Friday, August 4, 2006

Perhaps the best reason to support John Bolton’s confirmation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is that his approach to foreign policy is radically different from John Kerry’s, as shown by their exchange during Mr. Bolton’s confirmation hearings. It is a shame anyone missed this delicious slap-down.

Mr. Bolton said, for the United Nations to be effective on Iran, North Korea and Lebanon, the 15 members of the Security Council (and particularly the “Perm[anent] 5,”) would have to reach policy agreements about those countries.

Mr. Kerry’s reflexive response was: “And isn’t it fair to say that we’re sort of the odd person out on most of those policies?”

You don’t need an interpreter to understand Mr. Kerry’s message: The United States is the problem; it is the obstacle to meaningful policy consensus. This is the same theme Mr. Kerry and other Democrats advanced in blaming President Bush for not building a broad enough coalition to attack Iraq when they should have been questioning the reasonableness and motives of the “allies” who refused to join us.

As Mr. Bolton noted, Mr. Kerry was way off-base. Everyone is on the same page but Democrats and North Korea. The Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1695 condemning North Korea for test-firing ballistic missiles and demanding it suspend all such activities. It just passed a resolution giving Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment or face economic and diplomatic sanctions.

The next blank fired by Mr. Kerry was the hackneyed liberal line that our failure to iron out our problems with North Korea is Mr. Bush’s fault because he refuses to engage in bilateral talks. Mr. Bolton corrected Mr. Kerry again, noting the U.S. insists on six-party negotiations because “the disagreement is not fundamentally a bilateral disagreement between North Korea and the United States. It’s a disagreement between North Korea and everybody else about their pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”

Why do Mr. Kerry and his ilk insist on playing into Kim Jong-il’s hands? Why don’t they blame the little tyrant, who obviously is just using the bilateral carrot as an excuse not to discontinue his nuclear program? Why are they covering for his obvious scheme to put the United States in the position of being scapegoated for the inevitable failure in negotiations should bilateral talks eventuate?

Besides, as Mr. Bolton said — to the embarrassment-resistant Mr. Kerry — such vaunted bilateral talks failed under the Clinton administration “since the North Koreans violated the agreed framework almost from the time it was signed.”

Most annoyingly, Mr. Kerry tried to lecture Mr. Bolton on what liberal think-tank “intellectuals” believe is behind our failure to make headway with North Korea. Mr. Kerry said, “Most of the people that I’ve talked to spent a lot of time in various thoughtful institutions thinking about these issues — a career — believe that what North Korea wants more than anything is an assurance that the United States of America wasn’t going to have a strategy similar to Iraq directed at them.”

That’s right, we’re the bad guy and the mistreated dictator needs assurances from us we’re not going to nuke him. In Mr. Kerry’s world, the dictator is reasonable in being suspicious of the United States because we attacked Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) Mr. Kerry says didn’t exist, we used a “pre-emptive strategy of regime change” and are pursuing our own nuclear weapons, including bunker busters. Mr. Bolton exposed Mr. Kerry’s sophistry by explaining any assurances North Korea required from us — the thought of which is ludicrous — could be communicated in six-party as easily as bilateral talks.

But Mr. Kerry wasn’t finished bashing America. He said all you need do to understand how bad the United States is to “talk to any leader anywhere in the world” and you’ll “run headlong into the isolation of the United States and the divisions that exist between us and our allies on any number of issues.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we just establish that Mr. Kerry was chastising the administration for not dropping four other allies in our negotiations with North Korea? Man, as much experience Mr. Kerry has at lying, he is still not very accomplished at it.

Next, for good measure, Mr. Kerry shared his opinion of the moral equivalence between the United States and the former Soviet Empire (a k a “the Evil Empire”) in pursuing nuclear arms during the Cold War. So, just like the benevolent Soviet Union, North Korea is simply another good faith player on the international stage trying to protect itself against that global bully and pariah, the United States.

Sure, John Kerry doesn’t blame America first; he just has contempt for those who don’t.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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