The New York Times:
Bringing on the fiery Mr. Bolton now, at a delicate moment with North Korea, is a terrible decision. While Mr. Trump has often threatened North Korea with military action, he accepted Mr. Kim’s invitation to a summit meeting, brokered by South Korea’s president, who is eager for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis.
Mr. Bolton, by contrast, told Fox News earlier this month that talks would be worthless, and he has called South Korean leaders “putty in North Korea’s hands.” On Feb. 28, he insisted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article that “it is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.” Last summer he wrote in The Journal, “The U.S. should obviously seek South Korea’s agreement (and Japan’s) before using force, but no foreign government, even a close ally, can veto an action to protect Americans from Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons.”
On Iran, Mr. Bolton and the president are in sync, with both arguing that the United States should withdraw from the nuclear agreement by a May deadline. In March 2015, he argued in a New York Times Op-Ed opinion article that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor “can accomplish what is required.”
Going to war in either of these cases would not only create unnecessary bloodshed; it would be disastrous for the United States and its allies, South Korea and Japan. The Iran deal has substantially halted the nuclear program and needs to be maintained. Negotiations between the United States and North Korea, given a new impetus by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim, need to be tested.
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