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OP-ED: Is Bolton’s Book a Reliable Witness?

OPED by Linda Kim

Global Outlook



US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s controversial book, “The Room Where It Happened”, has finally reached the light of day on June 23rd, after months of being delayed and hampered by lawyers and national security issues. There has not been a more polarized book review.


Bolton it seems, who joined the Trump administration looking for a hardliner ally, was disappointed and disillusioned. Even though President Trump takes a considerable role in the book, he is certainly not the only one under the microscope.


Bolton speaks of many controversial conversations with foreign leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Both Jinping and Zelensky were portrayed as complicit and corrupt, similar to Trump, but only one leader was portrayed as ignoramus as well, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.


While Bolton describes how Trump pretty much colluded - or at least tried to - with Jinping regarding what could only be called election tampering in exchange for help with Chinese telecom companies and supporting Uyghur concentration camps, and Zelensky regarding the Ukraine Affair, Bolton comes down pretty hard on Czech PM Babiš. He alludes to frivolous comments made by the latter. Bolton stops short of calling Babiš stupid, but he makes it very clear that Babiš’s comments were unacceptable.

According to Bolton, Babiš was struggling to meet defense spending quotas dictated by a NATO defense agreement because the Czech Republic was getting rich too fast for the nation to defend itself, all while Trump was demanded NATO members put 2% of their GDP towards their military budget. Perhaps he was wondering where was the money going?

Of course, Bolton leaves the Ukraine affair to the very end, a worthy cliffhanger, and perhaps the reason for buying his book. He does explain why he never testified; however, many people have expressed that there was no concrete conclusion to where Bolton stands on this issue. We might never know.


Bolton’s book is controversial not only in the events he describes, but also in the language that he uses. Some find his language to be condescending, arrogant and even describe him as “stuck-up” and aggressive. Others focus more on the content of the book and not the spirit in which they were composed. Bolton describes some things in great detail and others briefly, yet the message is there.


So, the real question here remains, does the language he uses discredit what he is saying or is Bolton’s book a credible witness of government corruption and misconduct?


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