John Bolton on KFAQ

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In case you missed it from Monday's KFAQ Mornings with Gwen Freeman and Chris Medlock, here's an MP3 of their interview with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. Bolton is discussing his new book, Surrender Is Not an Option.

About UN reform, Bolton said that efforts at marginal reform will never work, and the only way that wholesale change will occur is if UN contributions are made voluntary. Instead of a mandatory assessment funding all UN activities, which creates "an entitlement mentality" in the UN bureaucracy, nations would be able to pick and choose which UN programs are effective enough to deserve funding.

Bolton also discussed Iran's nuclear threat -- could be several years away, could be less than a year. Bolton says regardless, he doesn't believe in "just-in-time non-proliferation" -- ruling out the military option until Iran is on the verge or actually has nukes. He didn't use this phrase, but his counsel could be summarized as Barney Fife's watchword: "Nip it in the bud."

Medlock asked which is the greatest nuclear threat, Iran or North Korea. Bolton believes its the Norks and mentioned Israel's September 6th air strike on a site in Syria that may have been a joint North Korea-Syria nuclear project. Iran he described as the "world's central banker for terrorism."

In response to the idea that we could use deterrence to keep Iran in check, as we did with the Soviet Union during the Cold War: "You have people who prize life in the hereafter more than life on earth, they're not subject to classic theories of deterrence."

Bolton also discussed the Bush Administration's push for a Palestinian state, and the dangers of an administration's eighth-year search for a Legacy: "That's a dangerous period, because you can achieve a 'legacy' by giving away the store."

About Pakistan, Bolton said that America's priority has to be the security of Pakistan's nuclear stockpile. A revolution or even a period of chaos could put nuclear weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda. It's not a case, he said, of white hats for democracy vs. black hats in the military. He pointed out that Benazir Bhutto, head of the largest party in Pakistan, has the title "chairperson for life."

Regarding Iraq, Bolton said that an early pull-out would send the wrong message to both our adversaries and our allies.

Regarding the presidential campaign, it's his hope that his book will help keep national security issues in the forefront. He doesn't see anyone saying anything sensible on the Democratic side. He thinks all the top tier Republican candidates have demonstrated good judgment on foreign policy.

Gwen and Chris did a great job with the interview, and Bolton, contrary to his fierce reputation, was relaxed and pleasant to listen to.

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XonOFF said:

John Bolton continually impresses me whenever I've heard him speak...every time.

The Democrats' bashing of him during his appointment nomination had me expecting a different personality. But, he's plain talking and level-headed. Apparently, a true diplomat.

Mark said:

John Bolton failed to retain the support of Congress, not so much because of his policy views, but because he failed at the most fundamental aspect of his UN job -- he was not an attractive ambassador for our nation and culture. His personal demeanor confirmed in the eyes of the rest of the world that the U.S. was the brash, inflexible and paternalistic power they thought we were. An ambassador's job must include putting the most attractive "face" on our nation's policies to make them palatable to a skeptical world. Bolton did the opposite.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 21, 2007 8:24 AM.

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