Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton discussed the threat of expansionist China on Breitbart News Daily with host Stephen K. Bannon, who has personal experience with the region.
Bolton agreed with Bannon that the American people have not been well-prepared by their political leaders to understand the enormous strategic significance of the South China Sea, or the true scope of China’s ambitions. He laid the task of providing that perspective, and rallying public support for whatever American counter-moves are necessary, at the feet of the next President.
“People need to hear their leaders, or their would-be leaders, explain why these issues are important to them,” he said.
For a lot of people, maybe who didn’t grow up in the Vietnam era, the South China Sea sounds like it’s a long way away. Here’s a key fact: every barrel of oil that goes to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan – key allies and trading partners of the United States – goes through the South China Sea. if the Chinese take what are now international waters, and make them into a Chinese lake, they’ve got their hands around the throats of those economies. They’ve got forward position among the nations of Southeast Asia, and they’re right on the edge of the Indian Ocean.
“There’s a lot at stake here,” he concluded. “A real leader could explain that, could explain to the American people how it could affect their daily lives – and why we have to take actions such as a substantial naval rebuilding program, so that our Navy doesn’t sink to levels we haven’t seen since World War I, and so that we can protect our freedoms here, and our way of life.”
Bolton conceded these complex issues are not well-suited to “45-second answers in these serial press conferences we call ‘debates,’” so presidential candidates would have to use other venues to bring the voters up to speed.
It can be difficult for candidates to invest precious campaign energy on deep issues of foreign policy, even at a time of heightened public concern over national security, but Boton made an excellent point about how those seemingly far-off events in the South China Sea could be presented as immediate threats to the American way of life. There will indeed be swift and dire consequences for American citizens if China dominates the entire Pacific Rim by controlling the freedom of navigation, as Bolton described.
He stressed that the next President must understand, and express to the American people, that there is “a clear relationship between foreign policy and domestic policy.”
“You can’t treat them separately. You can’t have a strong American economy and preserve our way of life here at home without a strong American presence internationally… and you can’t have a strong presence internationally without a strong economy.”
Bolton advised that the first job of the President who cleans up after Barack Obama would be to “re-establish that America is going to protect itself and its friends around the world,” much as Ronald Reagan did after Jimmy Carter.
“We’re trying to avoid conflict in the world. We’re trying to protect our interest without hostilities. But you have to do that from a position of strength,” Bolton explained. “You’ve got to start with political leadership, then you’ve got to follow it up with some very extensive programs to re-furbish the military. That’s going to cost money. Nobody better blink at that.”
You can listen to the full interview with John Bolton below:
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 weekdays from 6:00AM to 9:00AM EST.