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Chaos Theory: Bush & The Bolton Diversion

August 1, 2005

As expected, President Bush Monday morning made a recess appointment of John Bolton to the post of UN ambassador for the United States. This, despite Bolton's inability to get Senate approval, his lie regarding his testimony in the Plame affair, and the possibility of his own involvement in a White House orchestrated smear campaign against the Wilsons. Bush's move, though, may be less about his famed loyalty or legendary intransigence, and more a diversion aimed at creating chaos.
At this point, the Bolton recess appointment is a slap in the face of the American people and sends a dangerous signal to the world. The American people and the United Nations are about to receive a man who could not muster the support of 60 senators for a vote. His shockingly undiplomatic statements, his mistreatment of subordinates (especially those not reporting to him), and the White House's refusal to make key NSA intercepts available to the Senate left his confirmation rightly dead in the water.
The timing of Bolton's elevation is bitterly ironic. On the very day of his ascension to the UN post, Tehran has announced it will resume the Iranian nuclear program and is awaiting a proposal from the EU Three, to whom the U.S. has outsourced its policymaking. Meanwhile, the Six Party Talks with North Korea are finally showing progress, in large part because of face-to-face meetings with the North Koreans, which the President and the UN-bashing Bolton steadfastly opposed. At the most critical juncture in talks about a denuclearized Korean peninsula, the man who singlehandedly scuttled negotiations back in 2003 with his "tyrannical dictator" and "hellish nightmare" comments is the chief American presence at the UN.
This appointment, then, is about much more than "UN reform" or George W. Bush's fabled "conviction" or "loyalty." coming at a time of growing scandal in the White House, the Bolton move with its certain political firestorm is about diversion. In a nutshell, the President is intent on creating media chaos to take attention away from the mushrooming CIA outing scandal and the implosion of his second term agenda. Like the adroitly timed Roberts Supreme Court nomination, President Bush is deflecting political focus from his scandal-plagued administration and towards the usual vitriolic right-left conflict that will be played out in the press.
Call it chaos theory or simply a smoke-screen. By whatever name, the President is banking we'll be discussing John Bolton and not Karl Rove. And there's nothing we can do about, not at least, til the mid-term elections of 2006.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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