Bush’s Far-Right-Hand Man


The Bush administration’s hard-liner on Iran, North Korea, China, and beyond is John R. Bolton, the neo-conservative undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. He is also a major voice among conservatives in seeking the demise of the United Nations.

In a typical statement on the U.N., this one pertaining to U.S. arrears, Bolton proclaimed, “Many Republicans in Congress—and perhaps a majority—not only do not care about losing the General Assembly vote but actually see it as a ‘make my day’ outcome. Indeed, once the vote is lost . . . this will simply provide further evidence to many why nothing more should be paid to the U.N. system.” U.N. bashing has gotten new life with one website,, running a petition drive demanding that the U.N. offices be kicked out of the U.S. for providing “safe harbor” for terrorists.

Before joining the administration, Bolton was a senior vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, HQ for the group of neocons ensconced in the Defense Department who are credited with devising Bush’s erratic and provocative foreign policy of shoot first, ask questions later. He worked in both the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, and not just in foreign-policy jobs. In 2000 he was spotted counting votes for Bush in Palm Beach.

Bolton supports formal recognition of Taiwan as an independent state, writing that “diplomatic recognition of Taiwan would be just the kind of demonstration of U.S. leadership that the region needs and that many of its people hope for. . . . The notion that China would actually respond with force is a fantasy.” In the ’90s, The Washington Post reported that Bolton was paid $30,000 for “research papers on U.N. membership issues involving Taiwan.”

In addition, Bolton is against the International Criminal Court, is a big fan of more Star Wars, led the administration in opposing the Biological Weapons Convention, and appears to be the point man in a reinvigorated policy against Cuba, accusing Castro of secretly developing biological weapons and sharing his findings with other nations. (There is no evidence for this.)

Additional reporting: Laurie Anne Agnese and David Botti

Archive Highlights