Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton told a packed crowd in Brevard that Iran, North Korea and Islamic terrorist groups project near-term nuclear menace that could someday soon threaten to destroy select American cities to bully their way, while longtime super powers China and Russia pose renewed challenges to world security.
Walrus-mustached Bolton is a staunch conservative as Fox News commentator and American Enterprise Institute senior fellow. He was once undersecretary of state for arms control and international security for then-Pres. George W. Bush, and now is an adviser to the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He was praised as a clear, thorough, eloquent and persuasive thinker by many who heard him in Brevard College’s Paul Porter Center Sept. 25. His lecture was sponsored by the Transylvania County Library Foundation led by David Watkins.
North Korea already has nuclear weapons, starves its people in one large “prison camp” to defy economic sanctions and press on with nukes, and is gradually improving its so far so-so missile delivery, Bolton said.
Even worse, the communist nation is eagerly exporting this ultimate weapon of mass destruction to rogue Middle East nations and likely ultimately to unyieldingly-destructive “religious fanatic” terrorist groups, Bolton warned. He sees nuclear weapons going to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and former U.S. ally Egypt where new Pres. Mohammad Morsi was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood that instigated recent Islamic uprisings in several Middle Eastern countries. Add nukes to the equation, and this “volatile region would be even more incredibly dangerous,” Bolton noted. Chemical and biological weapons might also be launched by Iran or its terrorist proxies.
Public Enemy No. One: Iran
The most immediate challenge is dealing with oil-rich Iran, next in the nuke line and already “the world’s central banker of international terrorism.” Iran has enriched uranium for about seven nuclear weapons, Bolton said, and can reach nuclear warhead capability within a half-year. He fully expects Iran to succeed if complacent Pres. Obama is reelected instead of a much harder-line GOP administration. Iran is “building a broad and deep nuclear program … almost impossible to eliminate” other than by war once developed.
Economic sanctions are not enough deterrent and relative inaction by the United Nations and United States forces Israel to stage another preemptive strike against a sworn enemy’s nuclear facility once it is near operational and effective, he noted. Israel did so against Iraq in 1981, then in 2007 in Syria which is believed to be a favorite WMD hiding place for its allies.
Further, he said, if Iran is allowed even limited nuclear capacity it could use it to try to dictate policy or inflict terrorist fear even to the U.S. via ability to destroy a few cities here in a mega-worse encore to 9/11. He ripped the Obama administration for discounting terrorist attempts on the latest 9/11 anniversary.
Enemy leaders view the U.S. leadership as weak and appeasing and thus are more aggressive, rendering the Obama regime inept, Bolton indicated. He stressed voters should scrutinize candidates’ foreign policy voting records.
Bolton sees two primary flaws in Obama’s American foreign policy makers and diplomats. One is they need to better analyze adversarial nations, ideological and terrorist zealots as they are, rather than “mirror imaging.” That is errantly figuring others act with our values and restraints, overlooking their actions and stated goals such as total destruction of Israel, damaging damning Western “infidels” and total Islamic world.
Stronger Russia, China
He said Pres. Obama naively claims “the tide of war is receding,” and by assuring Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of being “flexible” once reelected he is pledging to further appease with inferior concessions in return. Trying to “win favor with the Russians by giving up our own defenses is backwards,” Bolton said. He prefers Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” approach, which got the former Soviet Union to realize it could not win the arms race and agree to arms reductions.
Bolton said a primary concern is Obama will cave in and remove missile defense and radar tracking in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though Russia acts as if it is a NATO matter, instead these systems actually protect the U.S. from nuclear attack by Iran, Bolton emphasized. He said Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin is rearming militarily and his nuclear arsenal, and renewing urge to control the former Soviet Union and its oil and mineral resources.
Putin is contesting U.S. interests in the Middle East, such as by propping up Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, Bolton said. He jested that “at the Kremlin, they pop open another bottle of vodka” hoping for another Obama term.
Wealthier-by-the-minute China is unleashing a “cyber-terrorism network,” and also rearming to the teeth and adding its first cross-oceans navy, Bolton said. He said China threatens Southeast Asian commerce with “belligerent claims to (oil/gas-rich) islands, rocks and reefs in the South China Sea and East China Sea” in international waters.
Bolton chastised another tactical gaffe of egg-head “establishment” intellectuals and United Nations organizers, of “moral equivalency” and “sovereign equality.” This is their regarding the nearly 200 U.N. nations as equal to one another in moral stature, and in deserving in its voting and committee power. Rather, he said, there are clearly nations more into keeping stability and sovereign rights (“American exceptionalism”) while other countries try to bludgeon into territorial, political and economic conquest.
Yet while power is largely equal, funding responsibilities are not and as the U.S. is assessed one-fifth of expenses for U.N. operations. Bolton drew his biggest applause with an off-the-wall suggestion the U.S. insist it pay only for U.N. operations it sides with, rather than fund ones counter to our geo-political interests.