He is not warm and fuzzy and would no doubt lack any mainstream appeal in the Republican Party, but when it comes to a rationale understanding of what is going on in foreign policy matters I have always been extremely impressed with John Bolton.
He is direct, analytical, rationale and decisive in his statements over the moves that should or should not be made concerning our enemies. Would he have any chance of winning the nomination? No, but I will tell you this much; he would definitely have some national security role in any new administration that I was putting together.
These are some of his current thoughts regarding North Korea and Iran presented in an Op-Ed that he wrote for the LA Times:
"...The North may once again be testing America's strategic patience. We must avoid repeating our recent errors. After U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded in mid-2002 that Pyongyang was preparing an industrial-scope enrichment program, the Bush administration decided to confront the North. At a key meeting in October 2002, the North defiantly admitted it was engaged in enrichment. Unfortunately, the U.S. response was to launch the hapless negotiations known as the six-party talks, providing cover for the North's continued progress on nuclear weapons.
Worse, in President George W. Bush's second term, an assertive group of deniers in the State Department and the intelligence community claimed or implied that North Korea did not have a substantial or ongoing uranium-enrichment program. They denied that the North Koreans had conceded as much in 2002 and that there was sufficient evidence of a continuing program. The intelligence community downgraded its confidence level in its earlier conclusion, not because of contradictory information but because it had not subsequently acquired significant new data. State Department negotiators scorned the idea that the North had a serious enrichment capability.
All of this was done to support a passion for negotiation, hoping Pyongyang would yet again pledge to denuclearize. But denying and minimizing the threat of enrichment for most of the last decade was well wide of reality. When the North announced after its second nuclear detonation in May 2009 that it was "beginning" an enrichment program, Pyongyang was simply bringing into the open activity almost certainly begun 15 years before. The North had once again successfully played Washington for a fool.
We must avoid these grievous errors going forward, not only regarding North Korea but also Iran, whose involvement with Pyongang on ballistic missiles and probably nuclear weapons is long-standing. There is substantial reason for concern that Tehran's capabilities and its penchant for cooperating with the North exceed U.S. intelligence estimates. Moreover, the spinning of North Korea-related intelligence in recent years bears an uneasy similarity to the famously distorted 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapons program. Such politicization of intelligence provides a clear basis for high-priority investigations by the incoming Congress..."