In a phone interview Wednesday afternoon with me (more on this in a separate piece), former U.N. ambassador John Bolton remarked on the potential nomination of Wendy Sherman to the No. 3 spot in the State Department. He was all too aware of her record on North Korea. He says she was ”centrally involved” in a policy that was nothing less than “appeasement.” He referenced a 1999 op-ed by James Baker in the New York Times in which the former secretary of state argued:

Hold the champagne! Tuesday’s agreement between the United States and North Korea doesn’t validate the success of the Clinton administration’s North Korea policy. Indeed, since the agreement calls only for the right of American investigators to visit one suspect nuclear site, one that the North Koreans have had a year to sanitize, it probably doesn’t even get our policy “back on track.’’

It’s a pity, because American taxpayers will have to pay for this small concession with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of food and oil. Soon we may be asked to pay even more simply to get North Korea to comply with international agreements.

The only positive thing that could be said about the latest agreement is that it will probably avert a short-term crisis. But at what price? It will make the United States even more reluctant to adopt a more muscular approach toward Korea and thus could actually increase the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula. And the North Koreans may well conclude that their bad behavior will continue to be rewarded. . . . In sum, the Clinton administration’s approach to North Korea — a policy of appeasement — continues to fail.

Bolton told me Wednesday, “There are a lot of questions people should ask” should Sherman be nominated. It was her policy of “appeasement” that failed. Why should such a person deserve a high-level State Department post?