You have to hand it to the Wall Street Journal. At a time when the newspaper industry is desperately trying to remind America it's important and relevant, the WSJ has carved out a nice little niche for itself as a halfway house for discredited political figures. I think it's really humane of them. Their most recent charity case is John Bolton, America's former ambassador to the United Nations.
Where else would someone like John Bolton get to shout his insane ideas? FOX News? Well, yeah maybe that one time when he said, "I think this is a case where the use of military force against a training camp to show the Iranians we're not going to tolerate this is really the most prudent thing to do." The BBC? Oh yeah, that one time...and that other time. MSNBC? Check. Okay, so maybe he was getting plenty of airtime, but regardless, I'm glad to see his little incoherently ranting ideas (like Chicago being destroyed by a nuclear bomb) preserved for the ages in print.
I can't think of any other columnist brave enough to suggest bombing people is a prudent strategy. Paul Krugman, I'm looking at you. Nothing? Okay then. Moving on.
Today, Bolton chose to growl at the old, but reliable, enemy of North Korea. This is a particularly vintage move when one considers North Korea already tried to strike fear into the hearts of Americans last month when they tested a missile that fizzled and fell into the ocean 1,300 miles off the east coast of Japan. Bolton's stance is pretty brave because his frenzied ideology flies in the face of scholarly counsel.
Experts on North Korea say Kim Jong-il's motives center around receiving aid, and fear of the United States, since they bombed his country during the Korean War. B. R. Myers, a researcher of North Korean ideology and propaganda at Dongseo University, recommends America ignore Kim. South Korea's new president, Lee Myung-bak is badmouthing Kim (and his nuclear program) enough as it is, and everyone in the region is slowly realizing the great leader is gravely fallible. A dictator only has a few options to show he's still hot shit, and one of those is to blast a missile into the ocean. But it's not a threat to the United States. It's actually just pathetic. Call it the official countdown of Kim. He's also sick, weak, and may have had a stroke.
And yet all of these facts couldn't soothe the nerves of our mustachioed maverick, John Bolton. Get Ready for Another North Korean Nuke Test he hollers at the top of the page. Bolton recycles the argument that Kim got everything his tiny dictator heart desired by bullying the world into six-party talks, which "gave [him] cover to further advance his nuclear program." If the US strategy was up to Bolton, he would scream threats at everyone he perceived as being Korean, which is exactly what would make things worse, Myers argues.
Over the past decade North Korea's string of nuclear provocations has reinforced the public conviction that Washington's bark is worse than its bite. Kim Jong-il has so far shown little indication that he does not share this conviction.
Bolton has risen from the dead to show the world America's credibility is back by...rattling...his...saber...again. Okay, maybe that won't work. But he has new information! The North Koreans are mocking us, everyone! Did you know that? John Bolton knows this because he read it in the state-controlled newspaper, which calls America "a rogue and a gangster." And sure, state-controlled newspapers are just mouthpieces for dictators, but surely those North Korean civilians are all invited to the paper pitch meetings, and brainstorm headlines with their boss. They don't fool John Robert Bolton.
He's fuming mad that the Obama administration wants to (scoff) talk to North Korea. I mean, the nerve. How are we supposed to bomb stuff if we're there talking to them? Of course, this is the man who used to block information from reaching former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and and Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice, that was "vital to U.S. strategies on Iran," simply because the information contradicted his own insane ideologies. So maybe we shouldn't take his word on this stuff.
I know what you're thinking: a John Bolton article isn't a John Bolton article unless it has a crazy jump in logic and wild proclamation nestled somewhere in its margins. Turn that frown upside-down, kiddo, 'cause here it comes:
Even worse, Iran and other aspiring nuclear proliferators will draw precisely the same conclusion: Negotiations like the six-party talks are a charade and reflect a continuing collapse of American resolve. U.S. acquiescence in a second North Korean nuclear test will likely mean that Tehran will adopt Pyongyang's successful strategy.
Only John Bolton would introduce a new thesis in the last paragraph of his article. I bet you didn't see Iran sneaking in there at the last second like a serial killer that comes back to life in the last frame of the movie, but there it is. The second American diplomats land in North Korea, Iran is going to nuke Israel. It's practically written in the history books already.