On John Bolton

Plodding and predictably outraged, John Bolton again warns us of the dangers of sending envoys to speak with the North Koreans.

It may be worth recalling that Bolton was overjoyed when George W. Bush kneecapped South Korea’s “sunshine policy” toward North Korea in 2001, cast the North as an “axis of evil” in his 2002 State of the Union and called the North Korean head of state “a pygmy” in a 2003 interview. Like Bush in his bellicose first term, Bolton’s idea of “dialogue” is to let the North Koreans know we are arming our B-52s in the Pacific with nuclear warheads, something we did in the leadup to Operation Iraqi Freedom and which, presumably, the Iron Lady of Foggy Bottom is also willing to advocate in her more militant moments.

Moreover, Bolton’s characterization of the North Korean arrest, detention, and conviction of the border-jumping Ling and Lee as acts of “state terrorism” is an intellectually irresponsible and demonstrably false gambit upon which his entire argument hinges. I recently returned from several weeks spent along the entirety of the Chinese-North Korean border, and there was nothing particularly “terrorist” about the young KPA soliders guarding their country’s vast, and sickeningly impoverished, northern fringe. But, like “socialism,” the “terrorist” phrase sure sounds great when one is mulling Molotov at the AEI cocktail parties.