April 21, 2005


Powell Plays Behind the Scenes Role in Bolton Debate (Jim VandeHei and Robin Wright, April 22, 2005, Washington Post)

Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell is emerging as a behind the scenes player in the battle over John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations, privately telling at least two key Republican lawmakers that Bolton is smart, but a very problematic government official, according to Republican sources.

Powell spoke in recent days with Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), two of three GOP members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who have raised concerns about Bolton's confirmation, the sources said. Powell did not advise the senators to oppose Bolton, but offered a frank assessment of the nominee as a man who was challenging to work with on personnel and policy matters, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

At any rate, whil Democrats try to protect the UN, Oil-for-food inquiry pair quit over Annan report (Francis Harris, 22/04/2005, Daily Telegraph)
Two senior investigators examining the Iraqi oil-for-food programme have resigned, complaining that their findings on the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan were toned down.

The resignations left the UN-appointed inquiry into the conduct of the $64 billion (£35 billion) programme in disarray. Not only did it reveal serious dissent within the independent inquiry, but it will also fuel angry criticism from Washington over the conduct of the investigation, led by the former United States Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 21, 2005 8:39 PM

Notice how much smoother things have gone with Powell out of State?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 21, 2005 8:59 PM

I think Powell was involved in the oil-for-food program, ans is trying to save his skin.

Posted by: sam at April 21, 2005 10:16 PM

It is more likely that Powell is angling to be a player in any future Democratic administration.

He's probably also afraid of the coming housecleaning at State. You know, the one he should have done.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 22, 2005 12:29 AM

jim's second point is right, I think. He's just protecting his reputation. He always tried to simultaneously please the right and the New York Times liberal left. This is just more of that - trying to develop Republican endorsements for his management of State, while hinting to Times readers that he might be what they always hoped he'd be, a Republican renegade. Note that his reported comments on Bolton are "on the one hand, on the other hand" praise/criticism that leaves him the "I support Bolton's nomination but there may be better nominees available" loyal-Republican-but-respectable-liberal position.

Posted by: pj at April 22, 2005 9:11 AM

Over the years, I have tried mightily to think good of this man, but he has disappointed over and over again. This may be the last straw. There is no possible excuse for this blatant disloyalty.

His chief of staff thinks Bolton would be an "abyssal ambassador." Would that be from our point of view or the point of view of Kofi Amman?

Posted by: erp at April 22, 2005 9:26 AM

Bolton is one of Cheney's people at State. This is payback only. Disappointing but expected.

What I still don't get is what do the Dems expect to get out of this? The President makes the policies, UN rep is just the emissary. Any replacement appointment will be just as conservative, just a smoother personality. It won't be Madeline Albright.

Posted by: Bob at April 22, 2005 9:38 AM