TOKYO–Blame it on John Bolton. That’s President Donald Trump’s explanation for why talks to get North Korea to give up its nuclear program haven’t been going anywhere.
It was indeed Bolton’s idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un follow the model of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who gave up his nuclear program entirely in 2003. But the great flaw in that example, as the North Koreans often note, is that NATO-backed rebels deposed and killed Gaddafi eight years later.
Now Trump is saying that Bolton, by raising the Libyan example, “set us back very badly” in negotiations with North Korea. “What a disaster,” Trump said Wednesday. “I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that. He wanted nothing to do with John Bolton.”