Tuesday, October 10, 2006

John Bolton on Radio 4

From this morning's Today - Carolyn Quinn presses John Bolton on America's blame for the North Korean nuclear test. Bolton swats away the suggestion each time. Did she expect him to change his mind at the third time of asking? (Listen here - streaming ram) :
Carolyn Quinn: What do you say to those people who say that if President Bush hadn’t spoken of the axis of evil, including North Korea in that list, then this nuclear test may never have happened - North Korea may not have felt pushed into wanting to show its might in this way?

John Bolton: I’d say “Get a life”. The North Koreans have been pursuing nuclear weapons for at least ten to twelve years. They signed the agreed framework in 1994 promising to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons and then began violating that agreement almost before the ink was dry. So this has nothing whatever to do with the axis of evil statement, although it was certainly true when made and has become even truer since then as we’ve learned about cooperation between Iran and North Korea in the ballistic missile field for sure and one can only speculate if there’s cooperation in the nuclear field as well.

Carolyn Quinn: But one could also speculate that North Korea is responding to a potential threat that they might be dealt with in the same way that Iraq was.

John Bolton: Well if they were to pursue the route that Libya has undertaken - giving up the effort to acquire the nuclear weapons capability - I think they would find that they would actually be safer and more welcomed into the community of civilised nations than if they continued to pursue the nuclear weapons route.

Carolyn Quinn: But do you accept that argument about Iraq - the example of Iraq stirring North Korea into action?

John Bolton: No I don’t because as I said before the North Koreans have been pursuing nuclear weapons for quite some time including after they signed the agreed framework in 1994 when Saddam Hussein has still happily in power. This idea that all the world’s ills are caused by the United States just doesn’t bear out under the evidence. I mean I know a lot of people like to blame America first but the facts don’t support it.

Carolyn Quinn: If you don’t mind me saying you haven’t been a fan in the past of the UN, have you? Do you think the UN is up to this challenge?

John Bolton: I don’t know the answer to that. We’ll find out.
(I like “If you don’t mind me saying…” As if Bolton cares that he’s not seen as a big fan of the UN. It’s obviously a difficult concept to grasp for purveyors of the liberal consensus.)

This map of North Korea's nuclear programme from 1999 would appear to support Bolton's assertions (via the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies).

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Update. Compare with this map of Iran's nuclear programme.

Update. Perhaps Carolyn Quinn only had time to read today's Guardian leader comment before her Bolton interview:
Mr Kim's triumph represents the failure of diplomacy. North Korea agreed in 1994 to freeze its nuclear ambitions, but revived them when George Bush became president. Its position hardened when the country was named as part of the "axis of evil".
Bush was elected in November 2000. Now, what's the date on the above map again?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Bolton for president!!!

11:16 am  
Blogger El Viejo said...

I think the point (from reading only) were she says basically ~Don't you think I made a good point with the last question......~ (I imagined this giggling blonde trying to prove herself).

11:40 am  
Anonymous sunscreen said...

SMACK!! :-)

12:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What stuck me was the patronisizing and smug analysis from the presenters after this interview. Standard prcatice for the BBC to get some "analyst" to come on and belittle people in jobs they wish they had.

12:09 pm  
Anonymous max said...

Maybe the BBC, Grauniad et al have a point.

1:57 pm  
Anonymous Clematis Fraudster said...

This proposition put forward by Ms Quinn - that North Korea cracked on with its nuclear programme because Chimpybushhitler called them names - is a strange one.

However, the wonks at the BBC blamed the US after a Russian-built plane skidded off a runway in oil-rich Iran, so one must not be surprised at the Beeb's powers of reasoning.

Clearly, George W Bush possesses supernatural powers and has the uncanny ability to drive perfectly normal, peace-loving leaders like Kim, Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah insane.

Bring back Gerald Ford, I say.

2:17 pm  
Blogger The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...


Sometimes the blog posts just write themselves. Where would we be if it weren't for the R4 Today programme?

Actually - don't answer that: we probably be in a wealthier, more decent and sensible country where people were treated as individuals rather than as an unidentifiable component of some larger homogenous group.

God they're awful.

3:47 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

"Did she expect him to change his mind at the third time of asking?"

The interviewer and John Bolton's calm assurance that he is correct remind me of the interview Jeremy Paxman did with American conservative writer Ann Coulter - a tall, cool blonde. Paxman was questioning her about a book she had just written and reached No 1 on the NY Times Best Seller list, so obviously, the book was well thought out and well written. It was a TV hook-up, with Coulter in NY and Paxman in London.

Paxman kept screwing up his face in disbelief and leaning forward and saying, "But are you telling me you really believe [whatever the point at issue was]..." And Coulter looked at the camera and said, "As I wrote the book, you can assume that I believe everything I wrote. Don't keep asking me if I believe what I wrote, because the answer is always going to be 'yes'."

Collapse of pompous party.

4:13 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

fantastic Sun headline today


they deserve a few pints for that one.

8:25 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

oops. here's the link:


8:26 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"Carolyn Quinn: What do you say to those people..."

"those people" being the BBC chatterati droids.

gotta love Bolton's answer to that - he knows damn well where the questions are coming from.

"Get a life"


8:29 pm  
Anonymous Clematis Fraudster said...

As I said earlier, it is a rather strange proposition to ask if North Korea has pursued its nuclear bomb because of something George Bush said - especially as North Korea started developing that bomb while Bush was still Governor of Texas and even before.

To ask the same question three times is even stranger.

Trouble must be brewing - even CND has condemned North Korea.

11:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote from Verity:

.// Paxman was questioning her about a book she had just written and reached No 1 on the NY Times Best Seller list, so obviously, the book was well thought out and well written.//

So any book that reaches no 1 on the NY Times (or anywhere else) is proof that the book was "well thought out and well written"?


Gerrard's so called auto biograrphy falls into that category then? Or any other numpty who has their auto ghost written for them? Being No. 1 is NOT an infallible indicator of it being "well thought out and well written". How naive are you?

12:25 am  
Anonymous stephanie said...

this is what happens when women take over journalism (and i am a woman): you get editors and producers who believe Kim Jong Il tested a nuke 'cause his feelings were hurt by the "axis of evil" speech.

i guess this is the same crowd who explained that the Camp David negotiations failed to produced a peace agreement because Ehud Barak didn't smile enough at Yasser Arafat. (Barak is said to be a fairly cold, detached person.)

a very silly, hysterical view of how things work...and how men like Kim and Arafat think

3:52 am  
Anonymous verity said...

anonymous 12:25 a.m. I assume from the confrontational, rude tone of your post that at this hour, you were drunk and aggressive.

I did not intend to convey that every book that reaches the NY Times bestseller list is well written in the sense that the prose reflects Vidal Gore-like elegance. I meant, although I failed to spell it out in alphabet blocks, that it was a good read and people were snapping it up.

I must confess, perhaps I was giving too much credit when I assumed that people reading this blog are familiar with Ann Coulter's writing. Her stuff is well-researched and she is astringent, articulate and very witty. In other words, not the sort of writer I would expect you to be drawn to.

stephanie - your points are bang on the button. But I don't think it's just women ("everyone play nicely"). The left is a prime conductor of ultrasensitivity and discovering emotional motives for behaviour when simple greed and a hunger for power are the drivers. I think the motives behind it are to disengage the rational mind.

2:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter is indeed informed and articulate.

However, you wrote // and reached No 1 on the NY Times Best Seller list, so obviously, the book was well thought out and well written.//

Why put the "so obviously" bit in?

There's NOTHING "so obviously" about it.

Get it now?

11:48 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

brave anonymous and editor manqué of 11:48 PM - I put 'obviously' in because I bloody felt like it.

1:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Then don't get stroppy when you're challenged.

12:30 am  

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