Wednesday, April 11, 2007

bbc's love affair with john bolton

Yesterday I had to go out of London for the day, and before I left BBC Radio 4's Today programme was interviewing John Bolton at length. As always he was calling for regime change in Iran and lambasting Britain and the EU for the feeble way in which they have so far dealt with Iran. After I returned in the evening I put on BBC2 TV's Newsnight and once again John Bolton was being interviewed, calling for regime change and vehemently opposing any engagement with Iran. These are just two more examples of the BBC's current love-in with Bolton, which is reminiscent of the corporation's constant interviewing in the 2002-04 period of Richard Perle, who was another neocon hawk calling for regime change in a Middle Eastern country, before, during and after the invasion of Iraq. Perle and the BBC then fell out. Is the BBC's constant resorting to Bolton, often as the only American voice in a package on Iran, a sign of laziness on the part of BBC researchers and producers? ("Let's not bother to get anyone else"). Or is there a desire somewhere to constantly ram home Bolton's message? During Bolton's stint as US ambassador at the UN, and his failure to be confirmed in this position by the Senate, Newsnight and other BBC programmes treated Bolton with considerably less deference than they do now. Naughtie introduced him on Today as "one of Washington's hawkish voices". He asked Bolton whether, because of the great weakening of the US administration as a result of events in Iraq and the unpopularity of the war, "the truth is your point of view has lost out in the administration hasn't it?". Bolton admitted "that may well be and that is one reason why I am looking to the '08 election" but added that the mood on issues such as Iran and North Korea within the Republican and Democratic parties is "quite strong" . The "only failure of will" he is worried about is in the State Department because of the intertia and "clientitis" not just in the State Department but in foreign ministries around the world. "The idea we're going to talk them out of the course they [Iran] are pursuing is delusional."

Broadcast Bolton's views by all means, but let's also hear some other views from America and how to deal with Iran.

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