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How Kofi Annan Scored Bush Dinner

It has puzzled some in the diplomatic community since it occurred on Dec. 5, 2006. Why, after being undercut for years by the former United Nations secretary general, did President Bush host a lovey-dovey retirement dinner for Kofi Annan? In his tough-talking memoir, John Bolton, the conservative firebrand given a recess appointment as ambassador to the U.N., explains that Annan pestered Bush until it happened.

In Surrender Is Not an Option, Bolton reveals that during a September 2006 trip to the U.N., Bush "vaguely offered an invitation to a farewell event at the White House." Bush probably dropped that thought immediately, but Annan didn't. Bolton, who by then had decided to quit after a year rather than face a confirmation fight to keep his job, says Annan's office "harassed [the White House] unmercifully ... to schedule something." It gets worse: Annan wanted former Clintonites invited, including Bush critic Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state. She didn't attend.

By Paul Bedard