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Sat, Oct. 19

Hes just the fox for the U.N. henhouse

President George Bushs nomination for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is John Bolton, a well known critic of that very organization.

And to say hes a critic of the U.N. might be an understatement on the order of saying the Swift Boat Veterans were not John Kerrys biggest fans. Bolton has gone so far as to declare that as far as hes concerned the United Nations doesnt exist. Call me wacky, but shouldnt the guy whos going to represent us at least accept the institutions existence? And does this skepticism extend to the structure itself? If so, hows the man going to get to work? Is he destined to wander aimlessly around the East Side of Manhattan querying strangers as to the location of his own personal Brigadoon?

The 56-year-old State Department chief of arms control, a hard-liner with a suspicious view of U.S. arms control treaties, also is on record to have said if you lopped off the top 10 floors of the U.N., it wouldnt make a difference. Oh yeah, lets have him run our diplomatic corps. Because who knows more about mending bridges than the guy planting the charges in an attempt to set fire to them? What does the administration have in mind for future appointments? Howard Stern to head up the FCC? Michael Jackson as official envoy to UNICEF? Kenneth Lay as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission? Laugh at the first two, the last is not so funny.

Supporters describe Bolton as a blunt, straight-talking, tough-minded, tell-it-like-it-is, not-afraid-to-ruffle-foreign-feathers-while-putting-Americas-interests-first kind of a guy. But we already got one of those kind of guys in charge of the White House. And Bush aint too internationally-minded either. If the Ambassador Nominees function is to be the designated Rottweiler, I could understand, but we already got a kennel full of Rottweilers, most of whom appear to have missed the paper-training course in obedience school. Tough Love is one thing. Rabid Frothing at the Mouth with an Unattached Ear Hanging Out Between the Teeth is another.

His detractors insist that Bolton is an abrasive, confrontational, insensitive, kiss-ass, prudent-as-a-flatulent-porcupine, abusive-with-analysts-who-disagree-with-his-views kind of a guy. Obviously, politics, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but in terms of ideologues, this Administration has developed a serious case of conjunctivitis. And in a bullying Cyclops, with a bigger army than the rest of the world put together, that kind of pink eye can become diplomatically distracting.

Dont get me wrong, Im not sure I totally disagree with all of Boltons assessments of the United Nations, such as its as useless as cellophane underwear. And corrupt. And hopelessly entangled in red tape. And guilty of fostering anti-American attitudes while monopolizing the seafood stand at our all-you-can-eat buffet and discarding their used oyster shells on our nice clean carpeting. But whatever happened to good cop/bad cop? Bush plays: bad cop/hothead brandishing a multi-pronged taser in the dark. What part of the word diplomacy does the president not get?

(Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. E-mail him at

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