John Bolton's Tribal Wars Inside the Bush Administration

There are many including this writer who have been documenting the internal decision-making divisions inside President Bush's White House.

The response that tends to be offered back is that we are misreading the situation, or that all of President Bush's people are pulling together even if there are serious differences in the debate when policy is being hammered out.

But yesterday, I learned of something that John Bolton did during the first George W. Bush term that reflects the deep hostility between warring factions in the Bush machine.

On a White House orchestrated conference call, a number of officials had been discussing a national security matter. One White House official in the phone conference apparently was supposed to go off the call before then Under Secretary of State for International Security and Arms Control John Bolton came on -- but the White House operator forgot to disconnect him (or her).

When the moderator of the meeting stated that the portion of the call with "X Person" had ended and the discussion with John Bolton would begin, Bolton allegedly said:

I want to tell everyone on this call now, do not trust [that person]."

Well, the person was still listening, in utter shock. The person quickly hung up the call.

This is yet another indication of Bolton's divisive 'with him or against him' tactics in the administration.

When Bill Frist and George Bush kept saying "Bolton is a good man" during his failed UN confirmation process, it really turned the stomachs of many inside the White House.

Now Bolton is lobbying against Bush's Law of the Sea policy. He's been trying to undermine virtually every serious project at the Department of State -- from efforts to redirect Iran, the Six Party talks with North Korea, and the coming November Israel/Palestine Summit.

Bolton is the hardest working person in Washington now trying to undermine global stability, in much the same way he has been trying to undermine his former colleagues who serve the same President he served.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note