WSJ Ed Page: Shooting the Messengers

Despite entitling the editorial “Bolton Endorsement,” today the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Page suffers from a classic case of attacking the messengers and not the message by going after the nearly 60 diplomats who have signed a letter urging the Senate to reject Bolton’s nomination. Here’s an excerpt from their summation:

“We’ve scanned the list of this striped-pants set, and it looks to be precisely the crowd that has long placed diplomatic niceties above action and holds that the only legitimate foreign policy decisions are those taken under the ‘multilateral’ auspices of the U.N.”

In fact they spend more words talking about what’s wrong with the diplomats — respected experts who have served in the administrations of former Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I, to name a few of the WSJ Editorial Page’s heroes — then what’s right with Bolton. And when they do shakily try to prop up Bolton, it’s on two unsteady foundations: the Proliferation Security Initiative and a diplomacy strategy that “works.”

With regards to Bolton and the Proliferation Security Initiative, the New Yorker wrote:

“As Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, he has rightly been given credit for the Proliferation Security Initiative…. But on his watch North Korea, the chief target of his ire, reprocessed enough plutonium to make six new nuclear weapons.”

As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment put it, “Bolton has been totally unapologetic about his radical prescription for dealing with the proliferation threat. The main problem is that it hasn’t worked anywhere.”

And when it comes to Bolton having a diplomatic strategy that “works,” North Korea won’t deal with him and Bolton won’t take the Iran nuclear threat seriously.