Since assuming office, President Obama has garnered his fair share of high-profile critics. But few have been as omnipresent and implacable as John Bolton. From his near constant appearances on Fox News and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” to his steady stream of op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News, the 61-year-old former Ambassador to the United Nations and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control under President George W. Bush has been relentless in his critiques of President Obama’s agenda, especially in the realm of foreign policy.
In his office at the American Enterprise Institute, which is situated directly next to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, Bolton was far from reserved while talking to The Daily Caller about what he finds so alarming in President Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, how history will view the last Bush administration, and the possibility of a 2012 run for president.
“I’d call him the first post-American president and by that I mean – certainly in contemporary times – his view of America and its role in the world is different from the line of presidents since Franklin Roosevelt,” Bolton explained, when asked exactly why he finds the president’s foreign policy so offensive. “He doesn’t see himself effectively as a real advocate for America’s interest. He doesn’t see the world as a particularly challenging place. And, frankly, I just don’t think he cares that much about foreign policy.”
Asked if he gives any credit at all to the president for increasing drone attacks against terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere, and tripling troop levels in Afghanistan – both moves that have upset his left flank – Bolton said they were moves the president was forced to take.
“Well, certainly he has done things that have been unexpected in Afghanistan and certain aspects of the War on Terrorism. I think those are steps he has taken because it has been impossible – even for him – to avoid taking them,” Bolton proffered. “For example, much of what he has done in terms of interrogation or Guantanamo Bay or aspects of the War on Terrorism are things that are driven either by the imperative of defending executive branch prerogatives under the Constitution or because he has come to realize that the Bush administration looked at a lot of alternatives and couldn’t find any. So it is not that he has done these things happily or willingly.”
Bolton has been unabashed in his view that military action will be necessary to stop Iranian nuclear proliferation. When asked whether he thinks that the president would ever order such strikes, Bolton said he couldn’t imagine it.
“I don’t see it. I just kind of think it is contrary to his ideological DNA. I’d love to be proven wrong and the future will tell. But I don’t see it,” he said.
One area Bolton has been particularly critical of the president’s foreign policy is in the president’s handling of the U.S-Israel relationship. He told TheDC that he thinks the president’s push for a peace process will not only not lead to peace, but will ultimately make an unstable region even more so.