Opening the Gates to “UN”Bolton Diplomacy

As the Congress returns this week, it appears that there are two Senate confirmation hearings that will receive a great deal of media attention.

First up is Robert Gates’ confirmation as the new Defense Secretary. Most analysts suggest that Gates will be confirmed easily, if not after a few hard questions from the (current) minority on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I was listening to the Diane Rehm show this morning on my way to work, and the consensus appeared to be that Rumsfeld has to go, and Gates is the person that will make that happen. The more I read about Gates, the more I’m confident that a new direction will in fact occur under his leadership.

The second confirmation hearing will be John Bolton’s position as Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton was appointed by President Bush as a recess appointment, which means he has to be confirmed now, or never. Recess appointments expire at the beginning of new congressional sessions. Given it is unlikely that the Senate will confirm his appointment, it appears that Bolton will be out of that job in January 2007. Of course, one may speculate that he will be reappointed during the next recess of the Senate (which would keep him in the job until January 2009.)

Either way, both of these hearings will be interesting to watch given the recent election results.