Bolton Survives Battle to Be Arms-Control Czar
Sands, David, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Seven Senate Democrats broke party ranks yesterday to confirm John Bolton as the Bush administration's arms-control czar in the most contentious confirmation battle since that of Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Democrats mustered 43 votes against Mr. Bolton, an outspoken critic of past arms-reductions accords, one more than the number who opposed Mr. Ashcroft and the highest negative tally yet against one of President Bush's nominees.
All 50 Senate Republicans voted to confirm Mr. Bolton as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, as did Democratic Sens. John B. Breaux and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Zell Miller of Georgia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
Mr. Bolton served in the Reagan administration's Justice Department and in the State Department under Mr. Bush's father.
Conservative lawmakers hailed the Bolton nomination as proof the Bush administration would adopt a new approach to arms control, taking a more skeptical view of multilateral treaties and organizations than the Clinton administration.
Mr. Bolton, who most recently worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as a foreign policy scholar, has the "courage of his convictions," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican.
Mr. Helms noted that Mr. Bolton's nomination had been backed by four previous arms-control agency chiefs and by three former secretaries of state: Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker III and Lawrence Eagleburger.
"I think there are some who don't like this nominee because he will capably implement President Bush's own policies," Mr. Helms said.
But Democrats in the four hours of Senate debate Monday and yesterday said a nominee who hailed the 1999 rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and favors a U.S. missile defense plan even if it conflicts with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty should not be given the government's most visible arms-control post.
"I see this as a significant step backwards," said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat.
Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he did not question Mr. Bolton's honesty or intelligence, but contended he was not the right person for the job.
"I have always voted against [nominees] who oppose the avowed purpose of the position to which they have been nominated," Mr. …