Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Now that Bolton's nomination has been foiled again by Dem senators, Bush is reported to be considering an end run: as soon as Congress goes on recess, he'll give Bolton an interim appointment, good for eighteen months without congressional approval. That would be a shame. If Bolton were to lose the mustache and grow pointy hair, he could give Dilbert's boss lessons in doing it wrong. The Washington Monthly sheds new light on his incompetence.
Good news! Now that John Bolton has left his previous job where he was in charge of arms control, we're suddenly making great progress on arms control! Laura Rozen has the details.
For years, a key U.S. program intended to keep Russian nuclear fuel out of terrorist hands has been frozen by an arcane legal dispute. As undersecretary of state, John R. Bolton was charged with fixing the problem, but critics complained he was the roadblock.
Now with Bolton no longer in the job, U.S. negotiators report a breakthrough with the Russians and predict a resolution will be sealed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin at an international summit in Scotland next month, clearing the way to eliminate enough plutonium to fuel 8,000 nuclear bombs.
The prospective revival of the plutonium disposal project underlines a noticeable change since Bolton's departure from his old job as arms control chief. Regardless of whether the Senate confirms him as U.N. ambassador during a scheduled vote today, fellow U.S. officials and independent analysts said his absence has already been felt at the State Department.
This is really quite incredible. By so many measures Bolton has been a destructive force for stated Bush administration policy objectives. And as taking Bolton out of the loop furthered US policy goals on Russia's loose nukes, so did Rice's taking him out of the loop on Iran help that sensitive negotiation as well, the WaPo report continues:
"But Bolton was shut out of Iran after Rice's ascension, according to two U.S. officials, and his policy was reversed. In early January, officials from France, Britain and Germany flew secretly to Washington for a brainstorming session on Iran. Bolton was not invited, European diplomats said...
'We weren't the ones who wanted to keep the meeting secret,' one European diplomat said. 'It was the American side that didn't want him there.'"
It's almost laughable.

Wonder if Condi will be in hot water with the boss now that word's out she snubbed his boy. Anyway, just so Bush doesn't put him back in charge of arms control. I'm going to rest easier knowing more is being done about those loose nukes.

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