Saturday, December 2, 2006

About four months after John Bolton became America’s United Nations ambassador, I watched him deliver a luncheon address to the Manhattan Institute.

“I wonder if he’ll throw something at the help?” I whispered to another guest. I was joking, but Mr. Bolton’s critics are not: They consider him as diplomatic as a catapult.

“He’s been a very ineffective bully,” Sen. Chris Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, said Sept. 6. Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, recommended “anger management counseling” for Mr. Bolton. Other Bolton detractors recently decried his “egotistical intolerance.”

Mr. Bolton struck me as surprisingly soft-spoken on two occasions we briefly met. But even if he is a human Vesuvius on duty, he performs vital work and has earned praise from colleagues and admirers overseas. Thus, the Senate should reconfirm him for service beyond his soon-expiring recess appointment.

Rather than merely erupt at everyone around him, as his adversaries claim, Mr. Bolton brokers peace agreements, frustrates despots, fights genocide and steers nuclear weapons from the twitchy fingers of tyrants:

Mr. Bolton and France’s ambassador led the Security Council to approve a unanimous resolution to end last summer’s Hezbollah war on Israel. While America should have encouraged Israel to eradicate Hezbollah once and for all, Mr. Bolton successfully executed his orders to stop the combat and authorize U.N. peacekeepers.

He assembled an international coalition that blocked the bid of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s Marxist strongman, to join the Security Council. This anti-authoritarian alliance survived 47 ballots. An eventual compromise helped moderate, pro-American Panama fill that spot.

Mr. Bolton arranged the Security Council’s first deliberations on Burma’s human-rights abuses. “The time has come for the suffering of the Burmese people to end and for democratic change to begin,” Mr. Bolton said Sept. 29.

Mr. Bolton properly belittled the new Human Rights Council, a forum where Cuba and Zimbabwe lecture civilized nations on how to treat their citizens. He compared this unit’s creation to “putting lipstick on a caterpillar and calling it a butterfly.”

Mr. Bolton invited actor George Clooney and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to brief the Security Council last September on Arab mass-murder of non-Arabs in Darfur, Sudan. “Every day we delay only adds to the suffering of the Sudanese people and extends the genocide,” Mr. Bolton said. He engineered the Security Council’s approval of 22,500 U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur. Mr. Bolton continues to pressure Sudan’s government to accept these personnel atop the 7,000 African Union soldiers already on site.

Mr. Bolton persuaded the Security Council to pass a resolution denouncing Iran’s uranium enrichment program and demanding that Tehran halt its atomic hanky-panky.

Mr. Bolton, with the help of China’s and Japan’s ambassadors, negotiated unanimously adopted Security Council resolutions condemning North Korea’s July 4 missile test and penalizing its Columbus Day A-bomb blast.

Mr. Bolton has won plaudits from his peers.

“I enjoy working with him,” Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters Nov. 14. “Professionally, he’s capable. He’s effective,” Mr. Wang added.

“He is having a definite impact,” Romanian Ambassador Mihnea Motoc told the Los Angeles Times’ Maggie Farley. “Others wish they could do things the same way.”

“He has an agenda, and he’s pursuing it with a conviction that is uncommon here,” said Algerian Ambassador Abdallah Baali.

One secret of Mr. Bolton’s success may be “shot-clock diplomacy.” He twice has taken the Security Council to New York Knicks games at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s fun for two or three hours,” Ambassador Wang told the Associated Press. “We think of nothing but sport.”

This “bully” was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Per Ahlmark, Sweden’s former deputy prime minister, proposed Mr. Bolton (and journalist Kenneth Timmerman) for challenging Iran’s hunger for nukes. As Mr. Ahlmark explained in the Feb. 7 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bolton “has with unusual energy tried to find ways to counter this threat. Friends and foes agree — he never gives up.”

Democratic senators and Republican turncoat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island continue to block Mr. Bolton’s reconfirmation. President Bush should engage this issue fully by flying to the U.N., standing by his ambassador, and declaring:

“John Bolton has stymied despots, comforted potential genocide victims and hindered Kim Jong-il’s and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s atomic ambitions. He toils from dawn to dusk to promote international peace and protect America’s national security. The Senate should send this man back to work.”

Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

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