The latest US deal with North Korea—taking the North off its state terror list in exchange for a nuclear declaration—is a travesty and intellectual capitulation in pursuit of burnishing President Bush's legacy, former UN ambassador John Bolton writes in a predictably scathing piece in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a final sign that the administration's toughness is history, argues Bolton, a longstanding hardliner on North Korea—and awful policy to boot.
Saying "the Soviet dark art of denial, deception and disguise is alive and well in Pyongyang," Bolton catalogues North Korea's history of broken promises. "The only good news is that there is little opportunity for the Bush administration to make any further concessions in its waning days in office," he concludes. "But for many erstwhile administration supporters, this is a moment of genuine political poignancy. Nothing can erase the ineffable sadness of an American presidency, like this one, in total intellectual collapse."