Does John Bolton Owe President Bush An Apology?

In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee criticized the Bush administration’s unilateral foreign policy, arguing the “Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad” and has pit “us against the world.”

In response, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney rushed to defend Bush, stating, “we ought to be saying thank you to the president for keeping us safe these last six years.” Romney even said that “Huckabee owes the President an apology.”

The right wing joined Romney in attacking Huckabee. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Huckabee would serve conservatism better “if he focused his criticisms on the Democrats” and that Bush “has kept us safe.” The National Review and neconservative Victor David Hanson also slammed him.

But Huckabee wasn’t the only one criticizing Bush’s foreign policy this weekend. Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton ripped President Bush in an interview with Der Spiegel. Bolton said Bush is excessively “moderate,” subsequently “putting US national security at risk”:

“His foreign policy is in free fall. The president is acting against his own judgement and instincts [and is] under the influence of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,” he told the magazine. Mr Bolton said Ms Rice was the dominant voice on foreign policy and that she was a channel for the views of liberal career bureaucrats in the foreign ministry.

“[Bush] does not supervise her enough. That is a mistake.” “North Korea will, for example, now keep its nuclear weapons. And the Iranians have got a signal from our own intelligence services that they can do whatever they want. “I am not as confident as the intelligence services that Iran has stopped its nuclear weapons programme.”

So far, Romney and the right wing have been completely silent on Bolton, despite their criticisms of Huckabee. Although Bolton and Huckabee’s attacks on Bush come from different perspectives — Huckabee says Bush is too arrogant and Bolton says he is not arrogant enough — they both agree that the President’s foreign policy has made America less safe.


Will Romney — who thinks Bush has been “keeping us safe these last six years” — also demand an apology from John Bolton?