Bolton’s schoolyard-level diplomacy
09:33 AM EDT on Tuesday, October 4, 2005

IMAGINE we’re back in October 1962, at the height of the Cold War, in the thick of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world’s survival is at stake, threatened by the real possibility of nuclear war between the two superpowers, neither one prepared to concede an inch.

Then imagine this scene: The terribly tense Security Council debate is under way between the Soviet and U.S. representatives to the United Nations. Suddenly, just after Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin begins to speak, his American counterpart, Adlai Stevenson, rises and walks out of the room, leaving two note takers behind. Imagine further that the pretext for the walk-out is Zorin’s supposedly “terrorist” youth and the Soviet refusal to allow foreign inspectors into its nuclear facilities.

No doubt you would find such undiplomatic behavior at best shortsighted — at worst, purile, provocative, and dangerous. No doubt even some of the most anti-communist journalists would criticize American arrogance and immaturity.

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