John Bolton

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

John Bolton  - Chairman of the National Rifle Association International Affairs
Former United Nations Ambassador under President George W. Bush, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Chairman of the National Rifle Association International Affairs Subcommittee

John Bolton is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School and worked in private practice as a lawyer before becoming active in politics. As a prominent Neoconservative, Bolton worked in the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush in the Justice and State Departments. Bolton was George W. Bush’s Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from 2001 to 2005, before being appointed to the position of Ambassador to the United Nations. His nomination was filibustered by Senate Democrats, forcing Bush to make a recess appointment. Democrats, as well as many Republicans, were opposed to Bolton because of his belief that, “There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States.” Bolton served as ambassador until December 2006, just before his recess appointment would have expired. He now serves as a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is a frequent guest on Fox News.

Controversial Actions and Statements

Controversial Actions and Statements:

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

On April 13, 2012, in a speech at the NRA Convention in St. Louis, Bolton stated, “You’ll remember, Jimmy Carter told us that we were suffering—we the American people—were suffering from a malaise. It turned out the only malaise we were suffering from was Jimmy Carter. And Ronald Reagan took care of that. I think we’re gonna take care of another malaise this November.” Bolton then compared President Barack Obama’s foreign policy to that of Ronald Reagan, stating, “Ronald Reagan was proud to be an American. How ‘bout that in a president for a change? We’ve got instead today, we’ve got our first post-American president in Barack Obama. He’s above all that patriotism stuff. He doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. He says he does, but he doesn’t … Ronald Reagan believed deeply in American sovereignty. In his administration, U.S. foreign policy was not made at the United Nations. That’s not the approach of President Obama or today’s left in America. They’re constantly talking about giving up our sovereignty ... They do it almost expressly to undercut our Constitution … You know as well as I do, that once Obama is reelected, if that happens, and never has to face the voters again, it’s gonna be Katie-bar-the-door on his efforts to undermine our sovereignty and key constitutional freedoms.” Finally, Bolton expressed concerns about U.S. missile defense, stating, “The problem with Obama is that he sees American strength as provocative. When in fact it’s the exact opposite. It’s American weakness that’s provocative. And we have an American president who specializes in it.”

Conspiracy Theory | Republican Party (GOP) | Foreign Policy

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

In September 2011, National Rifle Association President David Keene announced the creation of an International Affairs Subcommittee under the NRA’s Legislative Policy Committee and appointed Bolton as chairman. Explaining why he picked Bolton to lead the committee, Keene said, “He may not be in the State Department anymore, but he’s as dedicated to preserving the Second Amendment as any NRA member and will be advising us on strategy as we confront our opponents in this newly dangerous forum.” The forum Keene was referring to is the United Nations. Keene has theorized that a small arms treaty being considered by the UN is designed to “destroy private gun ownership” in the United States. Bolton himself has suggested that the Obama administration is seeking to “use an international agreement as an excuse to get domestically what they couldn’t otherwise.”

Conspiracy Theory | Foreign Policy

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

During a speech at the 2011 annual National Rifle Association convention, Bolton said that President Barack Obama has “disdain for the American people.” He also said that the President is “using [the drug war] in Mexico, and the use of drugs in our own country, not to combat the illicit narcotic, but to use it as a foundation to argue for stricter gun controls at the federal level.”

Conspiracy Theory |

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

In January 2011, Bolton called for the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) to be removed from the Department of State’s list of Foreign Terror Organizations at a conference hosted by MEK in Brussels, Belgium. According to the Department of State, “During the 1970s the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran and killed several US military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. Supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran. In April 1992 conducted attacks on Iranian embassies in 13 different countries, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas.” MEK has also been accused of committing atrocities against Iraqi and Kurdish civilians while the group was allied with Saddam Hussein, and some Iranians refer to the organization’s leader, Masoud Rajavi, as “the Pol Pot of Iran.” When MEK attempted to ally itself with the populist 2009 Green Movement to remove Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office, Green Movement leadership rejected their overture, writing, “Countless first-rate analysts, scholars and human rights organizations—including Human Rights Watch—have determined that the MEK is an undemocratic, cultlike organization whose modus operandi vitiates its claim to be a vehicle for democratic change.” The Department of Justice has argued that challenging an organization’s designation as a terrorist group amounts to criminal material support of terrorism under the Supreme Court decision Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.

Repressive Regimes | Foreign Policy

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

When asked what he would have done differently as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Bolton said, “We don't know if, logistically, it would have been possible to do anything differently at the time.” Then-Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) called Bolton’s answer, “amazingly passive.”

Foreign Policy

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

During 2005 confirmation hearings regarding Bolton’s nomination for United States Ambassador to the United Nations by President George W. Bush, Members of Congress alleged that Bolton had distorted intelligence for political purposes a number of times while serving as Undersecretary of State from 2001-2005. In once instance, Bolton was accused of exaggerating Cuba’s weapons capability while trying to terminate the position of an intelligence officer who corrected Bolton’s misstatements. Government officials told TIME that Bolton frequently pressured the CIA to produce reports confirming his own views. One CIA official stated, “Whenever his staff sent testimony, speeches over for clearance, often it was full of stuff which was not based on anything we could find.” This type of behavior led then-Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) to call Bolton “the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be.” Fifty-nine former American diplomats (who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations) sent a letter to U.S. Senators opposing Bolton’s nomination. Senate Democrats filibustered the nomination and Bolton ended up receiving a recess appointment to the position by President Bush.

Political Corruption | Foreign Policy

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

A line in President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address that made the case for war against Iraq pointed to a supposed attempt by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to acquire nuclear material from Nigeria. This now-discredited intelligence was promoted by Bolton in his position as Undersecretary of State. Days before Bush’s speech, the Department of State branded the intelligence (which had also been rejected by the CIA) as “dubious.” While Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction was a key justification for the War in Iraq, no such weapons were ever found.

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

In 1988, then-Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-CO) said, “Mr. Bolton's approach to maternity leave is: get pregnant, get interrogated, get fired,” after an incident in which Bolton denied a subordinate at the Department of Justice extended doctor-recommended leave after a difficult pregnancy. Bolton also threatened the woman with dismissal and legal action.

Women’s Rights

John Bolton (Chairman of International Affairs Subcommittee)

Lynne Finney, a former legal adviser to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), alleged that in 1982 or 1983, fellow USAID employee Bolton screamed that she was fired after she refused to lobby to loosen restrictions on the sale of baby formula in Third World countries. Finney refused, citing studies that demonstrated that formula was killing babies in Africa because it was often mixed with unclean water. Bolton reportedly told Finney “that Nestlé [a maker of formula] was an important company and that [Bolton] was giving [Finney] a direct order from President [Ronald] Reagan.” Finney discovered that Bolton did not have the authority to fire her, but blamed him for her reassignment to a basement office.

Political Corruption | Poverty
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