Bolton sees crises for next U.S. pres­i­dent

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY STE­WART STO­GEL

UNITED NATIONS | The next U.S. pres­i­dent is likely to face a for­eign pol­icy cri­sis early in his term, with threats loom­ing from the Mid­dle East to North Korea, ac­cord­ing to for­mer U.N. Am­bas­sador John R. Bolton, who has served in three U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tions and is now ad­vis­ing Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney.

The top pri­or­ity is the war on ter­ror­ism, but other is­sues could erupt with lit­tle warn­ing, Mr. Bolton told The Wash­ing­ton Times in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“Num­ber one is the con­tin­u­ing war on ter­ror­ism, man­i­fested in Afghanistan, Libya and the Mid­dle East,” he said.

Mr. Bolton added that Iran con­tin­ues to work to­ward build­ing a nu­clear bomb, while the leader of nu­clear-armed North Korea re­mains a mys­tery.

Other hot spots in­clude China, which is flex­ing mil­i­tary mus­cle in an is­land dis­pute with its Asian neigh­bors, and Rus­sia, where Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin con­tin­ues to in­tim­i­date po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion.

Mr. Bolton said his ma­jor con­cerns in­clude “the nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion is­sue, as man­i­fested both in Iran and North Korea ... re­la­tions with Rus­sia, and the ap­proach to the U.S. in­tel­li­gence bud­get,” which is fac­ing a $25 bil­lion cut over the next 10 years.

Mr. Bolton, now with the Wash­ing­ton-based Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute, crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Obama and the State Depart­ment over the per­ceived fail­ure to pro­vide enough se­cu­rity to pre­vent the ter­ror­ist at­tack that killed J. Christo­pher Stevens, the U.S. am­bas­sador to Libya, and three other Amer­i­cans last month.

“Events are out­pac­ing them,” he said of Mr. Obama and other ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials who first blamed the as­sault on the U.S. Con­sulate in Beng­hazi on a mob out­raged over an In­ter­net video that in­sulted Is­lam’s Prophet Muham­mad.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion off icials even­tu­ally con­ceded that Stevens and the other Amer­i­cans were killed in a ter­ror­ist at­tack.

Mr. Bolton also de­nounced the White House for claim­ing that the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last year had di­min­ished his ter­ror­ist net­work.

“The nar­ra­tive out of there [on the sta­tus of al Qaeda] is a lie. The veil is com­ing off the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­fort to ob­scure what is re­ally go­ing on in­ter­na­tion­ally,” he said.

Mr. Bolton said the Beng­hazi at­tack by gun­men armed with as­sault weapons and rocked-pro­pelled g re­nade launch­ers showed that al Qaeda re­tains “in­cred­i­ble op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

“A re­cent State Depart­ment briefing ex­plained that the at­tack on the con­sulate was by a large num­ber of peo­ple [and] that they have not seen any­thing like it in re­cent mem­ory. It was a para­mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion, which isn’t any­thing like the pub­lic line that al Qaeda was de­feated,” he said.

On the Ira­nian nu­clear pro­gram, Mr. Bolton said U.S. sanc­tions have had lit­tle ef­fect.

“The nu­clear pro­gram con­tin­ues, [the sanc­tions] have had lit­tle im­pact on their drive to build a bomb,” he said.

Mr. Bolton also warned that cri­sis could erupt in North Korea, where Kim Jong-un took over as leader of the se­cre­tive com­mu­nist na­tion in Jan­uary.

“North Korea has con­tin­ued to build its nu­clear ar­se­nal. Kim Jong-un is still largely an un­known com­mod­ity. We just do not know what he is up to,” he said.

Mr. Bolton has served three pres­i­dents, Ron­ald Rea­gan, Ge­orge H.W. Bush, and Ge­orge W. Bush. He was the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Nations from Au­gust 2005 to De­cem­ber 2006.

He has also served as as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion af­fairs, un­der­sec­re­tary for arms con­trol and in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity and as an as­sis­tant at­tor­ney gen­eral.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

For­mer United Nations Am­bas­sador John R. Bolton says his ma­jor con­cerns in­clude “the nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion is­sue, as man­i­fested both in Iran and North Korea ... re­la­tions with Rus­sia, and the ap­proach to the U.S. in­tel­li­gence bud­get,” which is fac­ing a $25 bil­lion cut over the next 10 years. Mr. Bolton is crit­i­cal of the White House for claim­ing that the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last year has di­min­ished his ter­ror­ist net­work.

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