Day 11, I think…

I’ve not smoked for a week and a half now. I’m starting to mutter rude things under my breath (and over my breath, and occasionally into a microphone, unfortunately) and throw things at people. Lord, please give my friends patience… I kinda like ’em.

Last Monday President George Walker Bush appointed John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations. To me it seems like a blatant abuse of power. Consider – President G. W. Bush first mentioned Bolton as a candidate for the post five months ago. Immediately, red flags went up – not just with the Democrats, but also with the press, Washington insiders, and some Republicans. For five months, we’ve heard plenty about Bolton, not much of it good. The man has been abusive to subordinates, he has asked his subordinates to change the facts in their reports to match his personal view, he has pushed to find the names of confidential sources – sources who HELPED the U.S., he once said in public that the United Nations was “irrelevant” and that the U.N. consisted of one member – the U.S. This is not a good way to make friends. Republican Senator George Voinovich said Bolton is “the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be.” source Hmmm…

President George W. Bush needed 60 Senatorial votes to get the Bolton nomination approved (as I understand the situation). He did not have the necessary votes. So, using a little-known clause in the Constitution, Mr. G. Walker Bush simply waited until the lawmakers were gone and pushed through a recess appointment. While legal, in my opinion this action is neither ethical nor moral. A recess appointment was meant to cover emergencies – not as a way to get an unpopular nominee into power. President Bush remarked that he took this action because the U.S. should not have a vacancy in the U.N. during a time of war. True… But the post has been vacant for six months already, and the Senate will be in session again in just one month (I think). Mr. Bush also commented that the legislature was unfairly blocking and stonewalling the nomination. Well, Mr. Bush’s political party is in the majority, so getting 60 votes shouldn’t be a problem if the nominee were fit for the post – and from what I hear, the only reason the nomination stalled is that the Bush administration refused to release certain documents about Mr. Bolton. If President Bush would have turned over these documents, the Senate could have given Mr. Bolton an up or down vote. Simple as that.

How does this affect us? After all, I live in Iowa – far, far away from all this ruckus.

Well, this appointment does several things for the United States. First, it shows to the rest of the world that we are a nation divided, and that our President and his administration truly don’t care about that division. Secondly, he’s putting a man who many feel is unfit and unqualified into a position where he represents the United States to the rest of the world. Thirdly, Mr. Bush’s appointment of a man who openly snubbed the United Nations TO the United Nations (sounds like a bad joke) shows to the rest of the world that the Bush administration honestly thinks that the United States is the only nation in the world – that the administration thinks of the U.N. as a powerless joke. That is unfortunate indeed.

Did you know that member nations of the United Nations pay dues? Did you know that in 2004 the U.N. was $2.4 billion in debt. Did you know that nearly half that debt is because the United States has consistently failed to pay dues? The U.S. pays somewhere around 22% of the administrative budget of the U.N. and 27% of the peacekeeping budget source. That averages to about 25% of the U.N.’s total budget (I think – this is unverified), but the U.S. is responsible for HALF the U.N.’s debts. We’re slackers. The U.S. is a deadbeat dad – has been since the Reagan administration.

Now we’ve appointed Mr. John Bolton to the U.N. to represent us. I’m sure the rest of the world is giddy with glee… Especially as the United Nations is going through a period of rebuilding itself. The U.S. is pushing certain items on the agenda – notably blocking several nations from the proposed Security Council expansion. There are currently 15 members on the Security Council, but for the past ten years there have been negotiations and such to expand the Council to 25 seats. From what I’ve heard of Mr. Bolton, he’s probably not going to be very polite or diplomatic in stating the administration’s position that this should NOT happen. (India, one of the nations pushing the proposal, is an important trading partner of the United States. And they have nukes. We should at least be polite to them – they’re our friends!) The U.N. is also involved in mucking about with Korea’s nuclear armament. I’m worried that Mr. Bolton may poison those talks as well.

In short, it’s a worrisome development. I apologize if I have any of my facts wrong – I’m writing this off the top of my head for the most part. If there are any errors, they’re unintentional.

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