Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton paid a visit to Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Thursday to offer his thoughts on some top news items of the day.
Brexit: “I think it’s a huge opportunity for the United Kingdom to regain its place in the world. The theologians who support the European Union have been telling us for years, as the referendum campaign was under way and after the referendum, that the sky was going to fall. The sky’s still up there,” Bolton said.
“The fact is that the European Union has more to lose from Britain leaving than Britain does. I think that’ll come out in the negotiations. I think European business will want to keep doing business with the United Kingdom. I think the real losers here are the political leaders of the Union itself,” he predicted.
“There’s also a huge opportunity here for the United States and the Trump administration because this is kind of like a blank slate to write a trade agreement between the U.S. and the U.K. that can show what Donald Trump’s principles really are,” he added. “It’s a big opportunity to help influence the British negotiations with Europe because it will show the Europeans they’re not the only game in town. I think it’s something we could bring Canada into very quickly.”
“It was a great day yesterday to see Theresa May send that letter, even though she was a supporter of remaining in the European Union. Since she’s been prime minister, she’s been steadfast in carrying out the will of the British people, and that’s what that referendum was. I’m very excited. I think it’s going to be an arduous process of negotiation, no doubt about it, but it’s Britain’s independence,” he said.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley: Bolton thought Haley’s announcement that she would lead 40 countries in a walkout from a U.N. meeting on banning nuclear weapons was “exactly the right thing to do.”
“What’s going on here is an effort to undercut the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he said. “It’s a move aimed at Israel and the United States indirectly.”
Bolton said the U.N. meeting was “fake,” and “nothing of substance will come out of it.”
“Our not showing up deprives it of legitimacy and shows that we think it’s the theater it really is,” he said.
Efforts to smear the Trump administration as anti-Semitic: “They just can’t bring themselves to say a good word about Trump. If they were even-handed – criticizing him occasionally, supporting him from time to time – it would increase their credibility. But they just don’t see it that way,” Bolton said.
He said Ambassador Haley delivered a “great speech” at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference on Monday.
“I think she’s doing a great job in New York,” Bolton said “I think everybody should read the New York Times story this morning about her attack on the U.N. Human Rights Council, which she attacked as corrupt. I’m sure she meant morally corrupt, although it may be fiscally corrupt, as well.”
“This is another example of the Trump administration going after a broken U.N. program, but the real reason to read the article is if you want to see the unmasked bias of the press,” he said.
Bolton said the media were attacking Haley because she is “not just defending Israel or the U.S. relationship with Israel but gone after an icon of the American and international Left, this thoroughly worthless Human Rights Council.”
“This is an excellent example of how biased the mainstream press is,” he judged.
Pope Francis calls for a world without nuclear weapons: “There are a lot of senior officials around the world, retired people, who have called for a world without nuclear weapons,” Bolton observed. “That would be great. I’d love to see a world where the lions lie down with the lambs. When that day happens, let me know, and I’ll take a look at getting rid of America’s nuclear weapons.”
“The fact is the weapons are not intended to be used. They’re intended as a deterrent,” he pointed out. “They have succeeded, since the end of World War II, in preventing nuclear war.”
“The other reality is, even if you got rid of nuclear weapons, the bad guys would still have chemical and biological weapons,” he added, agreeing with Marlow’s comparison of nuclear disarmament to gun control: the bad guys are unlikely to comply with either initiative.
“Winston Churchill once said he thought arms control agreements were basically futile since the people you can trust to honor their commitments on arms control were precisely the people you weren’t worried about,” he recalled. “Maybe Pope Francis needs to read some more Winston Churchill.”
The battle for Mosul, Iraq: Bolton thought the defeat of ISIS in Mosul was inevitable, but there would not be “much of the city left.”
“We haven’t really switched to a Trump administration strategy yet, from an Obama administration strategy,” he contended.
“While I think the Trump administration is definitely committed to trying to destroy ISIS more quickly and more thoroughly, it needs to change the approach that Obama took, which will inevitably lead Iran and its surrogates to concluding the Baghdad government and the Shiite militia that are participating in the attack on Mosul, leave them in a stronger position around the entire Middle East,” he warned.
“We have to be realistic. There are a lot of conflicts going on. The next conflict is Iran and its allies against the oil-producing monarchies on the Arabian peninsula and, ultimately, Israel,” Bolton anticipated. “While we want to destroy ISIS as quickly and thoroughly as possible, we want to do it in a way that minimizes the upside for Iran and its allies.”
“Obama’s approach was exactly the opposite. In effect, it boosted the prospects for the Assad regime in Syria, for the regime in Baghdad. That’s not what we want to do. I hope that as the Pentagon reviews the military options, as the White House has requested them to do, they’ll keep that in mind,” he urged.
Four suspected al-Qaeda militants killed in Yemen drone strike: “Yemen has the dubious distinction of being home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” Bolton observed. “It has an active ISIS operation there. Iran has backed the Houthi rebels in their efforts to overthrow the government, so, in effect, Iran’s got a back door into the Arabian Peninsula. The place is completely anarchic.”
“The Saudis and others want to try and restore order so that they can get rid of these radical threats. I think it’s in America’s interest to do that because as we close the noose on ISIS in what used to be Syria and Iraq, they’re going to go somewhere else: maybe Libya, maybe Somalia, or maybe Yemen,” he said.
“Trying to bring these states that have completely collapsed into anarchy back into some form of ordered governance, so that the terrorists can’t take root there, I think is essential. Otherwise, you’re just going to play whack-a-mole. You can defeat ISIS, capture Mosul, capture Raqqa – and then they just go somewhere else, and you have to start all over again,” Bolton advised.
President Trump’s comments that “we’re doing very well in Iraq” and “our soldiers are fighting like never before”: Bolton said that “more U.S. military force is being applied, and I think that is going to speed up the demise of ISIS.”
“As I said before, though, it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t maximize the benefit to Iran,” he stressed. “But we can also see now, as U.S. bombing strikes increase, now we’re being blamed for civilian casualties – as if it’s not ISIS and their practice of using human shields to protect themselves that’s not really responsible.”
Bolton said this points to “the need for the Trump administration to have an overall anti-ISIS strategy and to pull it together on a global basis.”
“This ideology is a global threat. Winning in this particular theater or that particular theater is obviously important, but it needs to be stitched together in a comprehensive form. I’m not sure they’ve had the chance to do that yet,” he said.
Philippines president says U.S. should send “armada” to confront China in South China Sea: Bolton said the United States “has not been assertive enough” in the South China Sea, partly because “the size of our overall armada has continued to shrink” during the Obama administration.
“The Trump budget will increase it, but it takes time to get these new ships built and at sea. Some people say that at least the first Trump budget doesn’t have enough funds provided to build the Navy up as quickly as possible,” Bolton noted.
He said the point raised by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is “one shared by many other Southeast Asian nations, which is if we don’t stop China from building air and naval bases on these islands that they’re creating in the South China Sea, it won’t make any difference by the time we have an adequate-sized Navy.”
“China will have achieved its objective of making the entire South China Sea a Chinese province and thereby putting its hands around the throats of the economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia – all important trading partners or allies of the United States,” he warned.
“I’m really worried in the press of other business in Washington that we’re not paying enough attention to the South China Sea,” Bolton said.
Populist/nationalist movement in Europe: Bolton did not think the movement was “fading” despite an electoral loss in the Netherlands and another probably on tap in France.
“In the Dutch election, Wilders’ party picked up seats, and the party of the prime minister who will likely lead the next coalition government, his party lost seats,” Bolton pointed out.
“What I think changed was the expectations game. The fact is, Wilders’ party in the Netherlands is still second-biggest, and many believe that the prime minister from a center-right party was able to hold on to the government by basically adopting many of the positions that Wilders had been articulating,” he said.
“In France, I think you’re seeing some of the same thing,” he continued. “I think it’s unlikely that Marine Le Pen can win in the runoff. I think she’ll make it to the runoff, maybe even come in first. But then, the practice in the past is that all the other parties – left, right, and center – endorse whoever her opponent is, even if it’s not the person they prefer. That’ll probably work again, but I don’t necessarily think so.”
“Marine Le Pen is a savvy politician, much savvier than her father,” Bolton elaborated. “There are signs that her most likely opponent, a kind of plastic candidate named Emmanuel Macron, who, right now, looks to be all things to all people, if he gets into the second round, he may be more vulnerable than people think.”
“Again, I think it’s unlikely Le Pen wins, but far from impossible,” he concluded.
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