Today’s New York Times includes an Op-Ed by John Bolton. I know. I get it. I shouldn’t waste my time. But this piece is littered with so many distortions (even by Bolton’s standards) that a brief response is absolutely necessary. Frankly, the Times should be ashamed for printing it.
Bolton couldn’t even complete a full sentence before inking his first howler: “President Obama has called for a world without nuclear weapons, not as a distant goal, but as something imminently achievable.” As The New Republic’s Peter Scoblic noted this morning, this is, well, an egregious lie. Here’s what Obama actually said in his speech in Prague in April: “So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly–perhaps not in my lifetime.”
Bolton’s second fabrication arrives a mere two sentences later: “Hurrying to negotiate a successor to the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by year’s end, which Secretary Clinton has committed to, reflects a “zeal for the deal” approach that benefits only Russia.” Let’s see. START I entered into force on December 5, 1994. However, START II never entered into force. And START III only existed on paper. The Obama administration is in fact trying to negotiate a successor to START I. So what is Bolton talking about?
A third outright whopper appears near the end of the piece: “Unhappily, the administration is pushing Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a “non-nuclear-weapons state,” meaning Israel would have to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.”
Bolton is most likely taking his cue here from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Goettemoeller’s recent appearance at the NPT PrepCom, where she stated: “Universal adherence to the NPT itself—including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea—also remains a fundamental objective of the United States.” Naturally, what Bolton fails to point out is that this has been the policy of every U.S. president since the NPT entered into force in 1970.
Here’s to hoping the Times’ fact-checkers don’t take too many more days off.