The Corner

Bolton: North Korea, Iran ‘Smell The Desperation’

John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tells NRO that North Korea and Iran can “smell the desperation” of the Obama administration following its decision this week to send Stephen W. Bosworth, a senior U.S. diplomat, to North Korea for direct talks with the government there on its nuclear program.

“This is a decision reflective of the desperation that this administration has to find some kind of diplomatic success,” says Bolton. “Their desperation is highlighted by the humiliating treatment they recently received from Iran. Our adversaries, like Iran and North Korea, can smell the desperation. It leaves us in a weak negotiating position.”

“The Obama administration’s policy really is negotiating,” says Bolton. “I’ve always said that negotiating is a tactic, not a policy. This push for process over substance is, institutionally, typical of too many within State department.”

“A lot of this administration is a reaction to the Bush administration,” observes Bolton. “They saw us as unwilling to negotiate with friends or adversaries, which, of course, is not true. But they’re acting on that perception.”

Ultimately, says Bolton, decisions like this “signal weakness” to our adversaries. “Clearly it encourages North Korea and Iran to hold out for better and better terms, as they already have done. Believe me, they are reading each other’s playbook.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular


The Deflation of the Academic Brand

Trumpism is sometimes derided as an updated know-nothingism that rejects expertise and the input of credentialed expertise. Supposedly, professionals who could now save us tragically have their talent untapped as they sit idle at the Council on Foreign Relations, the economics Department at Harvard, or in the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

When the Tide Comes In

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader, “Save Ike from the Kikes.” I’d better explain. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the Nazi troll armies’ march ... Read More