NPR logo Clinton N. Korea Trip Panned By Bush UN Ambassador Bolton

Clinton N. Korea Trip Panned By Bush UN Ambassador Bolton

Not everyone is prepared to high five President Bill Clinton for a job well done in securing the release of the two U.S. journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee from North Korea.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN. Dr. Scott M. Lieberman/AP Photo hide caption

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Dr. Scott M. Lieberman/AP Photo

John Bolton, the oft-controversial former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for instance, isn't adding his voice to the congratulatory chorus directed at the former president.

Bolton spoke with "All Things Considered" guest host Madeleine Brand today and repeated criticisms he made today's on

Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told NPR:

"The symbolism of a former president going to meet with Kim Jong Il, I think is something that benefits Kim Jong Il a lot more than the United States and it only encourages others to do the same thing,"


"You can bet that in Tehran they watched this little performance in North Korea and are no doubt calculating how they might use it to their advantage."

Bolton says he would have leaned on the Chinese to, in turn, lean on the North Koreans.

"It may have taken a little bit longer, but I think when you look at the overall picture for 300 million Americans, that's the course I would have taken."

Bolton's point about the Iranians who are now holding three young Americans who allegedly entered Iranian territory from Iraq's Kurdish region, is worth considering. What does the U.S. do if the Iranians condition the release of the three Americans on a visit from former President Clinton as well?