Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joined Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM with host Stephen K. Bannon on Thursday morning to talk about Donald Trump’s major foreign policy speech on Wednesday, which Bolton found “strong and impressive.”
“It was something I wish the campaign had done six or eight months ago, because I think a lot of the problems that they’ve had could have been avoided,” he said. “But basically, ‘better late than never’ is my view, and so now he’s entered the debate, I don’t think this should be the only foreign policy speech he’s given. I think this is Step One of several.”
“I thought there were a number of things he said in it that reflected improvements in earlier positions,” Bolton continued. “But the thing I come back to, more than anything else, is his stress that American national interest has to be at the center of our foreign policy.”
He applauded this focus, while noting that the phrase “America First” has negative connotations of isolationism, or “historical reverberations,” as Bolton put it. He recalled how Senator John McCain avoided that phrase by using “Country First” as his foreign policy mantra.
Bolton said the substance of the philosophy outlined by Trump is that the American President’s job is “to protect this country, and to do that, his policies have to be based on this country’s interests, and protecting them.”
Bannon noted that somehow this has become a controversial, partisan position, although it was the “connective tissue” of our diplomacy in the past, uniting most members of both parties in a common understanding about the importance of pursuing America’s national interests.
Bolton said that over the past 25 years, roughly since the end of the Cold War, people on both the Left and Right came to believe that “without the compelling threat of international communism, and the conflict that gripped our attention for almost half a century, that suddenly we’re free to do sort of anything we want.”
“On the Left, this is reflected in the ‘right’ – or some call it the ‘duty’ – of humanitarian intervention, that we’re supposed to use our military to avoid humanitarian tragedies around the world,” Bolton explained, citing the war in Libya as an example. “They take pride when America uses its military in a conflict where we have no national interest whatever.”
“I think those who say, ‘why are we putting American lives in danger, in a place where we don’t have a discernible national interest, are exactly right. If what Trump means – and I think others in the Republican Party have long believed it – that we’ve got to return to a policy where, with constrained resources, we’re going to protect America. America the territory, America’s citizens, America’s interests, and America’s friends and allies, before we worry about anything else. I think that’s unarguable,” he declared.
Bannon looked back to Pat Buchanan’s campaign in 1992 and noted the term “America First” is considered a “flashpoint for anti-Semitism” or anti-Israel sentiment by some.
“I didn’t see any evidence of that,” said Bolton. “If I did, I would certainly reject it. But I don’t think that was on their mind. I think if you read the text of the speech – and when I listened to it yesterday, in preparation to comment on Fox, I didn’t have the final text in front of me, so I was just listening to it – but looking at the whole thing, I didn’t detect any anti-Semitism in there at all. Quite the contrary. I thought we had a strong statement of support for Israel, and I think that’s important. I think that should be an important element of American foreign policy.”
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