As if American politics could not become more “impulse buy” for fringe voters, Newt Gingrich has made a new pitch for ultra-conservative votes by filling one spot on this cabinet before securing the Republican nomination (a win that he recently said was virtually inevitable). Gingrich appeared before the Republican Jewish Coalition and promised to appoint former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to be his Secretary of State. Bolton is viewed internationally as a type of scary clown who repeatedly calls for military action over anything from missile developments in Iran to Canadian fishing trawlers off of Maine. Ok, he hasn’t called for a war against Canada, but he has been busy with demands for military strikes against other targets.
The Republican Jewish Coalition erupted in applause when Gingrich announced “If he accepts it, I will ask John Bolton to be secretary of state.” He previously told about 70 conservative activists about his plans when he was asked how he could assure conservatives he would be trustworthy. He immediately promised to appoint Bolton as the paragon of trustworthiness.
Just in case you forgot Bolton who had to be given a recess appointment to the U.N. due to his extreme views and legendary anger-management issues, here are a few choice quotes from the man who would be Secretary of State:
“It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.”
“There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally be led by the only real power left in the world, and that is the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along…The success of the United Nations during the Gulf War was not because the United Nations had suddenly become successful. It was because the United States, through President Bush, demonstrated what international leadership, international coalition building, international diplomacy is really all about… When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow. When it suits our interest to do so, we will do so. When it does not suit our interests we will not.”
“If I were redoing the Security Council today, I’d have one permanent member because that’s the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world.”
“There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States when it suits our interest and we can get others to go along.”
“While treaties may well be politically or even morally binding, they are not legally obligatory. They are just not ’law’ as we apprehend the term. And what happens to countries when they do not adhere to international law on some matter? Usually nothing. Why, then, do we continue to talk about international ‘law’? Because the word has a strong emotive appeal.”
What is particularly dim of Gingrich is that he will now be asked to defend not just his views but those of Bolton — one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. When he was nominated for the U.N post, seventy-six of his Yale classmates, including Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, signed a letter saying, “We are embarrassed and ashamed that the Bush administration has nominated someone so manifestly unsuited to represent our country at the United Nations.” Other came forward to complain about Bolton’s temper and questionable associations. Lynne Finney, who served as the United Nations policy advisor for USAID, said that Bolton tried to fire her after she refused to lobby World Health Organization delegates to weaken restrictions on the marketing of infant formula in the developing world to benefit Nestle. She said that she believe it would lead to product misuse and infant deaths, but Bolton shouted that “Nestle was an important company and that he was giving me a direct order from President Reagan.” There is no support for Bolton’s claim that Reagan gave him that order, but when another official refused to fire her, she says that Bolton retaliated against her to force her to leave.
Bolton is particularly disliked by civil libertarians and lawyers around the world for his open hostility to international principles and concepts of the rule of law. It is clear with this announcement that Gingrich is thinking no farther than the Republican primary — the very definition of someone who is a politician rather than a statesman.
Source: Washington Times
FLOG THE BLOG: Have you voted yet for the top legal opinion blog? WE NEED YOUR VOTE! You can vote at HERE by clicking on the “opinion” category. Voting ends December 31, 2011.