Hearing on the Nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. Representative to the U.N.
Thursday, July 27, 2006; 10:49 PM
JULY 27, 2006
U.S. SENATOR RICHARD G. LUGAR (R-IN) CHAIRMAN
U.S. SENATOR CHARLES HAGEL (R-NE)
U.S. SENATOR LINCOLN D. CHAFEE (R-RI)
U.S. SENATOR GEORGE ALLEN (R-VA)
U.S. SENATOR NORM COLEMAN (R-MN)
U.S. SENATOR GEORGE V. VOINOVICH (R-OH)
U.S. SENATOR LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN)
U.S. SENATOR JOHN E. SUNUNU (R-NH)
U.S. SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK)
U.S. SENATOR MEL MARTINEZ (R-FL)
U.S. SENATOR JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. (D-DE) RANKING MEMBER
U.S. SENATOR PAUL S. SARBANES (D-MD)
U.S. SENATOR CHRISTOPHER J. DODD (D-CT)
U.S. SENATOR JOHN F. KERRY (D-MA)
U.S. SENATOR RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD (D-WI)
U.S. SENATOR BARBARA BOXER (D-CA)
U.S. SENATOR BILL NELSON (D-FL)
U.S. SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D-IL)
U.S. SENATOR JOHN WARNER (R-VA)
NOMINEE TO BE U.S. PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
LUGAR: This hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is called to order.
The committee meets today to consider President Bush's nomination of John Bolton to be United States ambassador to the United Nations.
This is the third Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which Ambassador Bolton has testified since his appointment less than a year ago. In addition, in February, he hosted a delegation of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that traveled to the United Nations.
I wished that all members of the committee had been able to make that journey to New York with us. On that occasion, Senator Coleman, Senator Voinovich and I had the opportunity to meet with a number of key individuals and groups involved in deliberations on United Nations reform.
The visit was especially informative on the complexity of the reform debate in New York and on the challenges faced by the United States delegation.
In the spring of 2005, our committee spend several weeks reviewing the nominee's qualifications for this post. Few executive branch nominees have ever received more scrutiny that Ambassador Bolton. By any measure, this was an exhaustive review, particularly for a nominee who, as has been acknowledged, is highly experienced in the subject matter he will be overseeing and who has been confirmed five times previously by the United States Senate.
In the end, despite two majority votes on the Senate floor, the nomination did not receive the 60 votes necessary to bring debate to a conclusion. President Bush subsequently exercised his authority to give the nominee a recess appointment.
We've returned to the nomination because the president has resubmitted the nominee for our consideration, and in doing so, he has expressed his view that Ambassador Bolton is important to the implementation of United States policies at the United Nations and to broader United States goals on the global stage.
The president's made clear that this is not a casual appointment. He wants a specific person to do a specific job.
We should recognize that the United Nations ambassador always is closely associated with the president of the United States and the secretary of state. They are responsible for what the ambassador says and does, and they can dismiss the ambassador if he does not follow their directives.
Consequently, there are few positions in government in which the president should have more latitude in choosing his nominee.
LUGAR: As we evaluate the nominee, we should not lose sight of the larger national security issues concerning U.N. reform and international diplomacy that are central to this nomination.
Our nation is confronted, as it was last year, by serious diplomatic challenges that will have a profound effect on U.S. national security.
At the heart of our efforts to resolve these issues is a basic question: Can the United States build relationships and alliances around the world that will give us the tools we need to protect our national security?
In almost every recent case, the Bush administration has embraced a multilateral dimension to problem-solving that recognizes that we need allies. And as we attempt to reverse the weapons programs of North Korea, we are depending heavily on the six-party talks that involve China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. As we attempt to stop the Iranian nuclear program, we've utilized negotiations carried out by Great Britain, France and Germany. And we have sought the U.N. Security Council votes of Russia, China and others.
Throughout our experience in Iraq, we've requested the help of countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and elsewhere to support the nascent Iraqi government, to help train its army and generally contribute to stability in the region.
As we search for ways to promote stability on the Israeli- Lebanese border, an international peacekeeping force is being considered as a possible solution.
In Afghanistan, we have turned some U.S. military missions over to our NATO allies, who are increasing their contributions.
In what may be the most important strategic diplomatic initiative undertaken by the Bush administration, the United States is seeking a ground-breaking partnership with India.
LUGAR: In each of these cases, and many others, success depends on the reserve of support that we can tap with our allies and our friends. It depends on the willingness of other nations to expand the options and resources that can be applied to solving problems that threaten our security.
The process of building international relationships cannot be reserved for times of crisis. It must be a constant preoccupation of any administration, and it must be a core diplomatic mission of our United Nations ambassador.
During the last year, Ambassador Bolton has shared with us his efforts to reforming the United Nations and his efforts to represent our nation in that forum.
We're pleased to have an opportunity today not only to examine his qualifications, but also to review the status of several crucial initiatives he is overseeing in New York.
President Bush has selected John Bolton, a nominee of experience and accomplishment, to be his spokesman and representative at the United Nations. Given the importance of this position, it's vital we evaluate the nominee fairly and expeditiously.
We look forward to learning how the nominee has worked on behalf of the president and the secretary of state during the past year and what he would do in coming years if he is confirmed.
Let me mention that the distinguished ranking member of our committee, Senator Biden, will be with us in the hearing in due course. He is at the White House presently, attending an important signing ceremony on the extension of the Voting Rights Act. And when he returns, obviously, we'll recognize him for the opening statement he might have presented at this moment.
We will proceed -- Senator Warner is here.
And I understand, Senator, you have come to introduce the nominee. And you're recognized. And we're delighted to have you.
WARNER: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It's indeed a privilege for me to come, and I wish to point out I was on time. I think you started early.
But, nevertheless, I very much wanted to join this morning. And I'll ask that my statement be placed into the record.
LUGAR: Placed in full.
WARNER: Because it was fortunate for me to have the opportunity to listen to your carefully prepared and well-delivered, very comprehensive statement in support of this nominee.
I would simply wish to add a personal note, Mr. Chairman. You and I came to the Senate about the same time, and we have often reminisced together about our opportunities this country has given us to observe history in the making.
WARNER: And we both started in the tail end of World War II, went through Korea, Vietnam and today.
And I would say, without any hesitation, it is my observation that our president is faced with a more complex framework of challenges than any president before us in contemporary history.
We're talking here today about the continuity of his representative in the United Nations. You very carefully and thoughtfully outlined: He is the president's choice. The president, as well as all America and all the world, have had the opportunity to see this fine man exercise his professional diplomatic skill in a very extraordinary way.
And now the sole thing that remains is the constitutional (inaudible) of the Senate to give its advice and consent.
I do believe, without any reservation whatsoever, that the Senate will and should give that advice and consent to this nominee, because he becomes an integral member of the president's national security team at a time when our nation is faced with these many complex issues.
So I wish you well, Mr. Chairman, as you guide this nomination.
I say to my good friend: Thank you for your public service and that of your family; and your resolve to carry on. Good luck.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Warner. We appreciate, as always, the wonderful cooperation our committee has with the Armed Services Committee that you chair. And you're most thoughtful to come over to make this statement on behalf of the nominee.
WARNER: Thank you.
LUGAR: I note the presence of Senator Dodd. And I mention Senator Dodd specifically because, in the absence of Senator Biden, the senator has asked that Senator Dodd might be permitted to make a statement at this time corresponding to the opening statement that I've made.
And so I'll recognize the senator for that purpose, and then we will recognize the nominee.
DODD: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I apologize being a couple minutes late coming over to the hearing.
And welcome to my good friend from Virginia. Senator Warner, always a pleasure to have you come by -- both senators from Virginia here sitting together this morning at the dais.
WARNER: I thank you, Senator Dodd.
I note that this hearing started on time, which is somewhat unusual.
DODD: That doesn't happen in the Armed Services Committee, does it?
WARNER: No, no, not at all.
DODD: Thank you very much.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, when the Senate considered this nomination last year, I strongly opposed the confirmation of Mr. Bolton to the position of United States permanent representative to the United Nations on both procedural and substantive grounds.
Mr. Chairman, I remain opposed to this nominee, and I'd like to explain why.
Before being nominated to this position in 2005, Mr. Bolton's own statements evidenced great skepticism and disdain for the United Nations and the multilateral diplomacy generally. Nothing he has said or done since assuming his current position in New York suggests he has altered his views on the United Nations or on multilateral diplomacy generally.
Mr. Chairman, I'm not one who has made the determination that Mr. Bolton hasn't changed his spots, so to speak, when it comes to his views on the usefulness of diplomacy in advancing the United States interests.
Some 30 of his colleagues at the United Nations with whom he serves have said as much.
In a recent New York Times article, one colleague characterized him as "intransigent." Another suggested that, "Mr. Bolton's high ambition are cover-ups for less noble aims, and oriented not at improving United Nations, but at belittling and weakening it."
DODD: A third has essentially written off working with Mr. Bolton. I quote him; he said, "He's lost me as an ally now, and that's what many other ambassadors who consider themselves friends of the United States are saying."
Mr. Bolton clearly has an aversion, in my view, to being diplomatic or to building consensus for U.S. position, and that is deeply troubling to me, particularly as we witness chaos erupting in Iraq and the substantial commitment of American resources and manpower being consumed to prevent full-scale civil war there.
And then I turned around to find a virtual explosion of other international crises around the globe and the United States hamstrung by fewer resources and options for responding to those crises.
When the committee considered Mr. Bolton's nomination last year, we heard unprecedented criticism from colleagues who served with him in the State Department. A number of them were appointees by the current president. Among other things, he was described by his colleagues as a bully and a bean-counter.
Now, I said at the time that Mr. Bolton's personality isn't really the issue as far as I'm concerned at all; there are lots of bullies in this town, and I suspect New York as well.
My objection isn't that he's a bully, but that he's been an ineffective bully and can't win the day when it comes -- when it really counts.
For example, prior to a vote earlier this month on the U.N. Security Council resolution intended to sanction North Korea for its provocative 4th of July missile launches, Mr. Bolton publicly assured anyone who would listen that he could get support for a resolution with teeth with a so-called Chapter 7 obligations. Turns out, of course, he couldn't. The resolution adopted by the U.N. Security Council fell well short of that.
Last September, Mr. Bolton told the House International Relations Committee that the negotiation of an effective human rights council was a key objective of the United States and that it was a very high priority and a personal priority of his.
High priority? I don't think so. There were 30 negotiating sessions of very critical issues to hammer out the framework of this human rights council, and Ambassador Bolton managed to attend only one or two of those sessions. In the end, the United States was one of four countries to vote against approval of the new U.N. human rights council.
When the score is tallied in the effectiveness of Mr. Bolton at the United Nations, I think he receives a failing grade.
There was a procedural dimension, as well, to my concerns with the nominee, as well. Last year, the administration refused to provide this committee with documents relevant to its deliberations concerning Mr. Bolton's conduct while serving as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs.
The Senate validated this committee's right and obligation to receive information it determined to be relevant by refusing to invoke cloture on the nomination until the administration honored those requests.
DODD: The administration chose not to do so and instead made the decision to give Mr. Bolton a recess appointment.
Specifically, documents were requested related to Mr. Bolton's use or misuse of NSA intercepts and his practice of advancing his own political agenda by overstating available intelligence. That information remains relevant, I think, Mr. Chairman, to this committee's consideration of this nominee. And therefore, Mr. Chairman, I would publicly restate my earlier request for that material.
We are told that we must not delay the nomination any longer; forget about getting additional information that is clearly relevant.
The Senate must confirm Mr. Bolton, his supporters argue, because of the ongoing crisis in Lebanon, and we need his strong voice in New York to deal with that crisis.
I would first ask what Mr. Bolton has done in his 12 months to avert any crisis in the first place. What did he do to push for key provisions of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 to be implemented; specifically those related to the disarming of Hezbollah?
Clearly, the answer is not enough, in my view. Had 1559 been implemented in full, Israel would not have been attacked and wouldn't be waiting -- or watching, rather -- Lebanon being destroyed in order to deal with a still-armed Hezbollah.
Mr. Chairman, I would then return to the point that I made earlier: namely, that Mr. Bolton has largely burned his bridges with his colleagues in New York, and isn't likely to be an effective diplomat when diplomacy is increasingly becoming the coin of the realm in protecting the advancing U.S. interests at this very unstable moment in our history.
Mr. Chairman, the administration should put the nation's interests first, in my view, and nominate an individual with strong diplomatic skills, who believes in diplomacy, rather than placing his conservative agenda by continuing to push for confirmation of an unsuitable nominee.
DODD: Now, I doubt very much, Mr. Chairman, that today's hearing is going to change many minds. But I stand ready to listen to Mr. Bolton respond to the questions of our colleagues, and hope that the committee would certainly give them serious attention.
And I thank the committee.
LUGAR: I thank the senator.
We will have a period of questions after the nominee's opening statements.
And I call now upon the nominee, John Bolton.
I'm pleased to have you here, sir, and ask you to proceed.
BOLTON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I have a prepared statement I'd ask be submitted to the record, and I just have a brief summary of that.
I want to thank Senator Warner for his kind introduction this morning before he has to leave.
I'm grateful, once again, Senator, for your introducing me to the committee.
LUGAR: Your statement will be published in full.
BOLTON: I'd also like to thank, Mr. Chairman, you and your colleagues for the support that you have given me over the course of the past year. Whether it is the attention this committee has focused on reforming the United Nations or the myriad of critical issues currently on the agenda of the Security Council, your work has helped to advance important policy goals of the United States.
I thank you for your help, and look forward to continuing and strengthening our close working relationship, if I am confirmed.
As I said earlier, I thank Senator Warner.
I'd also like to thank Dr. Kissinger, whom I'd hoped would be here today. We do have a letter that he was able to submit that perhaps we'll be able to read at an appropriate point.
I want to thank my wife, Gretchen, who's here again today for her love and support.
I want to thank my daughter, Jennifer Sarah, who's a junior at Yale this fall, who is pursuing her course on grand strategies by traveling through South America, studying the colonial policies of King Philip II of Spain, so she is unable to be here today.
The need for a strong and effective U.N. remains as powerful today as ever. As President Bush has declared, now more than ever the U.N. must play a critical role as it strives to fulfill the dreams and hopes and aspirations of its original promise to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
For close to a year now, I've had the privilege and honor to serve as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations. I've also had the privilege and honor to work with a fantastic team in our mission up in New York, and I cannot thank them enough.
If confirmed, I look forward to continuing my close working relationship with them, in addition to doing my utmost to uphold the confidence that the president, Secretary Rice and the Senate will have placed in me.
In the time I have before you today, I would like to discuss several of the most critical issues confronting the U.N. and the Security Council.
Mr. Chairman, we are all aware of the crisis and tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. The United States is exhausting all diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation.
With her recent trip to the region and then traveling to Rome to meet with the Lebanon core group, Secretary Rice has been very clear that our goal is to achieve a durable solution, one that strengthens the forces of peace and democracy in the region.
This does not mean, however, that we are ignoring the humanitarian impact of the immediate crisis. Indeed, just two days ago, Secretary Rice authorized $30 million in assistance to victims of the conflict in Lebanon. To meet the most urgent needs, the United States has also dispatched two large-scale medical deliveries.
The Security Council is also actively seized of the matter. We are working closely with other members to ensure that appropriate action is taken by the council.
Any action we take must recognize that the current conflict is a direct result of the terrorist acts of Hezbollah and Hamas and their state sponsors in Iran and Syria. Lopsided resolutions, such as the one the United States vetoed this month, would do nothing to promote a long-term solution and would only prolong the suffering of innocent civilian populations in the region.
BOLTON: As the secretary has noted, we must de-fang Hezbollah.
We appreciate the bold and courageous action of the Arab League in condemning Hezbollah for instigating this conflict.
As I speak, though, Hezbollah continues to operate in southern Lebanon with impunity, defying the will of the Security Council, as established in Resolution 1559.
We are working hard with others to bring about its full implementation and the full extension of its authority by the government over all Lebanese territory.
If that were done, then Israel would be less subject to terrorist attacks and the people of Lebanon would not be subject to the reign of terror that Hezbollah inflicts.
We are actively considering a variety of methods on how best to secure the implementation of Resolution 1559.
Some member states have called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. But we must ask our colleagues, "How do you negotiate and maintain a cease-fire with a terrorist organization, one which does not even recognize the right of Israel to exist?"
We are also considering the insertion of a stabilization force into the region, while considering important questions related to its scope and mandate.
These are all important issues currently under discussion by the secretary and in the Security Council.
The question of Israel response has come up as well.
Of course, it is a matter of the utmost concern to us, as President Bush has stressed, that civilian deaths are occurring. It is a tragedy. And I would not attempt to describe it any other way.
We have urged the government of Israel to exercise the greatest possible care in its use of force.
The legitimate exercise of Israel's right of self-defense is not the moral equivalent of the terrorist acts of Hezbollah. But all of these civilian deaths are tragic.
We hope that from this current crisis we can seize the opportunity to, once and forever, dismantle Hezbollah, restore democratic control by Lebanon over all of its territory and lay the foundations that would allow Israel to live in peace with its neighbors.
The Security Council is also actively seized with the proliferation threats posed by both Iran and North Korea. In the case of Iran, we are currently in the process of negotiating a resolution that will require Iran to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Firm and decisive action by the council is necessary because Iran has consistently rebuffed the diplomatic efforts pursued by our friends and allies in Europe.
It is critical that we succeed in these efforts. Iran's unrelenting pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a grave and direct threat to international peace and security.
This is particularly clear in light of the inflammatory rhetoric of Iran's leader, who recklessly calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, and who even questions the tragic events of the Holocaust.
BOLTON: I'm pleased to say that we have already taken firm action in the case of North Korea following their decision to violate several international commitments and launch seven ballistic missiles, including a long-range Taepo Dong-2, in the vicinity of Japan.
On July 15th, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1695, which demands that North Korea suspend all activities relating to its ballistic missile program, including a return to its moratorium on test launching.
The resolution also requires member states to cease all trade in goods and technology which might contribute to North Korea's missile or other WMD-related programs.
This resolution was the outcome of 11 days of intensive negotiations.
Bear in mind, when North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan's airspace in 1998, the response of the Security Council was a weak press statement. This time, however, we were able to bring along China and Russia to support a very strong resolution, even though they initially supported issuing yet another press statement.
The fact that both China and Russia supported a resolution, the first one on North Korea since 1993, cannot be lost on the North Korean leadership.
Mr. Chairman, I know that the situation in Darfur is also of particular interest to the committee. We continue to push hard to bring relief to the citizens of Darfur, where over 200,000 people have lost their lives and over 2 million have become displaced since 2003.
The United States remains committed to establishing a new and expanded U.N. force in Darfur by year's end.
Significant challenges, however, remain. Russia and China continue to voice opposition to a resolution with a binding Chapter 7 mandate. There is also the issue of the government of Sudan agreeing to a U.N. force in Darfur.
Significant efforts are under way in New York and other venues to overcome these obstacles. A U.N. technical assessment mission has returned from Sudan and is finalizing its report to the Security Council.
BOLTON: In the interim, we are working with our NATO allies to support the current mission on the ground in the form of planning, logistics, intelligence support and other help.
As President Bush has said, America will not turn away from this tragedy. We will call genocide by its rightful name and we will stand up for the innocent until the peace of Darfur is secured.
Mr. Chairman, let me now turn to the issue of U.N. reform.
The assessment I gave you in testimony before the committee two months ago broadly remains valid today. Some modest progress have been achieved since the world summit last September, including establishing a much-needed U.N. ethics office, strengthening financial disclosure requirements for U.N. staff members, protecting U.N. personnel from retaliation for reporting misconduct, and providing needed resources for oversight.
While these reforms are important steps in the right direction, we had hoped for more.
The goal now is to identify priority targets where progress can be made and take the necessary steps to demonstrate that the U.N. and its members states are fully engaged in launching what Secretary of State Rice has termed a lasting revolution of reform, one that will transform the United Nations into an institution fully capable of addressing the complex array of challenges now confronting us all.
To this end, the United States recently joined consensus on the adoption of several reforms relating to information and communication technology, budget implementation, financial management practices and improved reporting mechanisms, including increased public access to U.N. records.
These issues all speak to our attempts to change the "culture of inaction," the phrase used by Paul Volcker before this very committee when discussing the oil-for-food scandal. To change this culture, we are working to increase the transparency and accountability of the U.N.; not just to shine a light on the agencies or bodies which may be in need of reform, but to allow those that do work effectively to better advertise and market their expertise in ways that might serve as a model for others .
If confirmed, I pledge to continue working on this important issue.
Mr. Chairman, allow me briefly to update you on where we stand with regard to the new Human Rights Council.
We are still in the position of evaluating the council's first session, which recently wrapped up in Geneva. As you know, the United States did not vote for this body this past spring because, in our view, it did not go far enough to differentiate itself from its widely discredited predecessor.
While we have not yet made a decision on whether or not to run for next year's council, it gives us considerable pause for concern that this newly reformed body managed to adopt only one country- specific resolution against one of the U.N.'s 192 members: Israel. That the HRC had to call a special session to do so is even more disturbing.
BOLTON: This is, of course, highly disappointing, given the abuses being carried out in countries such as North Korea, Burma, Iran and the Sudan, to name a few.
As I noted last May, though, despite our disappointment that the new council is too similar to the old commission, the United States will continue to work with democratic delegations through our team in Geneva, which still attends its meetings, to advance our goals.
My colleague, Ambassador Tichenor, and his delegation have worked energetically to promote U.S. interests and values there, and will continue to do so.
Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, I want to just mention briefly the U.N. Democracy Fund, which was one of President Bush's initiatives. We have contributed $18 million of the $49 million so far in that fund. We're looking to this to develop new and different kinds of projects in the U.N.; not to follow the same patterns as before, but to be innovative and creative, working hard to that end.
I also want to mention the work that we've done in connection with HIV/AIDS. We were very pleased last month that First Lady Laura Bush could address the conference, the special session on HIV/AIDS, that the General Assembly had. And she was able to confirm that the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which is a very innovative five-year, $15 billion plan, is well under way.
Mr. Chairman, I have had the opportunity to hold direct discussions with almost every permanent representative from other member states at the U.N. on a one-on-one basis. During this period, I've done my best to work with others to advance our national interests.
I do believe important advances have been made. In cases where we would have like to have seen even further progress, we now have greater clarity on the differences that we must still work together to resolve.
Whether through the remaining tenure of my appointment, or longer, if confirmed, I pledge to continue working with this committee.
I thank you for your consideration and am happy to answer any questions you or your colleagues may now have.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Ambassador Bolton.
We'll begin a round of question of 10 minutes for each member. And I'll begin the questioning.
I want to mention that...
PROTESTER: (OFF-MIKE) from the District of Columbia. I have no representation on this panel or any say.
LUGAR: The committee will be in order. The committee will be in order.
PROTESTER: I oppose the nomination of this man, John Bolton, as U.S. ambassador. He is a disgrace to the United States. He is not...
LUGAR: The committee will stand in recess until police can restore order.
PROTESTER: He should not go to the U.N. He is not representative of our interests. The man will only...
LUGAR: The committee will continue the hearing.
Let me just mention that Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Kristen Silverberg is with us today. And I want to acknowledge her presence and we appreciate that.
I want to take a few moments of my time to read the letter that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has written on behalf of the nominee.
He said: "Mr. Chairman, when John Bolton's nomination for the position of ambassador to the United Nations was before the committee, I wrote a letter, together with a number of other former secretaries of state, urging confirmation.
LUGAR: "I did so because I believe that the president should be given wide discretion in selecting his advisers. Since then, I've had the opportunity to observe Ambassador Bolton perform his duties under a recess appointment, skillfully and with dedication.
"He has had to deal with a wide range of issues, from Darfur to the recent resolution concerning North Korea's missile tests.
"He's handled these assignments effectively and with great articulances (ph). I've observed him at a number of official functions. This enabled me to note that his relationship with his colleagues has been professional and mutually respected.
"It would be unfortunate if he were to be prevented from continuing these tasks, especially as a new General Assembly is about to begin and a number of crises, such as the Middle East crisis and the Iranian nuclear weapons crisis, are on the verge of coming before the United Nations.
"For these reasons, I respectfully urge the committee to deal favorably with the president's recommendation and confirm John Bolton."
And it's signed, "With warm regards, Henry Kissinger."
PROTESTER: I object! I am a citizen of the United States of America!
LUGAR: The committee will be in order.
The committee will stand in recess until police can restore order.
PROTESTER: John Bolton does not speak for me or those who want to uphold justice! We are becoming (inaudible)! We are the powerless! We are (inaudible).
LUGAR: The committee will resume the hearing.
Ambassador Bolton, in your written testimony, you note that in 1998, when North Korea conducted a missile launch over Japan's airspace, the Security Council issued only what you called "a weak and feckless press statement."
Now, following North Korea's most recent provocative missile launches, the council was able to work together to adopt a resolution, number 1695, which condemns North Korea, calls upon them to stop all tests.
How significant is this resolution? And what can you tell us about Russian and Chinese cooperation on the matter and how you obtained that?
BOLTON: Mr. Chairman, I think this is a significant resolution; the first since 1993 to deal with North Korea.
And when we started discussions in the Security Council on July the 5th, the first business day after the launches, it was the initial position of Russia and China that they wanted to deal with this, again, with a press statement.
BOLTON: As I know you know and the committee knows, in the hierarchy of things that the Security Council can do, the lowest is a press statement, intermediate is what we call a presidential statement that the president of the council reads reflecting the views of the council members, and then the most important, of course, is a resolution of the Security Council.
During the course of the discussions, I think we and many other members of the council made it plain that circumstances of these missile launches put us in a very different position, that we wanted a strong and binding resolution.
So the Russians and the Chinese moved away from the press statement idea and agreed that they could consider a presidential statement. Nonetheless, we persevered because we thought it was important that North Korea know unequivocally how isolated it was internationally.
We continued to work in these negotiations with other members of the council and concerned governments in the region. And ultimately, on July the 15th, we did get a unanimous Security Council resolution that, in our judgment, is fully binding on North Korea.
It demands -- that's the word the council used -- demands that North Korea suspend all activity relating to its ballistic missile program. And it requires -- that's the word the council uses -- requires member governments not to trade with, to supply to or to procure from any of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs any materials that could be useful to them.
I think that this is a strong signal to the North Koreans. We have been hoping and working to try and get them back into the six- party talks. Secretary Rice is in Kuala Lumpur now, also trying to advance that region in meetings that she's holding. And we'll know better, I think, after those discussions, what the next step will be.
LUGAR: Well, I thank you for that comment.
I think it was a significant statement, and one which, obviously, as you have reflected, I think, modestly in your statement, has had an impact upon the North Koreans.
Now, how things will progress we shall see. But in terms of the United Nations aspect of this, why, this clearly was progress over anything we have seen with regard to the North Korean problem.
And I would just reflect anecdotally, because I know that Senator Coleman and Senator Voinovich and I want to acknowledge our appreciation to you for your having us at the United Nations in February, the month that the United States presided over the Security Council.
I was honored because you asked me to speak to the council, and even more honored that the council was all there.
And I think that that is in respect for you as the president of the council, and in respect for our country, and for your coordination with that group, as well as a pretty large audience for the Security Council.
And then you made it possible for us to see the leaders of the so-called Group of 77, the people handling the business arrangements, which are very infinitely complex for the U.N. vis-a-vis New York and the real estate and all the nitty-gritty which is behind the scenes, but which is a part of your responsibility as our ambassador to the U.N. but, likewise, an American citizen working with people in New York.
LUGAR: So I mention all of these situations because we have had at least some eyewitness experience in working with you there.
Let me ask about Iran for a moment.
Iran's influence in the Middle East and its support for Hezbollah is unquestionable, as we have seen in recent days. Its use of Syria as a conduit and puppet-master for Hamas is also not in doubt.
Yet we're hearing that Iran's neighbors and fellow Muslim states are growing nervous with each Iranian attempt to strengthen its role in the region, through Hezbollah or through whatever means.
How are such concerns playing out, in your judgment, at the United Nations, as you take a look at the membership of the Security Council, that may be called upon to take action in regard to Iran?
BOLTON: I think, Mr. Chairman, as I mentioned in my statement, the Arab League meeting about 10 days ago issued a very important statement on the activity of Hezbollah and the aggression that it conducted against the civilians in Israel.
And there is, I think, larger and larger understanding of the fact that Hezbollah really is a surrogate for Iran, due to its financing of perhaps up to $100 million a year or more, and that the notion that Iran and this extensive terrorist network it supports, together with its activity designed to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, in our judgment, and to increase the range and accuracy of its ballistic missile force, shows that Iran is a growing threat in the region.
And this plays out in various complex ways, but I think it has helped us in a number of respects as we have considered how to deal with Hamas and the occupied territories and Hezbollah; how to deal with the implementation of not only Resolution 1559, which calls for the removal of all external influence from Lebanon, from the arming of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias to trying to extend the control of the democratic government of Lebanon over the entire territory to implementation of Resolution 1595, investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri -- that many of these things are tried together, that the growing closeness of Syria and Iran is a problem for the region, the coordination that those two governments have in their support for Hezbollah and Hamas is a problem that goes much more broadly than a problem in the context of the Arab- Israeli concern.
LUGAR: You've touched upon the U.N. reform efforts in which you have been heavily involved, on which you've spoken frequently. Where is the reform business likely to go at this point? And what sort of timetable can you envision for at least another significant or substantive debate to occur on the reform issues?
BOLTON: Well, we're expecting what we call the mandate review that was required by the outcome document of last September, the last September summit, adopted by over 150 heads of government, to continue this fall.
There's a very significant amount of work that needs to be done. The work that has been done so far has not brought us very far, despite many, many meetings. There's not been one single mandate out of 9,000 mandates identified by the secretariat that have been imposed on the secretariat over the years. Of these 9,000 mandates, not one has been eliminated, not one has been consolidated. We've run into considerable obstacles.
But this is a high priority for us, for a number of other countries: the group we call JUSSKCANZ -- not probably the best name for it, but it's Japan, the United States, South Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which if you string all that out gives you the acronym JUSSKCANZ -- the European Union and other countries.
But it's been slow going. And I think it's a measure of that culture of inaction that former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker spoke about.
But we're continuing to press it. We will, through the remainder of this year.
LUGAR: Just having visited with the Group of 77 leaders, as I've mentioned our visit in February, it appears that at stake here for many nations -- maybe as many as 100 nations -- is the fact that they contribute very, very small amounts of money in terms of dues to the U.N., but the current organization offers what we would call in local politics some patronage; that is jobs.
People are sitting there because at least there was an attempt made, I suppose, to apportion these jobs around broadly.
Likewise, these mandates -- they are much like congressionally mandated reports that go on and on forever. And someone at the State Department keeps churning out hours and hours each year because we can't quite every bring it to an end.
LUGAR: But in the case of 9,000 of these, this, to say the least, encumbers considerably the bureaucracy, efficient or inefficient as it may be.
Now, this is a monumental task. I'm wondering, is the task not perceived in the same way by some other nations in addition to the United States? In other words, is there tolerance relief for this kind of, sort of, gross manipulation of the system to continue forever? Or is that the price of having 150-plus nations aboard?
BOLTON: Well, I hope it's not the price.
And I think this brings us to the question we're going to have to continue to pursue, given the disjunction between voting power in the General Assembly and contribution.
I think when I testified a couple of months ago, I recounted the vote that we had first in the General Assembly's Fifth Committee and then in the General Assembly itself in connection with the package of reforms suggested by the secretary general. These were reforms coming out of a report he submitted called "Investing in the United Nations." We didn't support each and every one of the reforms, but we did support the thrust of them. The secretary general said, in his words, that what we needed was a radical restructuring of the entire secretariat.
And some of the key elements of the secretary general's reforms, many of which we consider to be first steps -- important, but first steps -- were put to a vote, and overwhelmingly, the G-77 outvoted the major contributors. The vote, I think, was in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly about 122-50; 120-plus countries that voted against the secretary general's reforms contributed something like 12 percent of the total assessed budget. The 50 countries, which included the United States, which voted in favor of the reforms, contributed 87 percent of the budget.
So that was a pretty significant indication of the opposition to the reform agenda.
LUGAR: I thank you very much, Ambassador.
I'm going to recognize now the distinguished ranking member, Senator Biden.
And let me just mention, I recognized Senator Dodd to make his statement, but nevertheless, I don't want to in any way to inhibit your participation. If you want to proceed with your statement, please do so. And then with the question period.
BIDEN: I understand. I read Senator Dodd's statement. I happen to agree with it. And my statement is not substantially different, so I'll not take the time to do that. But I thank you.
And by way of explanation to my colleagues and to the ambassador, I was at the signing of the Voting Rights Act.
BIDEN: It's been the only constant in my entire political career. That's what got me involved in politics and, quite frankly, I didn't see how I couldn't be there. And I apologize for the tardiness.
My concerns continue to relate to substance and not so much style, Mr. Ambassador.
One of your predecessors, Mr. Holbrooke, was no wallflower at the United Nations. But he was very effective. He pulled off what seemed at the time a fairly nearly impossible feat. And that is, while we were in arrears about $1 billion, he got a reduction in dues for the United States and helped settle that operation.
And my overriding concern will overlay the questions I have -- relate to my continued conviction that you and, I must admit, your boss, the president and the vice president -- I don't think they in this, quote, "year of diplomacy" really think diplomacy is all that consequential.
My concern is that at the moment of the greatest need for diplomacy in recent history, we are not particularly effective at it.
And it seems to me that there is a fundamental -- I was going to say lack of understanding; that would be presumptuous -- a fundamental disagreement on the role and necessity of diplomacy.
I thought that there was a great line that Tom Friedman had in one of his articles. I think it was the end of last week in the Times. He said, "We must understand that American power is most effective when it is legitimated by global consensus and embedded in global coalitions."
And so I'd like to pursue my questions in the spirit of whether or not the value that you place in diplomacy -- you're playing in the biggest diplomatic field we have; maybe not the single most important, but you're a major, major player in diplomacy.
And sometimes it seems to me that what you say and do are at odds with even what the secretary is saying. Let me speak to that quickly.
In the Financial Times last month, in London, you gave an interview. And it was asserted in the Times that you stated that, quote, "You're not much of a carrots man." You went on to say, "It would be a mistake to think these negotiations" -- referring to Iran -- "are the first step toward some kind of grand bargain."
You went on to say, "Our experience has been, when there's dramatic change in the life of a country, that's the most likely point at which they give up nuclear weapons."
And at the same time, the secretary was announcing -- just 10 days earlier -- the United States was going to encourage Iran to take a positive path, and benefits of this path would go beyond civil nuclear energy and could include progressively greater economic cooperation.
BIDEN: And so my question is: Did your statements -- were they cleared by the White House -- your comments about negotiations with Iran -- or were they as much of interest to the White House as they were to me?
BOLTON: I think they were consistent with our policy.
I might say, that was at a breakfast I had with three reporters. And if read the stories written by the other two reporters, you'll see, I think, a somewhat different take on the context in which those comments were made.
What I said was in the context of the grand bargain exactly what Secretary Rice has been saying. And I said we were offering -- we were making the offer that Javier Solana presented to the Iranian negotiator on June 6th and that they had two roads ahead of them -- the Iranians did. One would be to accept this very, very generous offer, in which case they could find themselves in an entirely different relationship with the United States; or they could reject that offer, in which case they would find themselves increasingly on the road to international isolation.
And you can see, based on the recent meeting in Paris, again, between Solana and Larijani, that the Iranians have simply declined to give a clear answer despite every effort at persuasion that our European allies were able to make with them. That led to a meeting of the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council in Germany and in Paris the next day, recognizing that in substance Iran had rejected the offer and authorizing us in the Security Council to go forward with the resolution I had discussed in my statement that would require Iran to suspend all of its uranium- enrichment and plutonium-reprocessing activity.
That's the pattern that Iran has followed for over three years now, of purporting to enter into negotiations and then rejecting them.
And, you know, there was a very telling comment made by Hasan Rowhani, the former chief negotiator for Iran in the nuclear field. He said -- and this was reported, I guess, about three months ago now -- that Iran had used the cover of its negotiations -- his word -- the "cover" of the negotiations with the E.U.-3 to perfect their uranium- conversion technology at their Isfahan plant. And that that's why the Secretary Rice and the other foreign ministers, in effect, said that they weren't going to allow the Iranians to extend this discussion forever; that they wanted an answer in weeks, not months. And when the answer came back as a non-answer, we were authorized to proceed in the Security Council.
BIDEN: Did we make a mistake joining the three European countries in pursuing these negotiations?
BOLTON: No. This was a decision clearly designed to eliminate tactical differences that had existed between us and the Europeans that Secretary Rice authorized right at the beginning of her tenure as secretary of state.
And it was intended, by closing those tactical differences in particular, to bring about their support if required for action in the Security Council. And that judgment has proven correct.
BIDEN: So you think that their support is necessary for us to be able to effectively respond to Iran's intransigence?
BOLTON: Well, I think that's what's proving to be the case. And I think we've seen in the negotiations on the resolution -- which I regret to say, we have not yet concluded -- that we have stuck very close with what we call the E.U.-3: Germany, France and Britain.
BIDEN: But I guess my point is: Do you think sticking close to the E.U.-3 so we are not divided, we are not the odd man out -- do you think that is an important diplomatic objective?
BOLTON: I think it always has been.
And I think, as I mentioned earlier, we had tactical differences with the E.U.-3 previously. There were never any strategic divisions among us on the overall objective of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapons capability.
There had been differences as to how to achieve that. That's correct. And I think Secretary Rice, over a year and a half ago now, moved to bridge those tactical differences and has succeeded.
BIDEN: How important is it, on many of the things that are on your plate now that are going to get -- I think the plate's going to get more full -- how important is it that particularly our European allies and the United States are on the same page?
BOLTON: I think it can be very important. And it's something we work hard to achieve.
In the context, for example, of Lebanon and 1559, we work not only generally closely with our European allies, but particularly closely with France, where we have, I think, accomplished a number of things in the Security Council, not just on 1559, but 1595 as well, that have put pressure on the government of Syria to fully withdraw from Lebanon, not just its military forces, but its intelligence services as well; put pressure on Syria to truly recognize that Lebanon is an independent state; to exchange ambassadors and to move to demarcate the border and take other steps.
These are part of the assignments that I have on a daily basis in New York.
BIDEN: Well, one of those assignments was 1559. You didn't negotiate it, but you inherited it.
BIDEN: And during your tenure heading up the council, what steps did you take to put on the agenda the two parts of 1559 that seemed to be totally ignored; that is the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, and the extension of the Lebanese army into the region along with the border? Did you put those up on the agenda?
BOLTON: Yes. There were, I think, at least two presidential statements by the council, one of which actually for the first time mentioned Hezbollah by name as one of the militias that was being supported by Syria and by Iran. And also the adoption of a resolution that called on Syria to fully exchange -- to exchange full diplomatic missions with the government of Lebanon and, as I said, to demarcate the border.
These were several of the things we've done to carry through.
Now, a lot of what we need to do is done not just in the Security Council. I wouldn't pretend that that's the only forum for applying pressure to Syria and Iran or for mobilizing support to help the democratic...
BIDEN: But they didn't call for disarming of Hezbollah. I may be mistaken. My understanding is they did not call for actual implementation of the second two critical pieces of 1559.
BOLTON: Well, I think in each case we reaffirmed 1559, and that's part of pressuring Syria, I think in connection with 1595 on the Hariri assassination as well, to continue the diplomatic efforts that we're able to do.
There's no U.N. force that's going to make Syria do any of those things.
BIDEN: No, but there is the ability, if we had, let's say, a year ago, let's say we had pushed and worked closely with the Permanent 5 on the Security Council to bring in a force to help -- an international force like we're trying to do right now.
I mean, what we're doing right now is what 1559 was supposed to do. 1559 was supposed to have three parts.
One, when the Syrian army left, everyone -- you, I, all of us -- knew that there'd be a serious vacuum created. That's why the next two pieces were critical. We knew that vacuum would be filled by Hezbollah if someone didn't move in. We knew the Lebanese army didn't have the capability to move in. And we didn't do a thing. We just sat around our thumb in our ear like we thought something was going to happen other than this vacuum being filled by Hezbollah.
My question is, was there any action taken to generate the same kind of consensus and support for bringing in, which we're trying to do right now? We're trying to get a consensus to bring in an international force that can shoot straight, that can sit along the Israeli border. And I assume part of what we're doing -- I hope the heck we're doing -- is coming up with initiatives as to how we are going to help, either through the French, through NATO or through other means, to train up a Lebanese army that can actually ultimately supplant that force.
So you got Israelis there. We want Israelis out. The Israelis want out. There's going to have to be an international force in its place. And then there's going to have to be Lebanese army in the place of that.
What has been done along any of those three lines, which are being done now, in the last year?
BOLTON: Well, I think much of the work that has to be done to strengthen Lebanese institutions is being done on a bilateral basis directly between the United States and Lebanon, between the European Union and Lebanon, in order that a variety of components of the Lebanese government will be stronger.
BOLTON: I think, for example, that we've done a significant amount, both in New York and bilaterally, to strengthen institutions of the Lebanese justice system, which are very important in extending authority.
But there are a variety of things that were done in New York, specifically at the suggestion of the Lebanese government, that were communicated to us and France and others that we followed through on that I do think have had a significant impact.
BIDEN: Well, maybe we can come back to that. I'm over my time.
I just would suggest -- and I don't want to hold you accountable for the administration's non-U.N.-related activities -- my understanding is, and we checked this, that for example the Iranians put five times as much money into Lebanon as we did during this period. I saw precious little action taken in any concerted way to deal with their judicial system. But I'll come back to that later.
But I thank you very much for your time, and I apologize for going over.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Biden.
CHAFEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As you said, we have a crisis and tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. And without a doubt, this is an extremely important area in the world: energy-rich, all the religious areas that are important.
And in addressing that, you said that, "We are actively engaged in New York in identifying lasting solutions to bring about a permanent peace in the Middle East. To do so, however, requires that we have a shared understanding of the problem. The United States has a firm view that the root cause of the problem is terrorism, and this terrorism is solely and directly responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today."
And you're a brilliant man. That statement doesn't make any sense. Terrorism is a device. There's got to be something deeper for the root case.
Can you go a little deeper?
BOLTON: Well, I think the statement really refers to the conflict in Lebanon.
Now, I think the real root cause is the absence of a fundamental basis for peace in the region. And I think that striving to get to that point is the objective of our diplomacy now; not to simply acquiesce and a return to the status quo ante, but to see if there's not a way to turn the hostilities that are now going into shifting the basis on which we really deal in the region.
And that's why we have resisted calls for an immediate cease- fire, which has the risk of simply returning to the status quo ante.
Nobody is under any illusions about the complexity of the problem.
BOLTON: But I think that we need to use the current circumstance as a fulcrum to try and move toward a longer-term solution.
And that does require, I think, addressing very directly and not sweeping under the rug the support that regimes like Syria and Iran give to terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
CHAFEE: Could you get any deeper? It's just terrorism? How about a little history of terrorism in the region? Where does it go back?
BOLTON: I think that that's why the effort we want to make in Lebanon, as Senator Biden and I were discussing, through 1559, that the full implementation of 1559, which is to have a democratic government of Lebanon in full control of its territory, and to get Hezbollah, that says it wants to act like a political party in Lebanese politics, in fact to do that and give up the course it's been following, which is to have one foot in as a political party and one foot in as a terrorist group.
If Hezbollah really carried through on the things that it's said publicly about being a legitimate political party in Lebanon and not being an armed state within a state, then I think you'd see a very different situation there.
That alone is not the solution. I don't pretend that it is.
I think you've got, in the case of Syria, an authoritarian country...
CHAFEE: Mr. Ambassador, this is a very complex problem, and it's a conflagration right now. And you said, "The root cause of the problem, we have to get to it" -- that's what you said -- "in order to have a permanent peace."
Is there anything deeper than it's just terrorism to the root cause of the problem in the Middle East? These are your words.
BOLTON: I think in addition is the fact that some elements have still not acknowledged the right of the state of Israel to exist. That's why the peace process that's been going on for 30 years now is still incomplete. Israel still has not been able to achieve full peace agreements with many of its neighbors. And in the case of Iran, you have a government that continues to threaten to wipe Israel off the map.
That's one reason why Secretary Rice, in the meeting in Rome, was trying to get this broader basis to have this wider discussion, to address the possibility of something more comprehensive.
But as you said, these animosities are complex; they go back a long way.
The question for us -- the diplomatic question for us is can we take the current circumstances in southern Lebanon in particular and not simply say, "Let's have a cease-fire that goes back to the situation before a month ago," but can we now use this -- can the other Arab states that have joined in in their declaration in the Arab League expressing concern about what Hezbollah did -- can we now move this process dramatically forward?
That's why this is an opportunity at the moment.
CHAFEE: When we had the ambassador to Iraq, our ambassador, Ambassador Khalilzad, before the committee, he said that "shaping the Middle East is the defining challenge of our time."
Do you agree with that?
BOLTON: I think it's certainly one of the most important challenges of our time. I think, reflecting my own background -- we all have a background -- the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains another challenge.
But it's, really, the tying in of those two challenges in the Middle East. If you look, particularly, at Iran and the risk that Iran itself poses and the risk that failing to deal with Iran adequately would have as an incentive for other governments to turn to pursuit of weapons of mass destruction that would make that region even more volatile than it is now.
CHAFEE: And does that shape of the Middle East include a viable, contiguous Palestinian state, living side by side in peace with Israel?
BOLTON: Absolutely. I think that is -- we're focused now on the problem of Lebanon, but just before that, there were difficulties in the occupied territories as well.
And that's precipitated by the role of Hamas, which itself remains a terrorist group that doesn't recognize the state of Israel.
So that is something that, I think, we hope, the administration hopes that, as part of an effort for resolving the larger issues, we're certainly not going to lose of sight of it.
It's very much on Secretary Rice's mind, as she traveled to the region, met with Abu Mazen, even in her brief trip, and was discussed in Rome as well.
CHAFEE: And you notice I said "contiguous?"
What has the United States done about that vision of a contiguous Palestinian state?
BOLTON: Well, I think a lot of our emphasis has been -- before the election of Hamas was to try and get to pursue the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. They're all going to have to live with whatever outcome they come up with. And there are a variety of different proposals to deal with the fact that Gaza Strip is in one place and the West Bank is in another.
But I think our interest is in not one particular way of resolving that conflict, but of trying to help the parties find something that would be mutually satisfactory.
That has all, as with many other things, been enormously complicated by Hamas.
CHAFEE: I suppose -- would you agree with me that many of our allies who you work with daily would say that "back to the root cause" of the problems in the Middle East are associated with our failure to have any progress on this viable, contiguous Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel?
BOLTON: I think they would, and I think we would say essentially the same thing. There's been no lack of interest in the United States government for 60 years now in trying to resolve this problem, but it's obviously difficult.
That's why even as the hostilities continue in south Lebanon, this is a time that we need to look at broader solutions that could well make progress on the Palestinian front as well.
I think that's something we should very much have in mind. I know the secretary does as she works on the diplomacy in the region.
We obviously have it in mind in New York, where discussions about Lebanon occur simultaneously with discussions about the occupied territories.
CHAFEE: I might disagree with you on the effort put behind the rhetoric to that end.
But back to the shape, if I take you at your word it includes this concept of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel. What else does the shape of the Middle East look like?
I mean, this is a very proactive pronouncement, "shaping the Middle East is the defining challenge of our time." I'm curious. What's it look like?
BOLTON: I think it's very important for the governments in the region fully to renounce support for terrorism and to find a way to persuade them to stop pursuing weapons of mass destruction. I think it's complicated by sales of technology from places like North Korea and China into the region.
And I think that's one reason why the notion of convening the core group in Rome the way the secretary did is very important. There are a lot of elements at play here, and unless we're willing to look at some of these causes that lie behind the immediate violence, a secession of hostilities here will simply postpone another violent reckoning to a few months or so down the road.
And I don't think we should accept that. I think we have to look at the possibility of a kind of arrangement in the region that will lead to longer-term stability instead of just fixing the immediate problem.
CHAFEE: Well, once again, it's a little frustrating, trying to get an idea of what this shape looks like. It started with the regime change in Iraq, and we've seen our challenges associated with that, and then the failure of the road map and now the conflagration, as I said, in southern Lebanon.
But it's difficult to get an idea of what the administration has in mind. And you're our witness, so I'm asking you if you could give me some idea of what unfolds from here.
BOLTON: I do think it's important, if you look at the case of Lebanon, that if the steps that had been taken toward the implementation of a full, viable democracy in Lebanon were to continue -- if, for example, in addition to having not just the free and fair election of a Lebanese parliament, but the free and fair election of a Lebanese president, if you had the security institutions, the police, the prosecutors and the courts, able to function independently of external influence, if you had the government exert its authority over the full reach of Lebanese territory, I think that would be a significant step forward that would be visible to others in the region.
We know from conversations that the efforts to establish a viable democracy in Iraq and the efforts in Lebanon have an influence in places like Syria, which has a literate and educated and aware population, and where people not just in the diaspora but in Syria itself are saying, "Well, if they can vote in Lebanon and they can vote in Iraq, why can't we vote in Syria, too?"
That's a powerful influence over time. And it's something that we should continue to foster.
CHAFEE: I know my time's up.
One quick question: You said the Chinese and North Koreans are selling arms into the Middle East. Do we have evidence of that? The Chinese in particular?
BOLTON: Yes, this is -- and especially disturbingly in the area of ballistic missile technology, which in a volatile region obviously makes things much worse.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Chafee.
SARBANES: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador, how high a priority do you place on getting a peacekeeping force up and running in Darfur?
BOLTON: A very high priority.
SARBANES: This is going to be a U.N. force, is that right? You're quoted as saying, "We think the sooner the U.N. takes control of the mission in Darfur, the better."
BOLTON: That's correct.
SARBANES: Now, the U.S. is very substantially in arrears with respect to peacekeeping dues at the United Nations. Is that correct?
BOLTON: I wouldn't say "very substantially in arrears."
I think part of this -- part of the calculation comes from the way in which our budget cycle operates, where we will pay the bulk of our assessments in what's called the CIPA account, Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities, at the end of this year, because of the congressional and administration budget cycles. So that as the U.N. defines arrearages, which become arrearages 30 days after the bill is paid, there are outstanding balances which hopefully will be -- when Congress is able to act on the appropriations bill, which I'm sure they will, will be paid before the end of this calendar year.
SARBANES: Well, I have figures that indicate that we're almost a trillion dollars in arrearage on peacekeeping operations at the United Nations.
BOLTON: I can't believe that's right.
SARBANES: $1 billion, I'm sorry, not $1 trillion. $1 billion.
SARBANES: Yes. $966 million.
BOLTON: Right. I think that's in part due to the nature of the budget process, as I've just described it.
SARBANES: What part of it is due to that, in your opinion?
BOLTON: I would have to get you that exact figure.
SARBANES: Well, how important do you think it is that we be abreast of our -- how can we go in and ask or push for the U.N. to assume peacekeeping operations when we're not paying out for our peacekeeping assessments?
BOLTON: Well, I think we are attempting to pay up for our peacekeeping assessments. The nature of the way the assessments come in, the way the budget cycle works in the United States don't mesh. That's a problem with other countries, as well.
And I don't think, I would have to say, in my experience, that our situation with the arrearages in the peacekeeping account has not been a factor in the discussions in New York on rehatting the force currently in Darfur and making it a U.N. peacekeeping mission.
I think everybody's aware of the arrearages, but I don't think that's a factor in any of the negotiations. At least, I have not encountered it myself, and I'm not aware that anybody else has raised it.
SARBANES: So you think the fact that we're behind -- it's not just peacekeeping, we're also behind on the regular budget, as I understand it?
BOLTON: That's correct.
SARBANES: And you don't think that, sort of, inhibits your ability to function?
BOLTON: I'd have to say, quite honestly, I do not.
SARBANES: So you don't regard it as a matter of high importance to correct it?
BOLTON: I didn't say that. No, I didn't say that.
You asked me if it inhibited my activity, and I said it did not. But we do regard it as a matter of high importance. That's why the president's budget requests full funding of our assessments and why we consider it a priority.
SARBANES: On July 24th, you were quoted as saying that, "The idea of regional rotation with respect to the secretary general is not one that U.S. Ambassador John Bolton is buying." Is that correct?
BOLTON: That sounds like something I've said.
The president, on July 11th, was quoted as saying, "We're really looking in the Far East right now to be the secretary general."
What's the U.S. policy on this issue?
BOLTON: Well, I think the president at that time was speaking in response to a question about the potential candidacy of Jordanian Prince Zeid, their permanent representative in New York.
And he was essentially saying that's where the bulk of the activity is. But it reflected no change in our position that we want the best qualified person wherever that person may come from.
It is the case, as was indicated in the straw poll that we took in New York on Monday for secretary general in the Security Council -- so far, there are only four candidates announced, endorsed by a member government, and they are all from Asia.
SARBANES: So you feel your statements are consistent with the president's?
BOLTON: Yes, I do.
SARBANES: When the president is interpreted, at least in the Financial Times, as saying, "Asia's claim appeared to be increasingly firm after George W. Bush, the U.S. president, last Tuesday appeared to concede the principle of regional rotation. We are really looking at the Far East right now to be the secretary general."
BOLTON: That was the Financial Times characterization.
And the White House has developed and issued press guidance that makes it clear that what I just said, that the president was responding to a question about Jordanian Prince Zeid and that our policy remained that we wanted the best qualified person, and that the statements are consistent.
SARBANES: When you first went up to the U.N., you sought to delete the references to the Millennium Development Goals from the outcome document, is that correct?
BOLTON: What I sought was to eliminate an ambiguity that had developed over the course of years about that term, which I'd be happy to explain here at greater length, if you'd like.
SARBANES: When the president went to speak at the U.N., he specifically enforced some Millennium Development Goals, is that not right?
BOLTON: That's exactly right.
And the ambiguity that we corrected, in fact, in the course of negotiating the outcome document was as follows.
The Millennium Development Goals, as they're frequently called, were originally written in the Millennium Declaration, which was the outcome document that came out of the 2000 summit in New York.
Those goals were endorsed by the United States and by all the member governments. And that was during the Clinton administration and were endorsed by the Bush administration shortly after it came into office, as well.
Subsequent to the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, the U.N. Development Programme and other U.N. agencies took those goals and attempted to put them in quantifiable terms. Those efforts at quantification were not endorsed by all member governments, and specifically not by the United States. And yet over time there developed an ambiguity as to what one meant when one used the phrase "Millennium Development Goals."
In the negotiation of the outcome document, we made several efforts to eliminate the ambiguity. And ultimately, all of the member governments accepted a definition in the outcome document for Millennium Development Goals that said, "These are the goals adopted in the Millennium Declaration of 2000."
BOLTON: So, obviously, that was something we had accepted and that President Bush had previously endorsed, even before his speech in New York last September.
SARBANES: I want to address this budget cap issue at the U.N., which I understand you pressed very hard for.
In a column recently in The Washington Post, Sebastian Mallaby wrote, "Not many reformers at the United Nations believe that the budget threat achieved anything. To the contrary, Bolton has so poisoned the atmosphere that the cause of management renewal is viewed by many developing countries as an American plot."
In fact, the cap's now been lifted, has it not?
BOLTON: That's correct.
SARBANES: You told the committee in May of last year...
BOLTON: May of this year, probably.
SARBANES: ... I'm sorry, May of this year: "I think the worst option is that the G-77 comes in, let us say, in the next week, and adopts a resolution that says 'the spending cap is hereby lifted,' period."
Isn't that pretty much what eventually happened?
BOLTON: The spending cap was lifted without substantial reform being achieved, that's correct.
I might say, the spending cap was developed as an idea originally that something that could be put in place for about three months, because of our hope that there would be such progress on mandate review that that would be reflected in sufficient changes in the budget that we wouldn't want to adopt a one-year budget for 2006 and not have the option to change it.
And that, obviously, didn't work out.
SARBANES: You, of course, have seen the New York Times article just a few days ago: "Praise at Home for Envoy, but Scorn at U.N." That article says, and I quote it now, "Over the past month, more than 30 ambassadors consulted in the preparation of this article, all of whom share the United States goal of changing U.N. management practices, expressed misgivings over Mr. Bolton's leadership."
The article quotes Peter Mauer, the ambassador from Switzerland, who characterized the American approach as "intransigent and maximalist."
And an unnamed ambassador who is said to have close ties to the Bush administration remarked: "My initial feeling was, 'Let's see if we can work with him.' And I have done some things to push for consensus on issues that were not easy for my country. But all he gives us in return is, 'It doesn't matter. Whatever you do is insufficient.' He's lost me as an ally now, and that's what many other ambassadors who consider themselves friends of the U.S. are saying."
What's your response to that?
BOLTON: Well, look, I am honored to work with the other ambassadors in New York. I think we have effective professional relationships. I think people are motivated by their national interests and policies. And a number of ambassadors came up to me after that article and said they thought it was unfortunate, because it certainly didn't reflect their views and they hadn't been contacted.
BOLTON: But look, I don't think it's useful to respond to stories that quote anonymous people.
In my daily relationships with the ambassadors, I treat them with respect. They treat me with respect. I think we get the job done.
SARBANES: Well, you didn't get the reforms done, did you?
BOLTON: We faced substantial opposition to the reforms. I think I've described some of the reasons why. I think we have to continue our efforts. There's no question about that.
SARBANES: Did the JUSSKCANZ group -- after you appeared before this committee and made statements about forming that group and working with them, were there any objections or protests lodged with the State Department regarding your statements about the JUSSKCANZ group or its proposal on mandate review?
BOLTON: I think that a number of countries that were discussed didn't realize that there would be as much attention to it as we had gotten. But as I said to all of them later, in making amends, that what happens in the United States is, you go into hearings in Congress and a lot of these things come out.
SARBANES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Sarbanes.
ALLEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing.
Ambassador Bolton, thank you for your service and your willingness to run this gauntlet again, through this hearing process.
And I'm hopeful, at the end of this hearing process, that we'll be able to exercise our advice and consent and actually have a vote, up or down, on your nomination. And I think that sort of fairness has not been accorded to us or to you. And I hope, at the end of this, we will have an up or down vote on the Senate floor, rather than an obstruction.
You have been successful in many areas in your tenure as our ambassador to the United Nations.
ALLEN: Rather than blame the United States for North Korea for launching missiles, I would blame first North Korea, and secondly the country that has the most influence in sustaining North Korea, and that is the People's Republic of China.
You have and we have worked with our friends and allies, the Japanese, to get us as strong a resolution as could get through without China vetoing that.
Insofar as Syria is concerned, you have led an effort after the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, to work with other countries -- obviously, with France taking the lead so far as getting the Syrians out of Lebanon.
And then the United Nations had their resolution, which we sponsored with the French, 1559, which still needs to be enforced.
As far the -- and I do want to get to that -- insofar as the reform of the United Nations, you tried to get the United Nations, particularly the Human Rights Council, to be reformed. But here we have China and Cuba on the Human Rights Council until the year 2009. That is the sort of lack of credibility a Human Rights Council would have to have such countries actually on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
And I know you tried as best you could and you're going to continue. And the U.S. will continue in that regard.
Now insofar as our mission in the United Nations with regard to the current conflict in southern Lebanon and Resolution 1559 from the Security Council, could you share with us the challenges that you face, we face, that Israel faces, and a realistic expectation of getting real action -- action that will have an impact on this situation and enforcing Security Council Resolution 1559.
BOLTON: Well, there are many aspects to it, but it seems to me the fundamental aspect is at, as long as Hezbollah continues to maintain its capacity as a state within a state, that 1559 cannot be implemented.
It's not realistic to think that you can have an effective government where there's an armed group operating within the state functioning as if it's its own government -- controlling its own territory, using its own weapons, and functioning at the behest in many cases of foreign governments, given that Iran, by at least some reliable estimates, contributes $100 million a year to Hezbollah.
BOLTON: They're the paymasters, and they're calling the tune.
And I think the continued existence of Hezbollah as an armed force, contrary to the authority of the government of Lebanon, is something that's a risk, obviously, not only to our interests and Israel's, but it's just fundamentally contrary to the interests of the Lebanese people.
I said earlier, I think in partial response to one of Senator Chafee's questions, that Hezbollah has a choice to make here. If they want to be a legitimate political party, they can operate like a legitimate political party. But they can't be in a situation as they are now where they have ministers in the Lebanese government, but maintain a military capacity, up to and including anti-ship cruise missiles, separate from the Lebanese government.
So the responsibility to implement 1559 fundamentally has to address this fact. There are many other aspects, as I mentioned earlier; getting Syria to internalize the fact that Lebanon is going to be an independent country, that it has to exchange ambassadors with Lebanon, which you only do between two independent countries. It has to demarcate the border and get its people, its intelligence services, out of trying to run parts of the Lebanese government.
That is what the fact that we're in hostilities now in southern Lebanon may give us the opportunity to do, because of Hezbollah's terrorist attacks on Israel. We need to seize the advantage of this opportunity. And one fundamental change that has to come, one of the road maps we have to follow, is to get 1559 implemented.
ALLEN: All right. We can look at all the details of exchanging ambassadors between Syria and Lebanon. This recent statement, though, I think everyone has to have some sense of the global picture, the realism of this war that we're engaged in against these radical Islamic terrorists.
Al Qaida issues this statement, and it shows that Al Qaida is joining in with Hezbollah and Hamas, and they're all joined in, with statements that: This jihad will last until our religion prevails, from Spain to Iraq. Of course, they've also hit in Indonesia and the Philippines, as well.
He said that the regimes, some Arab regimes in the region -- referring, undoubtedly, to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan -- are accomplices to Israel and that they're trying to get these martyrs to fight all our enemies.
This is a global war.
ALLEN: Now, you take Hezbollah, with these thousands and thousands and thousands of rockets -- you mentioned the phrase "Iran are their paymasters and they're calling the tune." Hezbollah funds and arms -- is armed by Iran, is that correct?
BOLTON: And by Syria, yes.
ALLEN: And Syria.
All right, where does Iran get these rockets? Do they manufacture them, build them themselves, or do they get them from some other country?
BOLTON: Some are their own; some -- the C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles -- are purchased from China.
ALLEN: Do we know when the most recent purchases from China were?
BOLTON: I don't know myself. We may.
ALLEN: Do you know if China or any other country is presently selling rockets to Iran or missiles?
BOLTON: There's no doubt a very extensive Chinese cooperation with the Iranian ballistic missile program. That is one reason why repeatedly, year after year, numerous Chinese entities are sanctions by the U.S. government for violating the provisions of our law that deal with the transmittal of materials and technology involved with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles to terrorist states.
ALLEN: Well, as we're dealing with Iran and the nuclear aspect -- the nuclear capabilities of Iran, clearly China and, in particular, Russia are very important. Iran is important as they are the funders, the supporters, the directors of Hezbollah. Without Iran, Hezbollah would not have the resources nor the armaments to be firing these rockets and however many thousands they have into Israel.
Do you see them -- being of potential of use or more of an impediment to a unified United Nations and unified world, precluding Iran from potentially getting nuclear weapons?
BOLTON: Well, I think this is something we're trying to work with China on now, in particular in the context of the Perm 5 agreement that said that if Iran failed to take up the offer, the very generous offer that was made to them that we would move the sanctions in the Security Council.
BOLTON: And we have not yet achieved the first step in that resolution.
But I think it's critical that China, as soon as possible, frankly, internalize the same nonproliferation objectives that we and most other developed countries have -- not because we're trying to impose sanctions on China, not because we're trying to deny them commercial sales, but because they need to appreciate, as we have come to appreciate, that the sales of these kinds of technologies and weapons, ultimately, are threatening to them as a destabilizing force in the world as a whole.
ALLEN: Well, the reality is that these sales, whether it's from China or any country to Iran, and Iran funding Hezbollah, to some extent potentially other terrorist organizations in the world, and then you have the secretary general in May of this, Secretary Annan, issued a recommendation for a global counterterrorism strategy to be considered by the General Assembly.
Now this should be something that the entire world, from Spain to East Asia and everywhere else in the world ought to be concerned about, with the statements we get from Hezbollah, from Iran, statements you hear from Al Qaida, with a deadly intent to carry out these martyr, radical Islamic attacks, killing innocent men, women and children everywhere.
Now, what is the status of these consultations on this strategy to have a global counterterrorism approach?
BOLTON: The short answer is that consultations continue, but one of the principal difficulties we have is that we can't reach agreement on a definition of terrorism, which makes it hard to develop a strategy.
We have made many efforts both at the time of the summit in September and since then, and the problem is there are still a number of governments that think that some kinds of terrorism are acceptable under certain circumstances versus our view that no form of terrorism is ever acceptable.
ALLEN: Thank you. My time is up. And I look forward to hopefully voting for you on the Senate floor. And thank you for your service.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Allen.
DODD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And, Ambassador Bolton, welcome to the committee.
Mr. Ambassador, as most of my colleagues here will tell you, I've been on this committee for 25 years, and my normal operating procedures is to be supportive of nominees that come before this committee. I didn't go over the numbers here, but I'm of a mind that presidents, as a general matter, ought to be able to have their choices to serve in high government positions. That's been my view.
In fact, to the extent I've ever been criticized votes I've cast in those matters, it's usually been because I've supported nominees that many of the people on my side of the dais here have disagreed with. But I firmly believe that, generally, that's the case.
And I take no great pleasure at all in disagreeing with this nomination. It's not something that I enjoy engaging in normally.
But I feel as though I must, and I regret that it seems to me the issues that provoked the opposition I raised a year ago are still with us today to some degree. And I want to go over some of them, if I can with you, in the time we have here. Some of them may seem like ancient history to some people, but I think they're still very important.
There are four issues, basically. One has to go back with the NSA intercept issue. And I realize that's a matter that was raised a year ago. I realize that's not a matter entirely in your control, because this is a decision made by others other than yourself. And I'm going to give you a chance to respond to that.
The second set of issues has to do with the matter raised again a year or so ago but has to do with the attempts to fire analysts at the CIA.
The third issue has to do with decreasing support for the United States among our allies, which is a more current question.
And the coordination efforts that you must maintain as an ambassador to the United Nations with the Department of state.
Some of these issues have been raised already by some.
DODD: The first issue: the NSA intercept issue. Why do I still bring that up? Well, I happen to believe that as a matter of right this co-equal branch of government through appropriate channels should be able to see and make judgments about matters involving intelligence questions.
I've never suggested that all members of this committee or all members of the United States Senate ought to have access to that information. We have appropriate committees and appropriate members who ought to be able to see this information.
On 10 different occasions, involving 19 individuals, you requested to see the transcript of these intercepts. Nothing inappropriate about that at all, in your previous position (inaudible). And I respect that.
What I disagree with and what concerns me is you also, I'm told -- you can correct me if I'm wrong here -- requested to know the names of the Americans who were part of those conversations.
While it's not extraordinary to request that information, it seems to me it was important to find, have it fleshed out, who the appropriate members of this body, as a co-equal branch of government, with an Intelligence Committee, two chairmen who should have access to it.
We went through a lengthy process, myself, Senator Biden and others, writing letters to Ambassador Negroponte, to Secretary Rice and others, trying to resolve this matter; in fact to the point of even suggesting, "We'll provide the names and you just tell us whether or not these people were on the list or not."
First of all, let me ask you whether or not -- because I think you've answered this to me, but I want you to be on the public record. As I recall, you have no objection -- correct me if I'm wrong here -- that the names of these 19 individuals, U.S. citizens, be revealed to the appropriate members of the United States Senate.
Is that still your position?
BOLTON: I have no objection. Can I just explain what the circumstances are there?
DODD: Why don't you just answer that question first and we can move on? I'll give you a chance to respond.
DODD: You have no objection to those names being revealed?
BOLTON: Personally, I do not. No.
DODD: Well, then, why don't you explain -- let me ask you this: What was so important in that information that you needed to know the names of those individuals in addition to the actual content of the conversations?
BOLTON: Let me just say, as I said at the beginning of the hearings 15 months ago, I guess they were, from my personal point of view, I'd have all of this in public. Because, frankly, I think if all of these -- if all of these things were out in the open, they would be a lot easier to explain. I feel a little constrained now even talking about the intercept issue in public, but I will try and answer your question to the best I can.
DODD: I'm not going to ask you to reveal any names...
BOLTON: I understand. I know you would not do that.
But let me just explain how this works. And every day -- usually twice a day, sometimes more than that -- I get packages of intelligence material, and I did in my previous job -- as do senior officials in State and Defense and the NSA.
I'm a voracious consumer of intelligence. I read as much as I can, I make no bones about it. I, in my previous jobs, and lots of other senior officials see the results of intercepts. And they're written up in various different ways. But it is the policy of the NSA not to put in the intercepts the names of Americans, OK...
BOLTON: ... and that includes American entities...
BOLTON: ... companies as well as individuals.
They follow different patterns, and I couldn't begin to explain why. Sometimes it'll say that material is going on, and then it will say "a named American person."
Sometimes it says "a named government official." Sometimes, and I've seen this for myself, it will say "the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations" -- not hard to figure out who that is.
But there are times when as you're reading along the material, trying to understand what it really means, it can be enhanced if you know the name of the American involved.
So what I did on 10 occasions -- you're quite right; 10 occasions -- four times in 2003, three times in 2004, and three times in 2005 -- following procedures that are set up for precisely this purpose, made a request of the INR bureau of the State Department to receive the names of the -- what is called the minimized names. That's the whole process -- this is called "minimization."
The INR, pursuant to procedures, passed that request along to NSA, which pursuant to their procedures, I believe in all 10 cases, agreed to provide the name.