December 10, 2016

Likely Deputy Secretary of State Pick Jeopardizes US Security, Science Group Says

Statement by David Wright, senior scientist and co-director of the Global Security Program

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2016)—President-elect Donald Trump reportedly will nominate John Bolton for deputy secretary of state—a move that would hurt U.S. leadership in the world and weaken Americans’ security, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by David Wright, senior scientist and co-director of the Global Security Program at UCS.

“John Bolton’s past statements and government experience demonstrate that he lacks the judgment, diplomatic skills, and global view of important international issues that he would need to be an effective representative for the United States.

“In 2005, a bipartisan group of more than 100 U.S. diplomats took the highly unusual step of writing a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to urge that it reject Mr. Bolton’s nomination to be the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations (UN). The diplomats stated that ‘his past activities and statements indicate conclusively that he is the wrong man for this position’ and that ‘Given these past actions and statements, John R. Bolton cannot be an effective promoter of the U.S. national interest…’

“The Senate did not approve his nomination, but George W. Bush gave him a recess appointment of a year. In a second letter at the end of that year, the diplomats stated his tenure at the UN ‘has confirmed our misgivings about his probable ineffectiveness and his tendency to alienate others.’ They noted that ‘On many occasions, Mr. Bolton’s hard core, go-it-alone posture prevented an outcome at the UN that would have better served U.S. interests’ and that his ‘unilateralist approach has alienated the bulk of the diplomatic community and cost the United States its leadership role’ on key issues. Mr. Bolton stepped down at the end of the year when it became clear he would again not be confirmed.

“Mr. Bolton has a long history of opposing efforts to enhance U.S. security through arms control. He was a vocal proponent of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq and as recently as last year continued to say the war was a good idea. He was a vocal opponent of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which placed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear facilities and set up intrusive verification measures to confirm Iran’s compliance. He termed this action ‘negotiating with terrorists’ and has called for President Trump to kill the agreement in his first days in office.

“Multinational efforts—including those to fight terrorism, prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons, and reduce the risks from existing nuclear arsenals around the world—are essential to U.S. security. Mr. Bolton’s inability to work effectively with other countries would undermine U.S. security.

“We strongly urge the Senate to reject his nomination.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.