Jeffrey LewisBlair Banned Bolton from Libya Talks


The Brits don’t like Bolton, either.

Newsweek has dusted off some quality reporting on the diplomacy surrounding Libya’s decision to surrender its nuclear weapons program. In October 2004, Michael Hirsh and John Barry of Newsweek reported:

LIBYA. “We convinced Libya to disarm,” Bush said. But in fact the British played the lead role in the negotiations. And the talks succeeded only after the British managed to sideline the Bush administration’s top arms-control official, John Bolton, NEWSWEEK has learned.

Under Secretary of State Bolton, a hard-liner, pursued Bush’s basic approach of “not rewarding bad behavior” by refusing to lift sanctions against Libya. But after a tense session in London, the British complained that Bolton was obstructing talks. Washington agreed to keep Bolton at home. The assurances that Libya sought were quietly given. Bush lifted sanctions.

ACW passed along the morsel at the time (along with a delicious photographic comparison of Mssrs. Bolton and Gaddafi, if I do say so myself).

Now, Hirsh has revisited the story, adding that the intervention occurred at the “at the highest level” on the British side.

I guess Tony Blair doesn’t support the nomination, either.

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