PRESS RELEASE: Bolton Resigns; Grassroots Effort Pays Off
December 4, 2006 -
Unable to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told President Bush today that he would resign from his recess appointed position.
Mr. Bolton’s nomination has been repeatedly blocked by the Senate and was heavily contested by Citizens for Global Solutions and an array of other advocacy organizations that want to see the U.S. restore its 60-year leadership and partnership with the U.N. This successful effort to defeat Mr. Bolton’s nomination is an example of how average citizens can impact the way America engages the world.
“Last month’s elections demonstrated that Americans want the United States to be more than a super-power; they want us to be a super partner, too,” said Don Kraus Executive Vice President of Citizens for Global Solutions. “President Bush’s decision to accept Ambassador Bolton’s resignation should serve to more closely align U.S. foreign policy with the wishes of the American people. It should also serve to repair the deep partisan divisions in the Senate, which rightly rejected Ambassador Bolton’s vision of U.S. global engagement.
“Now, the President has an opportunity to reach across party lines and move boldly in a new direction. It is our hope that he nominates a new U.N. ambassador who can help to return the United States to the partnership-driven, consensus-building, and problem-solving approach that characterized its first six decades of relations with the U.N.”
Citizens for Global Solutions believes that there are many qualified men and women the president can tap for this vital diplomatic post. Among them are: Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, outgoing Senator Mike DeWine, current Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalizad, outgoing Representative Jim Leach and current U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Alejandro Wolff.
Whomever President Bush nominates, he or she will have a plateful of immediate responsibilities.
The need to work with allies. Many of the U.S.’s closest friends have lost confidence in its ability to act in good faith. With so much of the its agenda dependent on international support and cooperation, the Bush administration needs to demonstrate it can cooperate with those countries whose votes it needs to support its agenda.
Negotiate rather than threaten. Over the past two years, the U.S. approach to negotiations on how to revitalize and improve the U.N. was to threaten financial doom if other nations did not go along with its demands. Refraining from such threats will tamp down much of the current hostility and go a long way to rebuilding trust among long-standing allies.
Acknowledge progress. If the Bush administration wants others to hear its complaints, it has to demonstrate it is a credible interlocutor on U.N. reform. Constructive criticism of the world body needs to come in the context of a more accurate and evenhanded assessment of the U.N.’s significant progress on reform. Giving other countries some credit for their contributions also wouldn’t hurt.
The need to address global poverty. While terrorism, nonproliferation and management reform remain the Bush administration’s top priorities at the U.N., they rank relatively low on the agendas of most other governments — particularly those whose populations live on less than two dollars per day. The previous U.S. ambassador’s opposition to the Millennium Development Goals during last year’s 60th anniversary summit encouraged other countries to backtrack on other issues important to the United States. Returning poverty eradication to its rightful place at the forefront of the global agenda will encourage other countries to be more open to U.S. concerns.
Revive the Democracy Caucus. Recent efforts to create a Democracy Caucus at the U.N. were largely stifled due to the fact that other democracies, especially those in the developing world, have come to mistrust U.S. leadership on democracy promotion. The Bush administration should allow its allies to take the lead in addressing these concerns by extending the Caucus’s agenda beyond human rights to poverty, economic development, and debt relief.
Notes to Editors:
Citizens for Global Solutions is a non-partisan membership organization that envisions a future in which nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing humanity that no one nation can solve alone.