Ambassador John Bolton joined me today to discuss the prospect of Am,erica’s appeasement of the mullahs in Yehran:
HH: I begin the program with our former ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador John Bolton. Mr. Ambassador, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, it’s always great to talk to you.
JB: Well, thanks very much for having me. Glad to be with you.
HH: I want to start by telling people BoltonPAC is out there, and it’s simply known by that name, www.boltonpac.com. Mr. Ambassador, let me play for you Chuck Todd on NBC yesterday talking to John Kerry and get your reaction to this exchange.
CT: Is it just a deal or no deal, or is there a chance that you extend the current sort of temporary deal that’s in place now? What are the chances that we see yet another extension rather than signing on the dotted line?
JK: Well, the only chance I can see of an extension at this point in time would be that you really have the outlines of the agreement, you understand exactly what you’re doing, and you’re extending because you have to fill out the annexes, which are somewhat detailed. But if we’re not able to make the fundamental decisions that have to be made over the course of the next weeks, literally, I think it would be impossible to extend. I don’t think we would want to extend at that point. Either you make the decisions to prove your program is a peaceful one, or if you’re unable to do that, it may tell a story that none of us want to hear.
HH: Mr. Ambassador, what’s your reaction to that exchange?
JB: Well, I think Secretary Kerry’s answer tells you a lot about the nature of the deal and the negotiations. It seems to me pretty clear the administration is frantic to sign a deal quickly before the Senate votes on the Kirk-Menendez sanctions legislation. Menendez and the Democrats agreed to put it off until March the 24th, and I think that’s the deadline that Obama and Kerry are working against. So what this says is they’re prepared to make more concessions in the next five to six weeks in order to get a deal done, number one. Number two, they have said before that we’ve got the outline of a deal. In fact, this interim agreement that we’re operating under agreed in the fall of 2014 was itself an interim deal. So why they still haven’t filled out the details brings us to this very interesting answer about the annexes to the agreement, because they’re so complicated. And that tells you everything you need to know. Basically, they have given away, the United States, the other permanent members of the Security Council, to Iran’s demand that it continue to be allowed to enrich uranium. That is the long pole in the tent of any nuclear weapons program. And all these complex annexes are simply ways of trying to mask this fundamental concession that will leave Iran, in my view, essentially still completely in control of its nuclear weapons program, still completely in control of the decision when to weaponized and how many weapons to make.
HH: Now Mr. Bolton, last week, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, published in Mosaic Magazine a lengthy article on Obama’s secret Iran strategy, which is genuinely an eye-opener, because I’ve always thought he was a feckless amateur. Instead, it turns out he’s been relentless in pursuing this misbegotten policy. And it appears as though we’re on the brink of allowing Iran to go nuclear, or breakout capable, I guess, is the phrase for it. How significant is this change in American policy? And how disastrous, or not disastrous, is it?
JB: Well, it’s an unmitigated act of appeasement. It’s very conscious. It’s an 180 degree reversal of the basic premise of any negotiation with Iran, which has been going on, conducted by the Europeans and then the United States, since 2003, and that is to allow Iran to have access to uranium enrichment, to continue to build nuclear reactors, to concede the point that Iran is entitled to a peaceful nuclear program at all, even though all of the evidence undisputed for years now is that Iran has violated the commitment it made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty not to seek nuclear weapons. And this is not just any treaty, this is the treaty that is critical for prevention of proliferation of nuclear weapons. And Iran is just breaking right through it. I think the President has believed for some time that Iran perceives the United States as a threat, and that if the President can only dissuade Iran from that mistaken belief, Iran will happily give up its nuclear weapons effort. And what that means is that the United States will do almost anything to persuade the Iranians that we are not a threat. I think that’s extraordinarily dangerous, because I think not only does it mean that Iran will get nuclear weapons at a time of their choice, but the inevitable effect of onward proliferation, as even former Secretary of State Clinton said, means that the Saudis will get nuclear weapons, the Egyptians, the Turks, and possibly others.
HH: Now Mr. Ambassador, I’m talking with John Bolton, our former ambassador to the United Nations. I wrote in the Washington Examiner today that I understood the President’s Prayer Breakfast remarks as being sort of preparing the rhetorical battlefield for an act of unmitigated appeasement, as you put it, by saying look, regimes can change, and we can set aside the 35 years of state-sponsored terror on the part of the Iranians, even in the middle of an investigation into the assassination of an Argentinian prosecutor that’s got Iran written all over it. Do you think this regime is any different than it has been over the last 35 years?
JB: I think they may have gotten smarter in the past couple of years, because they’ve seen how to take advantage of a weak and feckless American president, and they’re doing it very well. You know, this relationship between Iran and terrorism is critical in assessing their drive for nuclear weapons. It’s undisputed that since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has been the leading financial source for terrorist groups, Sunni and Shiia alike. And if Iran gets the nuclear weapons capability they’ve been seeking, it means effectively that they may have impunity against retaliation for additional terrorist attacks. Think if Taliban and al Qaeda had had nuclear weapons at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Would our response in overthrowing the Taliban, al Qaeda regime in Afghanistan, been so quick if they had had a nuclear capability? I think the answer is clearly no. So a nuclear Iran, many people say oh, they would never use nuclear weapons, they would never detonate a nuclear weapon, say, over Tel Aviv, they don’t really need to, to achieve a status in the world, certainly in the Middle East, but I think around the world, that should terrify us. This is the advent, I think, of nuclear terrorism once they get to weapons capability.
HH: Now Ambassador Bolton, a lot of people have contributed to www.boltonpac.com over the years to keep your voice out there on these issues, which very few Republicans have been speaking about with the clarity that you have for the past six years. I am curious if anyone has come up alongside of you, a Sheldon Adelson, a Foster Friess, anyone who has said look, John, if you enter into the presidential primaries in order to take this message of American strength in the gathering storm around Iran, we will support you as we supported, say, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum in the last cycles. Anyone offered an otherwise, you know, a deep pocket to get the Bolton message out there?
JB: Well, not in such expressed terms, but I am thinking very seriously about this. I have believed, as we’ve discussed now for several years, that national security absolutely has to be returned to the center of the national debate. Every day that Obama continues in office only highlights that. I certainly respect all of our fellow citizens who give priority to economic issues, social issues, and there are many out there competing. But I think everybody needs to think about this. If the country is not secure, is it not the case that every other issue is secondary? And that’s the point I’m trying to make. I’m looking for the right way to do that, whether it’s running for president, or some other way. I’m determined to get this issue of defending America right back ta the top of the priority list.
HH: Have you looked any of the mega-donors in the eyes and said you guys have to do this? Someone’s got to get up there and make this case now, and I can do it?
JB: Well, I’ve certainly made the case that I’m prepared to do what’s necessary to get that message out there. You know, I’m not a politician. I’ve never run for office. I understand that that’s a disadvantage in contemporary America. We’re not in Howard Baker’s land as citizen legislators anymore. But I agree. Somebody’s got to do it. It may be that one or more elected politicians will step forward in the Republican Party. I don’t discount that prospect. I’m not driven here predominantly by personal ambition. I’m driven by a concern that our nation has slipped for six years in its consciousness of these threats, and that when reality intrudes again, as I’m afraid it will, it will be at a devastating cost if we’re not prepared.
HH: Ambassador Bolton, thank you for joining me. I’ll send everyone to www.boltonpac.com, who is listening to add to your coffers and get you out there on the road. And I hope any of the super-donors who are around understand the utility of having John Bolton on the debate platforms when they begin to open up in September-October of next year. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
End of interview.