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David Bosco
A few thoughts on Bolton: He is not a neoconservative. He has little interest in exporting democracy or human rights or in restructuring other societies. He supported the Iraq War but his preference was to withdraw soon after Saddam was ousted rather than engage in nationbuildlng
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
He is deeply skeptical of certain multilateral institutions, which he believes tend to obscure the realities of power, but he does not believe the United States should abandon treaty commitments, including its commitments to NATO allies.
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
In a weird way, Bolton takes international law and its effects very seriously. It's precisely because he believes international law is powerful (particularly in democratic societies) that he spent so much time and effort opposing the International Criminal Court.
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
But Bolton is not averse to some forms of multilateralism. During his time at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration, he worked hard on establishing the Proliferation Security Initiative, a multilateral partnership that has been reasonably successful
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
As UN ambassador, he labored over and took great pride in Security Council resolutions that he helped design. He sees little value in many UN processes but he has a grudging kind of respect for the Security Council itself, based as it is on the realities of international power
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
On the ICC, Bolton can even claim a certain prescience. Many ICC supporters said his concerns about the court eventually targeting the United States were absurd. But we're now on the cusp of an investigation that will include US conduct in Afghanistan and at certain 'black sites'
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
For some insight into Bolton's thoughts on how the US should respond to ICC scrutiny, see this recent WSJ op-ed
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
But maybe the critical element in Bolton's long foreign policy resume is that he's never really been a principal. He worked at DOJ and USAID and then was an assistant secretary of state, an undersecretary, and UN ambassador (but not, if I remember correctly, in the cabinet).
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
One fascinating relationship to watch will be Bolton-Haley. Bolton knows UN processes inside and out and might be expected to have a heavy hand in terms of managing diplomacy in New York.
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
This 2005 profile on Bolton tries to get at some of the nuances in his worldview.
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
But none of this changes the main focus of concern: his willingness to use military force to dismantle nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. Bolton is a conviction player, and there's no reason to think his rhetoric on this is hollow.
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No Old Dudes #2020 22 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
Ok, cool! So he pushed relentlessly for an invasion with the same certitude as his neoconservative peers, but wanted to leave a total power vacuum behind. So a rational, clear-eyed realist. Got it.👌
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David Bosco 22 Mar 18
Replying to @tradingPolitics
He might argue that we ended up with a vacuum/chaos anyway, so why not one with much less blood and treasure spent. For him removing dangerous leaders and their access to WMDs is focus. everything else (including wellbeing of people in affected countries) is secondary.
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David Bosco 23 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
In his autobiography, Bolton seeks to separate the choice to invade Iraq and depose, which he sees as justified, and the choice to stay heavily involved in Iraq. "There is a compelling argument that we should have handed authority back to the Iraqis as soon as possible.."
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Adam Lammon 24 Mar 18
Replying to @multilateralist
But would he have derided the inevitable growth of Iranian influence in Iraq after the US pullout? This notion of wholesale withdraw in Iraq seems to contradict his commitment to countering and overthrowing the Iranian gov't
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David Bosco 24 Mar 18
Replying to @AdamLammon
that's a great question--i don't know how he would answer that.
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