Last Monday, President-elect Barack Obama announced the nomination of his campaign’s senior foreign policy adviser Susan Rice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Obama added that he would restore Rice’s position to Cabinet-level rank, as it had been during the Clinton administration.
But in searching for an alternative perspective of this decision, it appears that some in the media got lazy. Instead of providing a thoughtful counterpoint from a respected and credible voice, the easy route seems to be just to quote U.N. basher John Bolton:
— The New York Times: [Bolton] said it was unwise to elevate the position to the cabinet again. “One, it overstates the role and importance the U.N. should have in U.S. foreign policy,” Mr. Bolton said. ”Second, you shouldn’t have two secretaries in the same department.”
— USA Today: [Bolton] said Cabinet rank creates the potential for bureaucratic conflict, especially with the State Department. Bolton also questioned whether the U.N. — whose culture he says is “impervious to change” — should be so central to U.S. foreign policy.
Naturally, Fox News gave Bolton air time, who, having once served as U.S. ambassador to the world body himself, offered Rice some advice: U.N. ambassadors “are not sent to New York to be platonic guardians with other ambassadors for the good of the world.” Watch it:
Of course Bolton thinks elevating Rice to a cabinet level position and refocusing U.S. foreign policy on greater international cooperation is a bad idea. He hates the United Nations. Bolton famously said “there is no such thing as the United Nations” and if the U.N. building in New York “lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” Not only that, but Bolton once boasted that he never took any international law classes while attending Yale.
But that doesn’t seem to stop the media from continuing to quote him. After all, without much to do these days, perhaps Bolton is more than happy to sit by the phone.