Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton will be speaking at Union this Tuesday, May 5, at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel, regarding Iran and the contemporary Middle East.
Bolton’s talk is part of the Frederic E. Miller Lecture Series in Honor of Anwar Sadat, named in part for Frederic E. Miller ’60 and Egyptian political leader Anwar Sadat. According to Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies Stephen M. Berk, the lecture series has featured some of the “most famous analysts of the Middle East,” including Bernard Lewis and Thomas Friedman.
Bolton’s talk is being sponsored by Dr. Arnold Goldschlager ’59, a prominent San Francisco cardiologist. His support for Union has helped provide similar opportunities in the past.
The event will begin as a lecture, then will open up for Q&A. All are invited to the post-lecture reception afterwards.
When asked why students should attend the event, Berk addressed the importance of the Middle East in U.S. foreign policy and the necessity for all Union students to become informed citizens. He stated, “The Middle East is essential to U.S. foreign policy, and as citizens of the U.S., as with many other nations (and their citizenry), they will have to make intelligent decisions about the nation’s future.”
Bolton himself “is a very prominent voice on the Middle East. He speaks all over the world … he’s a very prominent commentator and very controversial,” said Berk. Bolton’s foreign experience is extensive.
As the interim ambassador to the U.N. from 2005 to 2006, Bolton ensured Security Council deliberations of human rights abuses in Burma, invited George Clooney and Elie Wiesel to address the council on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and orchestrated Security Council approval of 22,500 U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur, as well as pressuring the Sudanese government to accept the help of the same 22,500 peacekeepers.
Bolton also served in the Reagan Administration’s U.S. Agency for International Development and assistant attorney general. He later served as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs under George H. W. Bush’s administration.
His federal service as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs under George W. Bush saw withdrawn support for both the International Criminal Court and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Bolton led the Bush Administration’s Proliferation Security Initiative, which sought to create bilateral arms control agreements between the U.S. and its allies.
In the 1990s, Bolton was also involved in conservative political institutions such as the Project for the New American Century and the American Enterprise Institute, leading the latter group as Senior Vice President from 1997 to 2001. Today, he remains with the conservative think-tank AEI as a senior fellow, doing research on U.S. foreign and national security policy. He is also a contributor on Fox News and writes for noted newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
He is the author of a number of books about American foreign policy, including his 2010 title “How Barack Obama is Endangering our National Sovereignty” and his 2007 book “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad.”