As Democrats go on a fishing expedition for more paper on John Bolton, it’s important to remember what this battle is really about, and a good piece on Tech Central Station lays it out:

“Whether John Bolton is successfully nominated to the ambassadorship of the United Nations or whether he flounders on the shoals of Democratic opposition, the nomination process has helpfully illuminated some of the difficulties in framing a post-Cold War approach to international institutions. On the one hand we have John Bolton and other staunch nationalists who view the U.N. and other international institutions as either feckless talk shops or dangerous encroachments on American sovereignty. On the other we have his critics who run the gamut from timid realists unwilling to buck the status quo to doe-eyed world government advocates who can’t surrender U.S. sovereignty fast enough.”

This debate may focus on whether Bolton is a nice guy or not, but he could be the archangel and Democrats would oppose him. This is about interpretations of the role of the U.S. and deliberative bodies such as the United Nations in making decisions:

“Clearly, Bolton and his supporters believe that the trade-off between unfettered freedom of action [for the U.S. ] and submission to external authorities is not only not worth the cost, but a dangerous abrogation of American sovereignty. Bolton’s criticism of the U.N. stems not from an a priori aversion to partnerships and alliances — as [Princeton professor and Bolton critic Robert] Wright would have it — but from a resistance to formalized decision making that shifts the locus of rule-making to an unelected, and unaccountable, global bureaucracy. The steady accumulation of far-reaching, sovereignty-encroaching rules and institutions, such as International Criminal Court or Kyoto may not alarm some liberal internationalists (indeed, Wright has championed the process as a means to advance liberal ends) but it finds few backers in the U.S.”