr. Bolton couldn’t have even got­ten out of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee un­der Repub­li­can con­trol be­cause one Repub­li­can com­mit­tee mem­ber, Sen. Lin­coln Chafee of Rhode Is­land, op­posed him, deny­ing him ma­jor­ity sup­port to pro­ceed for a floor vote.

“It ba­si­cally fell be­cause of the fact that Lin­coln Chafee changed his mind and [For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Richard G.] Lu­gar couldn’t bring it to com­mit- tee be­cause he wouldn’t have the votes to get it out of the com­mit­tee,” said Sen. Ge­orge V. Voinovich, Ohio Repub­li­can.

Mr. Voinovich, an early op­po­nent of Mr. Bolton’s who later be­came his cham­pion, said in an in­ter­view that Mr. Bolton had be­come “a team player” who did- n’t stray from the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pol­icy dur­ing his time as am­bas­sador.

Mr. Bolton’s de­par­ture comes as the United Na­tions is grap­pling with de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons pro­grams in North Korea and Iran and up­heaval in Le­banon.

Mr. Bolton worked on U.N. agree­ments on each of those is­sues, and Mr. Voinovich said he fears the loss of con­ti­nu­ity. He said on the Le­banon res­o­lu­tion in par­tic­u­lar, he doubts Is­rael would have signed off with­out Mr. Bolton’s firm as­sur­ances.

Out­go­ing U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Kofi An­nan said Mr. Bolton “did the job he was ex­pected to do.”

“He came at a time when we had lots of tough is­sues. As a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, he pressed ahead with the in­struc­tions that he had been given, and tried to work as ef­fec­tively with the other am­bas­sadors,” he said.

But Democrats said the res­ig­na­tion gives Mr. Bush a chance to show he can be bi­par­ti­san and re­spond to the needs of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity for the pres­i­dent to ap­point a United Na­tions am­bas­sador who en­joys the sup­port nec­es­sary to unite our coun­try and the world and who can put re­sults ahead of ide­ol­ogy,” said Sen. John Kerry, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat.

Mr. Bolton’s nom­i­na­tion had pre­vi­ously passed out of com­mit­tee but had been blocked by a Demo­cratic fil­i­buster, fail­ing on May 26, 2005, by a 56-42 vote and on June 20, 2005, by a 54-38 vote.

David R. Sands and Betsy Pisik con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Maya Alleruzzo / The Wash­ing­ton Times

John R. Bolton (right), act­ing as a Repub­li­can le­gal ob­server dur­ing the Novem­ber 2000 elec­tion re­count, watched Judge Charles Bur­ton check a bal­lot in Florida.

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