Aiming To Misbehave: Describing John Bolton Correctly

I really wish there were more people who spoke frankly like this, out loud and publicly (boldface mine):

Jeffrey Lewis—Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and founder of Arms Control Wonk—is less worried and more direct. “Bolton is an asshole,” he told me over the phone. “[He’s] a terrible person who gives terrible advice and treats people like shit. If I were in the White House, I would resign immediately rather than be subjected to his tirades.”

…“A lot of this stuff is deliberately inflammatory,” Lewis said. “The president likes him on TV. The President likes that he goes out and says these things. If that’s his main qualification—his triggering those of us who care about not dying in a nuclear war—will he actually be any good at this job?”

…Lewis pointed out that high-profile national security advisors—and Bolton will probably be one—typically fail. “Bolton’s going to scream and yell and throw temper tantrums on TV,” Lewis said. “The President has cast someone like it’s a reality TV show.”

Ironically, Bolton helped spur North Korea’s nuclear weapons program:

The Clinton administration negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea back in 1994. In exchange for an annual payment of 500,000 tons of heavy oil, help building power plants, and a promise that US wouldn’t nuke North Korea, the DPRK promised to halt its nuclear programs and stop enriching plutonium.

Just before Bush’s election, Washington learned North Korea was enriching uranium. The Bush White House had a choice, resume negotiations with the DPRK and add uranium to the list or back out of the agreement. “This was the hammer I had been looking for to shatter the Agreed Framework,” Bolton wrote of the discovery in his 2008 memoir Surrender Is Not an Option in a chapter titled “Driving a Stake Through the Agreed Framework.”

Now, North Korea is a nuclear power. “North Korea shares in plenty of the blame, obviously, but it was people like Bolton who pulled us out,” Reif said. “Had we stayed in the [Agreed Framework] I think we’d be in a better place than we are today.”

It’s time we treat people like Bolton with the seriousness they deserve–which is to say, with none at all.

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One Response to Aiming To Misbehave: Describing John Bolton Correctly

  1. Theodore Lawry says:

    Technical quibble: you don’t enrich plutonium, you breed it. Uranium, you enrich.

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