May 4, 2005


Bolton's Finest Hour (Gary Leupp, 5/04/05, CounterPunch)

[Thomas M. Boyd, an assistant attorney general under the Reagan administration and former Bolton deputy,] sheds light on Bush's choice, and focuses on what is surely the Bolton achievement most likely to evoke public support, in an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe April 27. He opens with the frank observation that Bolton is indeed a bull in a china shop. But "[w]hile it is certainly true that Bolton sometimes breaks china," Boyd declares, "it is also true that he carefully selects the pattern first." Bolton's crowning moment of destruction? December 16, 1991, when the United Nations General Assembly repealed, by a vote of 111 to 25 (and 30 abstentions) the 1975 resolution that described Zionism as a form of racism. As the debate heats up this will be the bully's chief selling point.

Resolution 3379 had originally passed with 72 votes for, 35 against, and 32 abstentions. Largely symbolic, with few practical ramifications, it did what the U.S. State Department's "terror list" does today: it denounced what the judges found reprehensible and endeavored to shame and isolate the target. Condemned in the U.S. press as "abominable," "repulsive," "odious" and "the UN's greatest sin" and condemned by a joint Congressional resolution in 1985, its passage was chalked up to the growing power of oil-rich Islamic states, the influence of the Soviet Union, and general anti-Semitism. To this day the corporate media ignores the possibility that there might have been some persuasive logic in the anti-Zionist critique. This is not something one can freely discuss in this free country. In any case, in 1975 67% of nations voting (52% of the total membership) had agreed that Zionism was a form of racism. But in 1991, 82% of voting members (67% of the total member nations) somehow determined that no, actually, this was in fact not the case after all. Not that they gave any explanation for the about-face.

It was a stunning reversal. Bolton himself has hailed the moment. The day Condoleezza Rice announced his nomination, he referred to Resolution 3379 as "the greatest stain on the UN's reputation" and its reversal "one highlight of my professional career." But he didn't at the time describe his particular role in wiping away the stain. Boyd's piece merely hints at this; according to him, Bolton as assistant secretary of state for international organizations made the repeal of the resolution a personal campaign. He "took matters into his own hands," tirelessly calling ambassadors around the world and "each time using his keen mind and reputation for bluntness to their full effect In time, his perseverance began to winnow down the nay-sayers."

This vote, occurring after the first Gulf War and just ten days before the collapse of the Soviet Union, marked a turning point in the UN's history. [...]

Senator Jesse Helms, a well-known racist and Christian-Zionist fundamentalist with whom Bolton has worked closely, told the American Enterprise Institute in early 2001 that, "John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in this world."

Who even knew it had fundamentals?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2005 9:24 PM

Well, yes. All very good but he still might have yelled at that young lady, so there. I judge a person by the quality of their enemies. John Bolton is an outstanding individual. We need his services desperately at the U.N. beginning yesterday.

Posted by: Rick T. at May 4, 2005 9:41 PM

Does Hillary's throwing a lamp at her husband in the White House now disqualify HER from running for the Presidency? Just wondering.

Posted by: obc at May 4, 2005 11:32 PM

Well, if I'm a Senate Democrat, Leupp's argument is certainly one I want to be brining to the table when the hearings finally resume...

OK, they wouldn't bring it to the table, but if I were the Republicans, I would, especially the part about "the corporate media ignores the possibility that there might have been some persuasive logic in the anti-Zionist critique" that Bolton helped get thrown out in 1991. Throw that logic from the left on Resolution 3379 at the Democrats and see how willing they are to either support it or Bolton in front of the national TV cameras.

Posted by: John at May 5, 2005 12:27 AM

Not even the Deaniacs, the Nation and the MoveOn crowd are loopy enough to embrace Counterpunch. They leave it to Justine Raimondo and the other paleo-cons.

Posted by: bart at May 5, 2005 7:48 AM


What mainstream liberal magazine does Andrew Cockburn not write for? CounterPunch is rather conventional on today's Left.

Posted by: oj at May 5, 2005 8:24 AM

Time, Newsweek, New Republic, Atlantic Monthly

He writes for Green Party mouthpieces like Mother Jones, or sometimes the Nation, but less so.

Posted by: bart at May 5, 2005 11:03 AM

Geez, you backtracked on The Nation awful quickly and the only liberal magazine there is New Republic, where he's feuding with Marty Peretz, over Israel of course. But he's a Washington Monthly regular, LA Times, etc.

Posted by: oj at May 5, 2005 1:09 PM