Hermits Rock

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Brian Urquhart, at the end of an disheartening1 review of John Bolton’s book Surrender is Not an Option, summarizes the beliefs of Bolton’s ilk in four points:

  1. United States interests alone are to be considered as paramount; the United Nations is only relevant insofar as it serves those interests.
  2. Foreigners, even some supposed allies, cannot be trusted, and the hostile ones (North Korea, Iran, the enemies of Israel, and others) will always cheat, will never abide by an agreement, and only understand pressure and force.
  3. With such people there should be only sticks and hard words, no carrots, no rewards for good behavior, and no prolonged negotiations. Force always remains an option.
  4. The High Minded, Liberals, multilateralists, and most Democrats are, in their own way, almost as destructive as hostile foreigners.

It is a good summary. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, for example, is a tedious example of the fourth point. However, the list is not complete. I would modify the second point, for example, to emphasize that Bolton’s ilk have a general distrust of all agreements, not simply agreements with untrustworthy state actors. In other words, agreements presume limitations on U.S. power; given the first point, agreements are therefore worth only as much as the ink they are printed with. I am certain other slight modifications could be made to make the list more encompassing, yes?

1 Disheartening because it reminds me just how petty and despicable a man Bolton is. That someone so imperious, that someone who misunderstands power so badly could gain as much power as he did illustrates just how poorly we have all been treated by the Bush administration.



I shake my head in amazement every time I think that this was the public face of the US at the United Nations.

It’s going to take at least a decade to clean up the mess these people have made.

Unfortunately, if you can believe it, his time at the State department may have been even more damaging than his time at the UN.