John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under G. W. Bush, and currently senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, gave what may be the most important speech of CPAC 2014. His comments on China, alone, which he considers less dangerous than Iran should be recognized as a truth we cannot hide in some corner of our minds switched to overload mode. Take a trip around the world with Mr. Bolton. Full transcript and video below.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we meet at a time of true national security crisis, indeed, many crises, but our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama. This is a president who does not believe in American exceptionalism, a president who is uninterested in U.S. national security and America’s place in the world, and who considers our strength part of our problem, that we are the cause of international tension. This is like looking at the world through the wrong end of the telescope, but that is Barack Obama’s world.
He said in this first speech to the United Nations in September of 2009 — listen to this — “No world order that elevates one nation or group of nations over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” This is a belief in multi-lateralism for American security, the United Nations.
He is a Wilsonian. Listen to Woodrow Wilson: “The interest of all nations are our own.” Wilson said in his famous 14-point speech in 1918, that he wanted to achieve a “peace without victory.” Sound familiar? Wilson said there “must not be a balance of power, but a community of power,” and Wilson wasn’t even a community organizer.
Wilson wanted to make the world safe for democracy. It’s hard to say what Barack Obama wants to do, but the answer was provided at the same time by Theodore Roosevelt, the Republican Roosevelt who said “first and foremost, we are to make the world safe for ourselves.” This is and has been, the bedrock principle of conservative national policy, and now is assuredly not the time to change it.
Yet there are those, even within our movement, who say that America will be safe enough if we do little or nothing. Let’s call this what it is; it is the resurgence of isolationism. Now analytically, the isolationist and Barack Obama come at world problems with very different analytic perspectives, but the indifference and multi-lateralism produces the same result as isolationism; neither of these misbegotten views protect America.
The Democratic Party no long has a national security wing. There’s no Scoop Jackson, there’s no Joe Lieberman. We cannot let this happen to the Conservative movement.
Ignoring threats to our national security is the Obama doctrine, and the contrast with Ronald Reagan could not be clearer. Reagan believed in peace through strength, not isolationism, not multi-lateralism. Today, can you just imagine Ronald Reagan dealing with Vladimir Putin? Reagan understood that the principle task of the government is the protection of the United States, and who said that best, but that most libertarian of all, Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations. He said the first duty of the sovereign is protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies.
Reagan called a strong defense budget the vital margin of safety, and we are losing that vital margin of safety all around the world. We are not going to get peace through strength because we are not devoting the budget to it, but we’re not going to get peace through weakness either. We’re going to get what we see today in the Ukraine where Vladimir Putin has a strategy and Obama has nothing, where Putin has a growing defense budget and ours is shrinking.
Look at the Middle East, Russia’s puppet Assad is still in power.
In Egypt, Russians are selling weapons to the Egyptian government for the first time since the early 1970s, threatening our best ally in the region, Israel.
Iran, working with Russia and running rings around Obama, Clinton and Kerry in nuclear arms talks.
In Latin America we see Russia re-establishing influence in Cuba and in Venezuela, threatening our own hemisphere, and it’s not just Russia that’s the problem.
In China you’ve got a major military build-up going on, building their first blue water Naval capability, ladies and gentlemen, while Obama scoffs at our declining Navy. We’ve got a Chinese nuclear and ballistic missile program growing every year. China has the best cyber-warfare capability of any country on earth, and anti-satellite weapons that can blind us.
The threat of nuclear proliferation from Iran and North Korea, threatening our friends and allies, threatening us here at home, by this progress toward a nuclear weapon capability; the threat of international terrorism, which the president doesn’t want to believe in, won’t announce that it’s a war, couldn’t care less about, indeed, terrorism and the threat of nuclear proliferation go together.
When al-Qaeda struck the United States on 9/11, we didn’t hesitate to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but what if Afghanistan had had nuclear weapons? It would have been a very different picture. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, this country, the central-banker of international terrorism in the world, will have impunity to strike with terrorist attacks all around the world, including in the United States.
You know, Obama’s director of National Intelligence just testified a few weeks ago that the terrorist threat today is the same as it was on 9/11, and we can see it where the black flag of al-Qaeda flies again in Ramadi and Fallujah in Iraq, where we press our ally, Israel, to make concessions to the Palestinians and threaten Israel with a third intifada if they don’t do it.
But worst of all, worst of all, is Libya. Libya is the paradigm of the Obama doctrine’s failures. The attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was a direct attack on the United States. Overseas, a president’s personal representative is our Ambassador, so the killing of Christopher Stevens was not just the murder of an American citizen, it was the murder of the president’s personal representative in Libya, and since then, the president has done nothing to avenge Chris Stevens’ death.
This is a terrible lesson for our adversaries to learn, that under Barack Obama you can murder his personal representative and get away scott free.
I want to let everybody know that conservatives are not going to let this issue go away. We will be happy to tell Hillary Clinton, in unmistakable terms, we know what difference it makes, even if you don’t.
Ladies and gentlemen, conservatives need to take this year and the next to mobilize the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe as we do.
We do not accept an America that is weak and declining. We do not accept an American military that is weak and poorly equipped, and in particular, we do not accept and American president who is weak, indecisive and apologetic about our country.
We must turn national security to the center of our political debate throughout 2014 and the presidential election of 2016; that’s why I’ve established a PAC and a SuperPAC to help House and Senate candidates who understand the importance of a strong American posture in the world. Conservatives must remember the policies and victories of Ronald Reagan. We can and must replace the Obama-Clinton-Kerry-Biden Doctrine of drift, decline and defeatism with a Reaganite foreign policy. That is the key to success this November and in 2016, and that is the key to ensuring America’s freedom and security in the years ahead.
Thank you very much.
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