Fox News host Tucker Carlson dealt a serious blow to John Bolton’s ego at the end of his Wednesday night interview with the former United Nations ambassador.
Carlson, a Daily Caller co-founder, ended the segment by arguing with Bolton about the threat Iran poses to the United States, which Bolton claimed is the “single biggest threat” to the U.S. in the Middle East.
Carlson posed to Bolton that the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein — which as a key member of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy team, Bolton was heavily involved in — contributed to Iran’s rise.
“I think your analysis is simpleminded, frankly,” Bolton responded. “The Iranian threat which stems from the revolution of 1979, was underway quite apart from what Saddam hussein was doing. The Iranians tried to get nuclear weapons for 25 years.”
“But you don’t think the fall of Saddam Hussein made Iran stronger?” Carlson asked.
“The fall of Saddam, no it did not make Iran stronger. What made Iran stronger ultimately was the withdrawal of American forces in 2011,” Bolton answered. “I think the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, that military action was a resounding success. I think the mistakes that were made subsequently, setting up the coalition provisional authority and others that followed from it, are lessons about what to do after a regime is overthrown.”
“I’d also point out because of President Bush’s surge policy, when his administration ended, stability had returned to Iraq,” he continued. “It was not a place you would go for vacation, but he turned it over to Barack Obama, and it fell apart subsequently. The point I think you need to understand is that life is complicated in the Middle East. When you say the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a mistake, it’s simplistic.”
“I would argue that I’m the one who understands how complicated it is,” Tucker offered with a laugh. “Just my view.”
Bolton responded with a tongue-in-cheek jab at Carlson: “It’s your long experience in foreign policy.”
But the Fox News host had a follow-up volley up his sleeve: “A better record than yours, I would think.”