BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Should John Bolton be UN ambassador?
John Bolton
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has refused to back John Bolton for the post of US ambassador to the UN.

Mr. Bolton - a senior State Department official who helped organise the anti-Saddam alliance - was a controversial choice as he has criticised the United Nations in the past.

President George W Bush is coming under increasing pressure to withdraw his nomination of the outspoken conservative who has been accused of bullying and arrogance.

What do you think about John Bolton's candidacy? Do you think President Bush should continue to support him?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Tereza, USA/UK
The US is intent on putting John Bolton in the UN despite the fact that he thinks it should be abolished? What message is this intended to send to the world?

Why is John Bolton so eager to get this job? He despises the UN and all it stands for and he will be in no position to destroy it. There are too many checks and balances for that to happen. Therefore, he will simply be a disrupter, achieving very little. This is why the Foreign Relations committee did not back him. He's a bad choice without the skills needed for the job, which may well be the dismantling of the UN.
Clive, Milwaukee, USA

Many people feel that John Bolton is not the man for the job, as many people feel that Sec of State Rice was the wrong person, and in the same manner that people felt Bush was the wrong man for the job. But more people voted for Bush than didn't in America, and if Bush feels that John Bolton most adequately embodies what the majority of Americans want, then he should stand by the mandate he received from the American people.
Justin, Abilene, TX, USA

Unthinkable to me that someone like Bolton should be nominated as ambassador to the UN. The UN is one of our greatest achievements as a world community, and the choice of Bolton seriously undermines the spirit of community and cooperation from the US.
Francesca, Seattle, USA

Bolton is a straightforward, no nonsense individual and will be the right person for the UN position. As always, the American left will be frustrated by the Bush administration. It has became a trend with the Democrats to cry like "Chicken Little" on every issue, appointment or congressional bill that Bush and the Republicans have proceeded with during his time is in office. This nomination and the typical hysteria shown by Democrats about it, reiterates why the left is losing its footing in American politics.
D Nielsen, Tucson, Arizona, USA

I am a conservative Republican who voted for George Bush twice and I find the president's nomination of Mr. Bolton to be exceptionally unreasonable. How anyone could possibly believe that someone who, in a recorded speech, remarked that if the UN were to suddenly lose ten stories there would be no loss, could suddenly walk into that very institution and find even one single person from another country to help him attempt to reform the UN is utterly beyond me. There is no doubt that the UN needs to be reformed but to think that we can successfully do it without even a single ally is rather naive and unrealistic.
Suellen Barnes, Frederick, Maryland

Hopefully this is the first step in getting us, the USA out of the UN. Let France and Germany pay for this worthless organization. I for one am tired of paying for the world's problems and then being blamed for them.
Scott Morrissey, Rochester, NY

Bolton is somebody that the U.N. desperately needs if it wants to survive: an impatient do-er with a zero tolerance for bureaucracy and bureaucratese. If there had been more people like in the General Secretariat, the U.N. would not have become an impotent League of Nations II which it is now.
Mirek Kondracki, Bielsko-Biala, Poland

It is arrogant to think Bolton is going to be able to reform the UN. By all accounts, his style will not do well there. But I don't understand why there is more concern over Bolton's nomination than there is over Annan continuing in his role. I would think the failure to properly address recent scandals and the genocide taking place in Darfur is more damaging to the UN than anything Bolton could do as representative of just one country.
Jim, USA

This is pure partisan bomb throwing.
Charles Irwin, Selden, NY
If John Bolton got along with everyone and was always polite, the Democrats would complain that he didn't have any backbone. This is pure partisan bomb throwing. The UN is ineffective, corrupt and currently run by people that would gladly see the United States crumble. Why do we continue to support this dinosaur?
Charles Irwin, Selden, NY

This guy has already done considerable damage to his country in almost every major project he's been involved with. He is anything but diplomatic and is not the face the US should be showing to the rest of the world.
Mike Seeley, Fenton, MI USA

This is why I tell people I'm Canadian when I travel overseas. Mr Bolton has no grasp of the term diplomacy, much less, the ability to demonstrate it. In that respect, he has very much in common with our President. No wonder the Republicans are pushing to remove the filibuster, they have no legs to stand on when pushing inept diplomats and throwing Terri Schaivo's face up as a campaign slogan.
Bryan, Richmond, VA, USA

John Bolton should be a UN ambassador. The UN has proved to be ineffective, anti-American, anti-democratic and anti-Western. Why should Bush support somebody who is anti-Western? Bolton should be UN ambassador and should represent the interests of his country and promote our values and not to listen to what some "dictators" have to say.
Valentin Rimdjonok, Ottawa, Canada

It sickens me to think that the Bush administration holds the UN in such contempt. OK it has problems and is not exempt from corruption (just like any other political institution) but it is if you like the best we've got. Putting a bullish figure like Bolton in there will only seek to alienate many nations, especially those not singing from the US song sheet. If he gets the job then heaven help us. 2008 and Hillary Clinton cannot come sooner enough.
Ed H, UK/currently US

The fact that Bush nominated Bolton and continues to back him despite growing animosity toward him from both sides of the aisle demonstrates that the Bush Administration is really not serious about repairing the severely damaged international image of America.
David O, Berkeley, CA USA

The only way to keep much needed reform from devolving into poorly lead developing and despotic countries, finding new ways to build new protections for their failed system is to have an ambassador who will greet the international community with an iron gauntlet of resolve, not a velvet glove of complicity. John Bolton is the perfect man for the job. It will be a clear message to the international community: when America is taken for granted and abused, we will hit back.
Jonathan, Boston, MA, USA

John Bolton is the worst conceivable choice for UN ambassador. He has shown nothing but contempt for the institution and an inability to compromise and negotiate - one would suspect these are desirable traits for an international diplomat.
Jeff Tuttle, Oceanside, CA, USA

Putting Bolton at the UN appears to part of a broader strategy to transform the UN and the World Bank into instruments of US policy
Personality issues aside, putting Bolton at the UN appears to part of a broader strategy to transform the UN and the World Bank (with Paul Wolfowitz) into instruments of US policy. To the extent that we can drive policy consensus in the UN backed up with World Bank funding and US military/political might we may have tools required to turn the world away from nihilistic terrorism.

I think the disapproval of Mr Bolton would serve only to weaken the image of the President and could be seen as the disproval of George W Bush as the President of the United States.
Leng Hour Kiet, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Yes, Bolton should be confirmed. The American people expressed their support for the President and his policies when they re-elected him. Bolton mirrors the views of the President (and the majority of the American people) in regard to the UN. Democracy is majority rule and the democrats should quit being so obstructionist.
Scott Lewis, Chicago, IL

As a US citizen, I'm embarrassed to have a man in the White House who seeks to remake the world in his own force if necessary. America doesn't need a UN ambassador who seeks to remake that institution in his own image too. No to Bolton, enough embarrassment!
Jim O'Connor, Pensacola, Florida, USA

John Bolton, throughout his 30 years in Washington, has been the most strident opponent of the United Nations and all forms of global governance and international law not controlled by the US government, and he bluntly rejects the rule of law in international affairs. He is the right man for the job! What job he is to do? He is to cripple the international law, and any role the UN may play other than serving the US interest; the interest as seen by the blinded neo-conservatives.
Mohd Turani, Jordan

Bolton was nominated to serve as a powerful weapon in the right-wing hardliner attack on the UN. The idea is either UN policy will be synonymous with US policy, or the organization will be destroyed.
Adam M, WV, USA

I am glad that even some of the Republicans can see that Bolton is a poor choice to represent our country to the UN. Hopefully, in vote, he will be declined for the job in favour of a more diplomatic-minded individual at a later date.
Al Thompson, Fayetteville, AR USA

When Bush appointed John Danforth, a highly respected former senator who is also an Episcopal priest, the man quit the job in a heartbeat. He felt the positions of the UN on Darfur were not to be believed. He was disgusted with the stance put forth on the subject. A good man can neither put up with what goes on there nor change the course of events. Maybe Bolton is tough enough to shake the place up.

The reason that people seem so opposed to Mr Bolton is because he is honest about what his job will be: to work on behalf of the United States and America's interests. All ambassadors from the various countries in the world work in their nations interests, but unlike them, Mr Bolton does not fake altruism in order to surreptitiously advance their goals.
Daniel B Rego, Irvine, CA, USA

I do have my doubts over John Bolton being the ambassador to the UN. Even the Republican senators are thinking twice about his appointment. Should the vote at the Senate fail, Bush risks becoming a lame duck President at the mercy of Congress and Senate. Withdraw him and replace someone like Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice. Someone who is like them would help to improve America's already poor image abroad to a better one.
Firdaus, Singapore

He most likely can't make the UN any less effective than it is today
Paul, Gainesville, FL, USA
I can't say I care for the man, but he most likely can't make the UN any less effective than it is today. If the world leaders won't confront Bush and his gang then all we can do is ride out the storm of controversy and let the Republicans' term end in the White House?
Paul, Gainesville, FL, USA

Ambassadors have no independence; they are just mouthpieces for the people in control. Blocking Bolton unfortunately cannot undo Bush and the Wall Street gang who prop him up.
Larry Stout, USA

To some degree, this unfolding drama shows the system still works. However, this discourse need not be about John Bolton but more importantly that senators vote be driven primarily by their convictions and not on party lines.
Abolade St John, Pittsburgh, PA

His nomination may be retribution by some in the US who are angry with the UN for opposing the Iraq war. In this case, he is their ideal candidate to deliver the punishment!
ASDR, Mississauga, Canada

The only people who would benefit from this appointment are the Bush administration. The UN and this administration have a rocky relationship and by choosing by choosing someone so dogmatic shows that this about how much influence this administration wants to have over the UN.
Ezkeil Phayze, Bournemouth, UK

I am mixed on this situation. I think we could do better than Mr Bolton, but I also believe we need someone that is very strong willed who will work with other diplomats to do the best for our world.
Adam Slane, Columbus, Ohio, USA

I'm not convinced that Bolton is the Bush administration's preferred choice
Brent, Philadelphia, PA, USA
I'm not convinced that Bolton is the Bush administration's preferred choice. He could very well be a sacrificial offering to the opposition, who will be too exhausted to fight the next nominee.
Dan, Raleigh, USA

The UN needs reform, but Bolton isn't a diplomat. He will be a disaster.
Brent, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Arrogance comes from obtaining power without wisdom. Reading some of the pro-Bolton comments and general attitude of US it would be wise to temper the US influence on the UN to avoid us renaming it as United Nations of USA. The survival of human race depends on a united world and UN certainly has to reformed with a new charter and more equal representation driven by people with wisdom of ancient sages.
Hiren Desai, Baroda India

The resistance to John Bolton both in the US and internationally is the very reason the US and most importantly the UN needs him now. Unless the UN changes radically and quickly, the people paying for nearly a quarter of the bill, the American taxpayers, are ready to quit effectively killing it off. It is not serving American interests even marginally any longer and unless the corruption, inefficiency, and inability to provide any measure of security for America or anyone else changes completely, it will be obsolete. It will take a man who is both intelligent and blunt to effect this change and John Bolton appears to be the right man for the job.
Mark, USA

The choice does not reflect the best of American diplomacy
Joy Neece Fors, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
I have been shocked by the John Bolton nomination. The choice does not reflect the best of American diplomacy and believe me, we need the best at this crucial time in our nation's history...It will take real take people of courage to get this nomination quashed.
Joy Neece Fors, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The UN now more than ever need a strong morally sound individual who is positive, optimistic and dedicated to the success of reshaping it for the 21st century not someone who doesn't even believe the organization he hopes to lead, exists!
Fayez Lababedi, Sydney - Australia

Mr. Bolton is more than qualified for the position and a desperate change is needed to the UN if it wants to have credibility. If something doesn't happen soon to change the direction of the UN, I say let it die! The office space could be used more effectively with corporations who intend to do business! President Bush has offered the most qualified person to handle the job. If he is denied, one day you could find the US leaving the UN because the people of the US really don't see the value of our tax dollars being spent.
James, USA

Bolton should not be confirmed. His dogmatic personality and past record with associates totally disqualifies him to be the UN ambassador from the U.S.
Charles Gilbert, Warrensburg MO USA

When the US administration says that Bolton is the right man to get "the job done at the UN", the question is much more about what job does the US have in mind rather than who's nominated for doing it. If it isn't Bolton, they'll find somebody else. Therefore, what counts is "what are the US' intentions with the UN?". Bolton is irrelevant.
Pieter Visser, Cambridge, UK

I don't think the world realizes what is at stake. Bolton is tasked with saving the UN not destroying it. If Bolton cannot clean up the UN there is a real possibility that the US will withdraw from it. Anybody who says the UN is fine just the way it is, is mistaken. Europe has proven time and again it is unwilling or afraid to take action to legitimize the UN so of course the US is stuck with the task.
John, San Antonio, TX, USA

When I heard Bolton was rude and he said the UN HQ could lose 10 storeys and no one would know the difference - I knew he was the right man for the job.
Andrew Walden, Hilo, Hawaii, USA

The chronic slow response to World's crisis by the UN, needs character men like John Bolton, to bring into focus the USA role in this century. An era of NOW!
Wence Sarmiento, Santa Monica, US

John Bolton has withstood weeks of character assassination at the hands of the Democrats and the media
Greg Burton, Atlanta
John Bolton has withstood weeks of character assassination at the hands of the Democrats and the media. His opponents have yet to provide credible evidence for any of their charges, so yes; he should be confirmed without further delay. He has earned it.
Greg Burton, Atlanta, GA USA

Mr Bolton is not only an excellent candidate because he is exactly what the UN needs now. The UN has been plagued recently with several scandals ('peace' soldiers in the Congo, bribery scandals, the 'oil-for-food' fiasco. The UN needs a housecleaning if it is to survive as an organization. Now is not the time for a diplomat who will try to talk the UN out of a crisis. Now is the time for an iron broom to clean out the garbage so the organization can regain its credibility.
Marcel de Vries, The Hague, the Netherlands

Bush and the neo-cons seem to pay so little attentions to the UN that the representative should be of little importance, yet the whole Bolton candidacy seems to have become a major issue. I believe that the reason for that is that Bush has been arrogant and stubborn and people want to see if he is going to get his way. I personally believe that Bush is proof that even democracies have flaws.
Lilian Ganamati, Greece

I have watched the unfolding drama of Bolton's nomination with a mix of frustration and hope. But I'm on a fool's errand. I'm frustrated that I hold out hope that republican Senators, just one or two, will actually break with the party-line and stand up for something important to America's and the world's future. But they can't; and they won't. That his nomination has been sent to the Senate without endorsement means nothing. But the Dems and the media are heralding this as something explosive; something of a blow to Bush. It's neither. Americans feel that it's appropriate to grant a president whatever he wants. Their DNA appears to contain no desire for, nor willingness to engage in sustained dissent for the good of the masses.
Tereza , MD, USA,

Bush UN choice grilled by Senate
11 Apr 05 |  Americas
Ex-US diplomats round on Bolton
29 Mar 05 |  Americas
Bush names hardliner as UN envoy
08 Mar 05 |  Americas


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific