Originally posted September 14, 2017.
At The American Conservative, Jerrod Laber asks publicly the question many foreign policy realists asks themselves routinely, “Why are we still listening to John Bolton?” Laber says Bolton’s repetitive calls to war are like a “bad broken record,” and that he’s been proven wrong so often he shouldn’t be listened to any longer.
Former Ambassador John Bolton is again raising the war on television and in the newspapers, this time with North Korea, though this is hardly new, considering he did his best to derail diplomatic talks between the U.S. and the Kim regime when he was a member of the Bush Administration in 2001. Like a bad broken record, Bolton offers the same reckless militarism that’s proven him wrong so many times before, though his reputation as a foreign policy “expert”—particularly in conservative media circles—didn’t seem to suffer much.
His latest call is for reunifying the Korean peninsula—with China leading the charge. If that fails, the U.S. should consider its own military attack on the regime.
Obviously, the marketplace for ideas at the highest levels of foreign policy is hugely inefficient. The cost of being wrong is too low, and being wrong doesn’t impact credibility as long as one subscribes to Washington’s pro-war ideology.
A surgeon who botches operations doesn’t get to be a surgeon anymore. A mechanic who can’t fix cars is fired from the shop. But in the D.C. media and policy bubble, awful pundits fail up the ladder. They get an indefinite number of opportunities to be wrong again. Sadly, Bolton & Company’s legacy of wrongness already has a pretty high body count. And that should mean something in the real world.
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