Last Saturday, Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, participated in a panel discussion on Iranian foreign policy with two high-ranking Iranian officials at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The New York Times reports that the White House and Condoleezza Rice were “angered” by Khalilzad’s move because he did not receive explicit authorization. (Watch video of the event here.)
The moderator of the forum joked that Khalilzad has a “really formidable advantage of having a name that is not John Bolton.” Because Khalilzad let that comment stand without repudiating it, right-wing bloggers have erupted in full rage that Khalilzad did not jump to defend Bolton’s honor (as they surely would have). Thus, Khalilzad’s behavior was “disgusting,” “an insult to the United States” and showed “a lack of testicular fortitude”:
Powerline: “The moderator begins the panel with an insult to former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Rice is apparently angry that Khalilzad participated in the panel without administration authorization. I am angry that Khalilzad participated after the insult to his predecessor in office. Disgusting.”
Captain’s Quarters: “The moderator noted in his effusive introduction of Khalilzad that among his outstanding qualities was “the further, really formidable advantage of having a name that is not John Bolton.” Regardless of whether Khalilzad had prior authorization, allowing the insult to Bolton to stand unchallenged represents an insult to the United States and a lack of testicular fortitude on the part of his replacement.”
So, despite the fact that Khalilzad adhered to the Bush administration line on Iran during the discussion, the right-wing bloggers found it reprehensible that an American official would have the temerity to sit in the same room with an Iranian official and let a mild dig at John Bolton go undefended.
UPDATE: Newshoggers writes, “Poor Zalmay. He’s been a loyal neocon for years and they lauded him for his work in Afghanistan and Iraq when he was up for the UN post. … But let a slur on the Almighty Moustache slide and he’s neocon toast.”