John Bolton: Sochi Olympics Will Be a Win for Putin

John Bolton: Sochi Olympics Will Be a Win for Putin

Friday’s broadcast of Hugh Hewitt’s radio show with former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton:

Partial transcript as follows:

HEWITT: I’m talking with Ambassador John Bolton, former Ambassador for the United States to the United Nations, potential presidential candidatein 2016. Let me ask you, Mr. Ambassador, the second question. We’re about at the midpoint of the Olympics, and I’m not going to do any spoilers,although people who like figure skating ought to watch tonight tape delayed across the United States, because it’s an extraordinary performance. I’mnot going to tell you by whom. You’re going to want to watch it. So Mr. Ambassador, have these Games been a net plus for Putin or a net detrimentfor Putin given the complexity of the storyline around Sochi?

BOLTON: To this point, I’d have to say they’re a net plus for Putin, but the great unanswered question, obviously, is will there be a successfulterrorist attack. I would predict that if we’re all fortunate enough to get through the Games without a terrorist attack, that it will seem a muchbigger plus for Putin as time goes on, the fact that he was able to carry them off. Obviously, there were some embarrassments and lack of readinessin the hotels. We’ve all seen the pictures. But if he’s able to carry it off without a terrorist attack, I think he will have demonstrated the pointhe wanted to make, which is that Russia can handle this kind of thing, that he has brought Russia back center stage with this kind of performance, andall these defects and embarrassments, I think, will fade. Now that would pale if there’s a terrorist attack.

HEWITT: Obviously, that is true. The second, the first premise, though, it’sbeen such a corrosive storyline – no snow, cut in half toilets, the restaurants aren’t open, it’s a fiasco in seating, all sorts of differentthings. You don’t think…it’s sort of like Obamacare’s rollout. This is his Obamacare rollout, something he can work through to a greater message.

BOLTON: Well, I think the criticisms are valid. I’m not trying to defend their performance. I think there’s a lot to criticize. But my point is that if we get through without a terrorist incident, which let’s face it, was the big concern in the run up given the precursor terrorist attacks that have been carried out, I think nonetheless what people really remember is what they see on television – the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony, if Russia does well in the medal race, that kind of thing. Certainly for domestic purposes, it will be a big victory for Putin, and I think honestly, the rest of the world will see it that way, too. I think these inconveniences fade away.


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