Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton discussed the politics of nuclear proliferation and his new book, "Surrender is Not an Option," with 20 GW students, journalists and members of the public during GW's Security First Foreign Policy Roundtable at Hotel Lombardy.
Bolton, who served as the United States' representative to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, said North Korean and Iranian nuclear issues will be front and center for the next president and urged the removal of the "cloak of secrecy" about North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
"This month is the one-year anniversary of North Korea's agreement to give up its nuclear weapons, which was by my count the fourth time they have made this commitment over the past 15 years," Bolton said.
The U.S. State Department has resisted the idea that North Korea is not serious about following through on its commitment to stop its nuclear program.
Bolton said it is likely North Korea outsourced its production of weapons of mass destruction and is continuing its nuclear program.
"North Korea is nothing if not followers of their own plans," Bolton said.
He said Iran is also continuing its nuclear program, which the National Intelligence Estimate said ended in fall 2003.
Bolton, who was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to expose Iran's nuclear program, criticized the NIE because the footnotes of the NIE report contained information defining Iran's nuclear weapons program as "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work."
"Card sharks - not intelligence professionals - could be proud of this sleight of hand, which grossly mischaracterizes what Iran actually needs for a weapons program," Bolton said in an editorial in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
Only a handful of GW students attended the event, but those that came were impressed by Bolton.
"After today, I have a deeper appreciation for his work," freshman Joe Sangiorio said. "I walked away with a new perspective on Iran, the National Intelligence Estimate . which I was glad he brought to my attention."
Freshman Travis Holler said it was great to be able to have a small group discussion with the former ambassador.
"I was surprised at how much access I had to him," Holler said. "It was amazing to hear his insight and strategic model about how America can deal with nations fulfilling the demands of the U.S."
Radhika Bhat, research and outreach assistant for the Institute for Communitarian studies, said the discussion fulfilled the goals of the Security First Foreign Policy Roundtable.
"(The purpose) is to publicize unconventional thinking and engage the journalistic and intellectual community in policy dialogue on political issues of the past and (see) where they are headed."