Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another Nation, Another Failure

No liberal in his/her right mind should agree with John Bolton, a conservative (not neo-conservative) and former George W. Bush Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations. Apparently, I am not in my right mind.

Bolton appeared on GOP TV's "Hannity and Colmes" on June 26 to discuss, primarily, " what Sean Hannity described in his lead-in as a "clear foreign policy victory" for the Bush Administration. Thanks to Think Progress, we have this video of the interview and a transcript of the beginning of the conversation, in which Hannity does an about-face when he discovers that Bolton does not reflexively defend the object of Sean's affection. The relevant, and humorous exchange follows:

HANNITY: The news today brings a clear foreign policy victory for the Bush administration. But will the press report it that way? Joining us now for analysis, former ambassador to the U.N. and a Fox News contributor, John Bolton. What do you think this means?

BOLTON: I think it’s actually a clear victory for North Korea. They gain enormous political legitimacy…In return, we get precious little. I think this is North Korea demonstrating again that they can out-negotiate the U.S. without raising a sweat.

HANNITY: Boy I tell you they’ve done it time and time again, and I’m sorta perplexed, Mr. Ambassador, to understand why we keep going back to the well knowing that they haven’t kept the agreements in the past. Whatever happened to Reagan’s “trust but verify”?


In May, 2003 Mr. Bush boasted "we will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea... we will not settle for anything less than the complete, verifiable, and irreversible elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program." The Clinton Administration had established direct dialogue with Pyongyang, which had one or two nuclear weapons when Bush, who ended the talks, took over. Five years later, North Korea has ten nuclear weapons, according to Jon Wolfsthal, described here as a monitor at North Korea's nuclear complex at Yongbyon and now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The North finally has produced a record of how much plutionium was produced at its main reactor facility but no accounting of its nuclear bombs, its attempts to enrich uranium, or how it helped Syria build a suspected nuclear plant. Wolfsthal explains "there's no way the verification process will be even running by the time the Bush administration leaves office."

In the end, it is doing a disservice to George Walker Bush to view his legacy merely in terms of the damage the war in Iraq has done to the fight against terrorism, our standing abroad, and the families of soldiers killed in that Gulf nation, and its impact on strengthening the Iranian regime. No, his foolish machismo amid dangerous miscalculation have demonstrated yet again that his failure of leadership extends far beyond Iraq.

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