May 13, 2018

John Bolton tells ABC's This Week to ignore all the warmongering and hostile statements he's made against North Korea, even as early as a month before he was appointed to be Trump's National Security Adviser.

And the usually tough-minded Martha Raddatz surprisingly complies.

A month before he was picked by Trump, Bolton told Fox News, the US needed to even use our military to end North Korea as we know it.

"I think we've got to look much more closely at the possibility of some kind of military action which for years had been ruled against by very strong popular opinion by South Korea..."

"What I think the long term solution has to be is the merger of two Koreas, the end of North Korea, basically."

You would think these statements alone would be the basis for some questions asked to John Bolton on the Sunday news shows.

Or maybe ask him about his recent op-ed in the WSJ: The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First

Instead the ABC hosts brushed them off completely. Because there's no way that Bolton's past statements or positions will have any bearing on the denuclearization discussions, right?

RADDATZ: OK, before becoming National Security Adviser, you were pretty negative about Kim Jong-un, you didn’t trust him, you famously said how do you know the North Korean regime is lying? Their lips are moving.

Obviously the U.S. is going to want verification of all of this, which -- which you have outlined. But just in this last month since you because National Security Adviser, has your opinion of Kim changed? Have you seen a different Kim? Have you learned anything about him that’s changed your opinion?

BOLTON: Well let me just say as a general proposition, I’ve -- I’ve read and said a lot of things in the past. I was a free agent, it was a wonderful way to be able to get your opinions about. But I'm not going to compare and contrast what I said over a long period of time with what I do now because, the advice that I give to the president, I give to him and not to discuss.

I think the key point here is that the president's going to make the decision when he sits down with Kim Jong-un just what exactly the North is up to. And he'll size him up. And he's an outstanding -- got an outstanding ability to do that. And we'll see what comes from it.

How is it not relevant to ask the national security advisor what his counsel would be in regards to peace talks with North Korea when he advocated for the complete annihilation of the North Korean regime?

Aren't his past statements the basis for the outrage over Trump picking him in the first place?

He certainly owned up to all his horrific statements in the past so wouldn't it be a perfectly normal question to ask if his advice would be to not trust anything they say and take out North Korea at all costs?

And if not, why? Have his beliefs drastically changed in less than two months?

And would it not be prudent to ask about his role in Pres. George W. Bush's decision to pull out of the original North Korean deal that Bill Clinton had negotiated since the result was North Korea developed nuclear weapons immediately afterwards?

FP.com writes:

A little history is helpful here. Bolton was undersecretary of state for arms control and international security when President George W. Bush’s administration made the fateful decision in 2002 to kill the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea. The Bill Clinton-era accord froze North Korea’s plutonium program under effective verification. But when it was discovered that Pyongyang was pursuing a separate uranium enrichment program with the help of Pakistan, a key decision had to be made: re-engage in diplomacy to expand the agreement to prohibit uranium enrichment or tear it up, isolate a member of the “Axis of Evil,” and push for regime change.

Bush, guided in part by Bolton, chose the latter approach. And once the Agreed Framework collapsed, North Korea took the secured plutonium under its control and built about half a dozen additional nuclear weapons, testing its first in 2006. For many arms control and nonproliferation experts, this case represents a cautionary tale about the risks of foreclosing diplomatic engagement. In Bolton’s mind, however, North Korea’s actions simply prove that diplomacy doesn’t work with rogue states and that the only solution is to end these regimes all together, through U.S. military might if necessary.

And not a word was asked about his undying support for the worst foreign policy decision in modern times, the Iraq war.

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