An op-ed in today’s Washington Post says that the authors were offered a deal by North Korean President Kim in November 2002, which President Bush rejected. Shortly thereafter, North Korea withdrew from the NPT. Much of the Administration’s criticism of the NPT has been based on the fact that North Korea withdrew from the treaty with apparent impunity. But it turns out that Bush was at least partly responsible for North Korea’s withdrawal. It was as much a failure of diplomacy as of the legal design of the treaty.
No doubt part of the problem was the John Bolton was largely responsible for this issue within the Administration. It has already turned out since he left that he was responsible for the failure of negotiations over the Nunn-Lugar agreement with Russia, and that work under the agreement is starting to move ahead since he left State. It also appears that his efforts to block ElBaradei from getting another term as head of the IAEA has failed, and that Condi Rice wisely agreed to giving him another term once Bolton was gone. It would appear that Bolton was a major failure in his last job. But Bush has rewarded failure before, e.g., CIA Director Tenet’s medal, and Paul Wolfowitz promotion to head of the World Bank.