"Weapons of Mass Deception"


Hard-Line State Dept. Official to Quit -Sources


Jan. 6, 2005 - Undersecretary of State John Bolton, a leading hard-liner on nuclear nonproliferation who has raised hackles among America's allies as well as its adversaries, is expected to quit the Bush administration, sources said on Thursday.

His departure may signal a shift in U.S. diplomacy to a less confrontational approach as President Bush begins a second term in which he has pledged to reach out to allies estranged by the Iraq War and other policies.

Bolton, an outspoken and controversial policymaker, often provoked strong negative reactions from European allies and was identified more with the sticks than the carrots of U.S. diplomacy when dealing with countries like North Korea and Iran.

He had hoped for a promotion in Bush's second term, perhaps to deputy secretary of state, but the word went out that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick would get the No. 2 spot under Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state designate.

"My understanding is that Mr. Bolton will move to the private sector," said one source, a friend who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He gave no further details, but Bolton's expected departure was confirmed by another government source and a Republican with close ties to the administration.

A spokesman for Bolton declined to comment.

Gary Schmitt, head of the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank, said "conservatives are certainly not going to like losing Bolton." But he interpreted the move as evidence that Rice "wants people she knows working for her."

Bolton aggressively pursued an agenda that included extreme skepticism in negotiations with North Korea and Iran on nuclear weapons issues. But even critics gave him credit for a security initiative that encouraged governments to crack down on trafficking in weapons of mass destruction by intercepting and seizing suspect cargoes.

He also led the fight against U.S. involvement with the International Criminal Court, negotiating agreements with scores of countries to ensure that American troops in their territory could not be subjected to the court's jurisdiction.

Robert Joseph, who retired as the National Security Council's top nonproliferation official several months ago, was expected to replace Bolton as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, the sources said.

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Milton Frihetsson, 02:45


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