By Ray Fleming John Bolton, President Bush's nomination for the post of US Ambassador to the United Nations, is supported strongly, and publicly, by Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. With friends like these his nomination should breeze through the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee which has to approve it tomorrow. Yes? No! Generally speaking US ambassadorial appointments are of little interest to the outside world but the person named to go to the United Nations is an exception, especially when his task has been defined by Mr Bush in these terms: If you're interested in reform in the UN, like I'm interested in reform in the UN, it makes sense to put somebody who's skilled and who's not afraid to speak his mind at the United Nations. Unfortunately, the opinion of people who have worked with Mr Bolton during his diplomatic career differs from the view of him held at the White House. The Foreign Relations Committee has heard from a string of people in the State Department and other US departments who have testified that Mr Bolton is a bully, that he is not interested in opinions he does not share, that he has pushed the envelope in using intelligence informations selectively to suit his position and that he has sought to have people who opposed his views moved or dismissed. Last week Lawrence Wilkinson who was Colin Powell's chief of staff for three years said that Mr Bolton's stance on some key foreign policy issues was so out of line with the State Department's position that he had to be ordered to clear everything he said with Richard Armitage, Mr Powell's deputy. In particular, Mr Bolton had gone out of his way to bad-mouth Dr ElBaradei the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. Mr Bolton, a unique cross between a bull in a china shop and a loose cannon, hardly seems to be the man to win friends and influence people at the United Nations.
LOOSE CANNON FOR THE UN?
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