John Bolton to Step Down

AP is reporting that John Bolton will resign as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when his recess appointment expires.

This is a shame. Mr. Bolton, often a sharp critic of the U.N., is also its greatest supporter. Who would work ceaselessly for the reform and credibility of an institution, if he did not envision a central future role for it? Mr. Bolton has also been an able promoter of U.S. policy and interests within the U.N., no mean feat. As Sen. George Voinovich said in July:

Should the president choose to renominate [Bolton], I cannot imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists – and to other nations deciding whether to engage in this effort…

I do not understand why President Bush is permitting Mr. Bolton to leave his post without attempting renomination. According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House “want[ed] to avoid unnecessary confrontation with the Democrats as the administration attempts to rescue its tattered mission in Iraq.”

UPDATE: Roundup of blogospheric reactions.

Pejman Yousefzadeh: “Once the meme about ‘Bolton the Bully’ got started, few, if any ‘neutral’ arbiters of public opinion were willing to call shenanigans on it.”

Roger L. Simon: “Long Live Pusillanimity!”

Michelle Malkin: “We are losing a staunch, devoted defender of America’s interests at the U.N.” Also a set of links to past coverage of Mr. Bolton.

Little Green Footballs: “Not the best way to start a week.”

Webloggin: “All the blame can’t be placed on Democrats. Republicans failed to gather support when it came time to push him over the edge.”

Bountyhawk: “Bolton has remained diplomatic but firm in his negotiations. No one could have done the job better, in my humble opinion.”

Power Line: “It’s a sad day for U.S. foreign policy…”

Claudia Rosett: “the UN does not deserve to be dignified by ambassadors of the stature of John Bolton.”

Captain’s Quarters: “So far, it doesn’t look like the last two years of the Bush adminstration will have room for tough-minded fighters like Bolton and Khalilzad.”

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