Bolton was frequently mentioned as undersecretary of defense for policy, which would have kept him in the center of administration debates, frequently opposing State. In some ways, the U.N. post moves Bolton out of a direct policymaking role, though his allies predicted he would retain a prominent voice.
Kirkpatrick, calling Bolton "one of the smartest people I've ever encountered in Washington," said much of his influence would depend on the personal relations Bolton has established in Washington. She noted that she was both a Cabinet member and member of the National Security Council, while Bush downgraded the position so the ambassador reports to the secretary of state.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the appointment of Undersecretary John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.
(Shaun Heasley -- Reuters)
Full Text: Rice announces the nomination of Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Asked if the United Nations had concerns about Bolton's history of sharply criticizing the world body, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the institution would welcome a tough reformer. "We do want to be held accountable," he said.
Security Council members said they expect that Bolton would have to moderate his views on the United Nations. China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said he was not concerned by Bolton's previous promotion of an independent Taiwan. "It's mainly the big boss that makes the agenda, not the small ones," he said.
Wang, who once oversaw China's weapons-proliferation policies, said that Bolton "seemed reasonable" in negotiating sessions. "My feeling is that, of course, his chemistry is different, but I think we can we work together."
Edward Luck, a U.N. expert at Columbia University, said that Bolton has been his favorite debating partner on U.N. matters. "He is very bright, capable and articulate," Luck said. "It just seems that this is an odd place for him to be deployed. He has little patience for the give-and-take of diplomacy."
Democrats acknowledge that Bolton is highly intelligent, but they have questioned his judgment. "My problem with you over the years is that you've been too competent," Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) told Bolton four years ago. "I would rather you be stupid and not very effective."
Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called the nomination "a disappointing choice and one that sends all the wrong signals."
Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not issue a statement of support. "Don't read anything into that," spokesman Andy Fisher said, though he acknowledged that Lugar had urged Rice to submit nominees who would have "wide support" and help build a "consensus on foreign policy."
Lynch reported from the United Nations.