Tuesday, May 10, 2005

History Repeats Itself

Steve Clemons at the Washington Note has been doing a great job keeping interested observers up to date on the John Bolton nomination. Excerpts from a recent post:

In the Fall of 2004, John Bolton was given the task of communicating U.S. admninistration policy on Iran -- and commenting on the prospect and process of European negotiations with Iran -- at a Washington meeting of certain G8 principals.

...Bolton simply "quickly stated administration policy and that was it. He stopped. No more discussion. He gave 'one read' of the policy and refused to do more."

In other words -- and I have confirmed this bizarre incident -- John Bolton read the administration's policy from a prepared text, but he refused to distribute that text -- and he refused to read the statement again.

He had read the statement once, fast -- and would not read it again.

Excerpts from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer:

... the Germans had drawn up proposals and Ribbentrop [Joachim Ribbentrop, German Foreign minister, later found guilty and hung for war crimes after the first Nuremberg International Military Tribunal] now proceeded to read them.

He read them in German "at top speed, or rather gabbled to me as fast as he could, in a tone of utmost annoyance," Henderson [Sir Nevile Henderson, British ambassador to Germany in 1939] reported.

[Henderson continues:]

"Of the sixteen articles I was able to gather the gist of six or seven, but it would have been quite impossible to guarantee even the exact accuracy of these without a careful study of the text itself. When he had finished I accordingly asked him to let me see it. Ribbentrop refused categorically, threw the document with a contemptuous gesture on the table ..."

It's worth pointing out, I think, that Bolton was "conferring" with allies.

No comments: