- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2005

President Bush’s nomination of John Bolton to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is now firmly stalled by Democrats in the Senate. I think Mr. Bolton should be approved, and the case against him is essentially without substance. Mr. Bolton may have been heavy-handed at times, but that is hardly an original sin in governmentcirclesorsufficient grounds to reject him. Nevertheless, the Democrats, led by Sen. Joe Biden, will not allow this nomination to come to an up-or-down vote (which Mr. Bolton would likely win with a few votes to spare).

What now? There are two possible courses of action. One would be to make a recess appointment, as early as the first week of July, that would make Mr. Bolton the U.N. ambassador until January, 2007. Although this would infuriate Senate Democrats, it is probably the most likely outcome of this matter, considering the mood of both sides.

Another course, admittedly unlikely now, would be for the president to withdraw Mr. Bolton and nominate someone else. I have three suggestions. All three fulfill the president’s goal of having a thoughtful, plain-speaking conservative voice of the United States at the United Nations.

Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the former U.N. ambassador, is 79. No one is more plain-speaking and conservative than she is, and she knows the ropes, having served brilliantly in the post.

She almost certainly does not want this job again, but she would be quickly approved, and still has legendary feistiness.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has more interesting ideas and perspectives than perhaps any other conservative in America. No one can accuse him of not speaking directly and provocatively. He would definitely shake up the complacency at the United Nations. But Mr. Gingrich, 62, is planning to run for president in 2008, and has no history as a team player. He has generally been supportive of Mr. Bush and his administration, but at times has criticized it or taken an independent direction. A creature of the House, he might also face tough questioning in the Senate.

Rudy Boschwitz, 74, served two terms in the Senate, but until recently had not returned to public life following his 1996 defeat in his bid to regain his Senate seat. Earlier this year, Mr. Bush nominated Mr. Boschwitz to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. He was confirmed by the Senate 99-0, and subsequently distinguished himself in the six-week annual session in Switzerland. On his return last month, Mr. Bush asked him to be his personal representative and head of the U.S. delegation to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaty that restored sovereignty to Austria in 1955.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should report that I have known Rudy Boschwitz as a personal friend for more than 20 years, and have previously recused myself from discussing his political campaigns since 1984. Furthermore, I know that he does not seek this position, and would not approve of me writing about him in this column.

Like Mrs. Kirkpatrick and Mr. Gingrich, Amb. Boschwitz is enormouslywell-informed about foreign policy, international affairs and the United Nations. He served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and became the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East. Mr. Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, appointed Mr. Boschwitz as his special emissary to Ethiopia, and Amb. Boschwitz had great success then in negotiating the emigration of 15,000 black falashas to Israel. An early supporter of the current President Bush, Amb. Boschwitz is on the same page as the administration on foreign-policy issues and the need for dramatic reform of the United Nations. As someone who escaped the Holocaust as a child (he was born in Berlin in 1931, but his father took the family to safety in 1933), he is someone our critics in Europe and elsewhere challenge at their peril, as various nations who are members of the U.N. Human Rights Commission (and who are themselves human-rights abusers) discovered during his term in Geneva.

The point is that this stalemate does not serve the interests of the United States. Mr. Biden, who I have long praised, is playing too much politics with this. And the president does not really win as much as he wants if he makes a recess appointment. These matters are rarely neat and clean, and the way out might be a new appointment who is just as strong as Mr. Bolton. My suggestions above are offered in this spirit.

Barry Casselman writes about national politics for the Preludium News Service. E-mail: barcass@mr.net


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