Dec 16, 2007

Surrender Is Not An Option - Bolton

John Bolton is a brilliant conservative intellectual, and a terrible writer. His book is so filled with minutia that a reader gets lost. Hidden in the bureaucratic maze of details - are a few thoughtful remarks:

George W. Bush comes through as a smart, careful and firmly opinionated leader right more often than not. He gets very high marks.
  • Kofi Annan does not. He comes on the scene as an imperious, corrupt, and woefully inept manager capable of gross errors.
  • At one point the author describes the draft of a proposal as "so bad that Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter would quickly approve it".
  • James Baker is a key player during John Bolton's rise. He is seen as a tightly remote friend, somewhat above it all, and infinitely capable of moving the chess pieces of our political bureaucracy.
  • Colin Powell doesn't fare so well. He appears tough, very political, and out of place in the Bush administration. As his rift with the President widened he became very protective of his legacy - instead of right and wrong.
  • Condoleeza Rice (surprisingly to me)is described as vastly competent person, careful of her image at all times, and solidly supportive of the President. She is seen as a bright and forceful leader.
  • I got a small chuckle out of the description of Hugo Chavez as Fidel Castro without brains.
  • John McCain is pictured several times in the book as a strong minded, decisive and principled leader. Quite contrary to the "vascillating mug-wump flip-flopper" in the news every day.
  • The clearly anti-American Kofi Annan was a disaster for the United Nations and for the United States. He stood for blocking improvements and protecting corruption.
  • Kofi Annan has since been replaced by Ban Ki Moon (South Korea) as Security General. It is too soon to judge his effectiveness - but not too soon to be glad Kofi Annan is gone.
  • Following all of the interesting snap shots of these personalities, and the endless bureaucratic manuverings, Bolton comes alive on page number 429. On that page the book changes from boring details to an interesting summary of ideas.

    First comes and excellent conversation about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which moves on to describe additional and equally evil threats. Bolton's suggestions are fascinating. He (rightly) contends that tiny Israel is isolated and vulnerable amid extremely hostile neighbors, and despite it's size, Israel is the key to the entire middle east. Bolton postulates that:

    • If Iran was to erase Israel from the map, the threat to all nations from an politically unstable nuclear Iran would increase exponentially.
    • Pakistan is also held together with disintegrating threads. Should there be a coup, assassination, or even a trivial sneeze, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal could easily fall into terrorist hands tomorrow.
    • North Korea's nuclear insanity will end only when Dear Leader is toppled and North and South Korea are united.
    • China is feels threatened by the American presence in Taiwan and Korea.
    • Japan is concerned that should America reduce that presence Japan must replace it with a strong military force of their own.
    • The United Nations are anything but united.

    Bolton believes the United Nations is terribly flawed and will remain so until voluntary contributions replace assessed contributions.

    "If America insisted it would pay only for what works, and that we get what we pay for, we would revolutionize life throughout the U.N. system".

    More later. . .