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Bolton Again

John Bolton's name seems to be popping up all over the place. He's leading the hardliners against Iran: "John Bolton, under-secretary of state for arms control, has been pushing for a tougher line and is said to believe that Iran should have been referred to the UN Security Council a year ago." Some unsolicited advice to the American diplomatic corp: get the agreement, then use the verification and inspection procedures to test your intelligence. I understand that this tactic didn't work so well in Iraq, but that was in large part due to the kneejerk conserative rejection of verification and inspection procedures. Regardless, cynically leaking dubious intelligence is not the way to go.

The other front, of course, are the rumors that Bolton will be elevated deputy Secretary of State. Remember, some conservatives actually wanted Bolton to replace Powell. Now people are looking to the administration's treatment of Bolton for signals on Rice - whether she'll create moderate positions or continue to serve as a cipher for OVP and DoD. "Many Europeans" think that if Bolton is elevated "the next four years will be even worse than the last four years." Ah, those zany, ever hopeful Europeans...

Update, 11/20/04, 7:58 PM EST: Get the naive conventional "wisdom" in David Sanger's Week in Review piece:

The first test may come in her selection of a deputy. Mr. Cheney's wing is pressing for someone like John R. Bolton, an acolyte of the vice president who runs the State Department's proliferation office. A very different choice would be someone like Arnold Kanter, a former State Department official who now works with Brent Scowcroft, who was the first President Bush's national security adviser. Mr. Scowcroft was Ms. Rice's mentor until the two differed over the Iraq invasion. Choosing Mr. Kanter to run the daily operations of the State Department could signal a shift toward something more like the first President Bush's approach to the world.
Look, there is no evidence that Rice has ever had an independent thought about the Middle East. She has never parted from the administration line. She might be a great person, but those who think she's suddenly going to depart from OVP orthodoxy are delusional.


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