Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, ex-CIA Director James Woolsey and 64 other retired arms control specialists and diplomats are lined up in support of John R. Bolton, whose nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has stirred controversy.
In a letter delivered Monday to Sen. Richard G. Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, other committee members and congressional leaders, they said the attack on Bolton is really an attack on President Bush's policies.
Last week,signed a letter calling for his rejection by the Senate, especially because of his opposition to the United States signing a number of arms control treaties.
Bolton supporters said his stance "reflects a clear-eyed necessity of the real limits" of accords with other nations that demand one-sided terms from the United States. They included Max Kampelman and Edward Rowny, arms control negotiators in the Reagan administration.
Lugar, an Indiana Republican, has scheduled a hearing on the nomination for Thursday.
"The upcoming hearing for John Bolton to be ambassador to the U.N. is sure to be a knockdown, drag-out fight," said CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk. "With strong letters for and against Bolton, and television ads opposing the nomination, the hearing will be contentious – with the possibility of a filibuster if it makes it to the Senate floor.
"Coming on the heels of multilateral support at the U.N. for several U.S. -backed efforts such as getting Syrian forces out of Lebanon, the question will come down to how much muscle the White House will exert and how much political capital it wants to invest," Falk said.
The counterattack, organized by Frank Gaffney, a Pentagon official in the Reagan administration said Bolton "has distinguished himself throughout a long and multifaceted career."
It suggested critics of Bolton positions on various arms control treaties are "misdirected" because his views "are identical" to those of President Bush and that "their differences seem to be with a man twice elected by the American people to design and execute security policies, rather than with one of his most effective and articulate officials in advancing those policies."