Re "Flailing in the Mideast," Opinion, Feb. 18

John Bolton presents a flawed critique of President Obama's diplomacy in the Mideast. In the case of Iran, Bolton is convinced that the current nuclear negotiations cannot result in a positive outcome and therefore should be abandoned, apparently in favor of military action.

With respect to Bolton's remarks about Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he expresses the neoconservative demand for political clarity at any cost. To Bolton, in any dispute there must always be an identifiable villain, blame must always be assigned to a particular agent, and punitive measures must follow.

His is an absolutist interpretation of nuanced political realities. For Bolton, there is no such thing as shared responsibility for a conflict.

This worldview does not allow for a restrained and thoughtful examination of foreign policy options.

Andrew Spathis

Los Angeles

After reading Bolton's article, I have one question: What major diplomatic accomplishment did the administration that Bolton served actually achieve?

Did the Bush administration halt Iran's nuclear weapons program? Did it finally solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem? Was Syrian leader Bashar Assad removed from power?

As for any mistakes that Obama may have made, none resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans and many more Iraqis.

For a man who was part of an administration that presided over what many now consider a strategic disaster, one would hope that Bolton and other Bush administration officials would hold their fire against this president.

George Izaguirre

Claremont

Bolton has gazed into his crystal ball and predicted the failure of all of Obama's initiatives in the Mideast.

Is this the same crystal ball his fellow former Bush administration officials used when, with equal certainty, they foresaw a bright future for Iraq?

Donald G. Marshall

Downey

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