Democrats, who won the US elections on November 7, promise to intensify their pressure on Republican President George W. Bush to make him change the foreign policies of the USA. Dem Senator Harry Reid, who is to chair the majority at the upper house of the Congress, prepares to conduct heated debate on the subject of the war in Iraq. Nancy Pelosi follows Reid claiming the US military presence in Iraq should be cut from the current 140,000 to less than 110,000 servicemen before the autumn of 2007.
Democrats spread their initiatives to the personnel of the US administration too. One of the well-known diplomats, 57-year-old Republican John Bolton may fall victim of the endeavor. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, “a hawk,” was among those who in 2003 insisted on the existence of weapons of mass destruction supposedly possessed by Saddam Hussein. The information, which subsequently proved to be false, became one of the major reasons of the war against Iraq. Only two years ago Mr. Bolton stated that the USA should continue searching for WMDs in Iraq. However, no one knows where they could be or if they could ever be at all.
John Bolton does not enjoy great popularity in the US democratic camp. Dems consider him to be an inflexible politician, prone to military actions taken against other countries. George W. Bush made Bolton the US Ambassador to the UN in August of 2005. Bush avoided the approval of Bolton’s candidacy at the Senate, where the scandalous discussion continued for five months. The UN was also concerned about Bolton’s appointment: the official repeatedly emphasized his negative views about the organization, claiming that it was useless.
In Russia, Bolton receives mixed reactions too. Many Russian diplomats and agents of special services describe the US official as a professional and a person who keeps his promises and precisely expresses his thoughts. On the other hand, many Russian politicians dislike Bolton’s obstinacy and strong determination to make others follow his instructions. John Bolton also surprised his Russian colleagues with rather harsh statements and unexpected ideas.
Two congressmen, Democrat Earl Blumenauer and Republican Jim Walsh distributed a letter Tuesday calling upon George Bush to replace Bolton with Rep. Jim Leach on the position of the US Ambassador to the UN. Blumenauer said that he had never met a more diplomatic politician than Leach. Walsh continued that it was impossible to imagine another American who could be better prepared to representing USA’s interests in the United Nations. Their nominee, Jim Leach, has been holding membership of the House of Representatives for 30 years. Leach lost the November 7 elections only because of his intention to count on honest struggle.
President Bush asked the Senate two weeks ago to prolong Bolton’s authorities which expire on January 31, 2007. The Director of Russian and Asian Programs of Washington Institute for Global Security, Nikolai Zlobin, told the Vremya Novostei newspaper that the Senate was not going to consider the issue before Christmas holidays. This question, the expert said, was one of many others that complicate the relations between executive and legislative branches of US power after the November 7 elections. “New senators are going to come to the upper house of the congress in January. They will look into the matter of a new person to take the position of the US Ambassador to the UN,” Zlobin said.
Jim Leach, 64, prefers not to share his future plans. However, he perfectly suits the position that he can take. Leach appeared in the diplomatic corps in 1968. He worked at the US mission at the United Nations in the 1970s. Leach currently chairs the subcommittee for Asian-Pacific affairs at the committee for international affairs at the House of Representatives.
Unlike Bolton, Leach treats UN’s current difficulties delicately. He is also critical of the US-led war in Iraq. In 2002 Leach was one of the six Rep congressmen who voted against the resolution allowing the use of military force against Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov