After reading the praises of Michael Bolton from his counterparts at the UN, I wonder if either a) the Democrats overstated the danger of having a firebrand at the UN, or b) the entire UN is a bunch of do-nothing backslappers.

Outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with whom Bolton often clashed, spoke of the US envoy in ambivalent terms.

‘Ambassador Bolton did the job he was expected to do. He came at a time when we had lots of tough issues,’ Annan said. ‘As a representative of the US government, he pressed ahead with the instructions that he had been given and tried to work as effectively as he could with the other ambassadors.’

In New York, UN diplomats portrayed Bolton as effective in pushing for reform at the world organization. Japanese ambassador Kenzo Oshima, whose country mostly shared Bolton’s tough stance on North Korea, said he was ‘very grateful’ for the ambassador’s work.

‘He has been exceptionally skilful diplomat at the United Nations at a time when the UN faced very challenging issues, like reform,’ Oshima said.

‘I had always great admiration for his diplomatic skills and the reservoir of knowledge that he easily brought to bear on the deliberations,’ he added.

Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya, who was often at odds with Bolton over Iran and human rights issues in Sudan and Myanmar, offered praise for his American counterpart.

‘I regret that he’s resigning, he works very hard and has his own style,’ Wang said.

Argentinian UN Ambassador Cesar Mayoral concurred with Wang that Bolton work hard to change the UN. ‘I work very well with him,’ he said.

/rizzn