Bush: Bolton Not Credible


Here’s a wacky story — hard-core neocons confront George W. Bush about him having abandoned their fringiest ideas:

Boot remained unimpressed. He cited a column in that morning’s Wall Street Journal by John Bolton, who was Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations, lacerating the administration for betraying its own principles by lifting some sanctions on North Korea in exchange for an incomplete accounting of Pyongyang’s nuclear program. “Nothing can erase the ineffable sadness of an American presidency, like this one, in total intellectual collapse,” Bolton wrote.

Bush grew more agitated at the mention of his own former senior diplomat. “Let me just say from the outset that I don’t consider Bolton credible,” the president said bitterly. Bush had brought Bolton into the top ranks of his administration, fought for Senate confirmation and, when lawmakers balked, defied critics to give the hawkish aide a recess appointment. “I spent political capital for him,” Bush said, and look what he got in return. The president went on to defend his North Korea decision, saying his “action for action” approach held out the most hope of getting rid of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons.

Of course Bush is right, Bolton isn’t a credible thinker on national security issues. But Bolton is also right — the inherent unworkability of the Bush doctrine has persuaded Bush to substantially abandon it in the waning days of his administration. But before Bush subscribed to the “Bush doctrine” it was John McCain’s doctrine, and he shows no sign of having left the true faith.