John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador and President Trump’s national security adviser, takes North Korea’s threats with a “grain of salt.”
“This is all part of the North Korean playbook. They’ve successfully jived the three prior American administrations, and they plan to do the same with this one.” And he thinks the administration is making a “big mistake” if — as reported by The New York Times — it stymied attempts by the United Nations Security Council to hold a discussion on North Korea’s human rights abuses, for fear of upsetting North Korea and thereby derailing nuclear negotiations.
“It’s been the pattern as we’ve watched it for over three decades now: The North Koreans are very happy to declare that they’re going to give up their nuclear weapons program, particularly when it’s in exchange for tangible economic benefits, but they never get around to doing it,” said Bolton. “And I think the inescapable conclusion is that they’re happy to sell that same bridge over and over again, but there’s no serious chance they will ever voluntarily give it up.”
Bolton’s comments represent a stark break — but not a surprising one — with the administration he served before his ouster three months ago. The foreign policy hawk and the president had butted heads repeatedly over the direction of the administration’s national security policy.