Archive

Posts Tagged ‘John Bolton’
June 14th, 2013 at 8:12 pm
How the Russians Roll Us
Posted by Troy Senik Print

John Bolton has a characteristically clear-minded op-ed just out in the Wall Street Journal about Russia’s antagonistic position vis-a-vis our interests in Syria. Quoth the former UN Ambassador:

Since Syria’s civil war began, Mr. Obama has insisted, contrary to fact, that the U.S. and Russia have a common interest in resolving the crisis and stabilizing the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent efforts to secure Russian co-sponsorship of a peace conference, at which Washington will push for Assad’s ouster, reflect Mr. Obama’s illusion.

The objective evidence consistently demonstrates that Russia has no interest whatever in eliminating its only remaining Arab ally. Moscow’s military and financial assistance to Damascus continues undiminished, along with its hold on the Cold War-era Tartus naval base, strategically positioned on Syria’s Mediterranean coast—but now facing only a phantom U.S. Sixth Fleet. Despite the hoopla surrounding the announcement of the proposed peace talks, their starting date, attendees, agenda and prospects all remain uncertain.

Most dramatically, Russia last month reaffirmed its commitment to deliver sophisticated S-300 air-defense missile systems to Assad. Although Israeli leaders have played down the sale’s significance, this combination of advanced radars and missiles, which can defeat any non-stealthy aircraft (and Israel does not now have stealth planes), could change the strategic balance in Syria as well as in Lebanon and Iran—to Israel’s detriment and ours.

These are not, needless to say the actions of a friend.

Scratch the surface a bit and you’ll see the folly not only of the Obama Administration’s Russian “reset” policy, but also of every one of our “peace through vacuous niceties” diplomatic endeavors, whether in the former Soviet Union, China, or the Muslim world.

Our differences are not the product of misunderstandings. All international conflict does not stem from a global game of telephone gone horribly wrong. States and certain non-state actors (such as terrorists) rationally pursue their interests, which are defined both in material terms (economic advantage, balance of power considerations) and ideological ones. If those interests are fundamentally incompatible, no measure of sweet reason will make them otherwise. In the case of Russia, which defines one of its imperatives as checking American power wherever it can, that is precisely the case.

January 8th, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Ashton and I at (Respectful) Odds

I respectfully but strongly disagree with Ashton’s post against the idea of a Republican filibuster of the Hagel nomination, or a hold on the same.

To be more specific, I do agree, wholeheartedly, with this:

In the confirmation hearings, during floor debate, and in an actual speaking filibuster if it comes to that, Senate Republicans will have many instances to make precisely the case Quin alludes to, and any other substantive policy criticisms about Hagel they think will defeat his confirmation.  But let’s have the argument in public, through the normal process of a presidential nomination.

U.S. Senators like to think they work within “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”  Let them prove it with a robust examination of Chuck Hagel’s fitness to be the next Secretary of Defense.

I do believe that such scrutiny is a good thing. I do believe they should use it to put the pressure on Democrats to oppose the nomination. But I disagree with Ashton’s implication that, in the end, a straight up or down vote should be Hagel’s right.

In this extreme case, a case of a man so fundamentally at odds with so many basic precepts of decent foreign policy (he does not worry about Iran getting nukes, he would not label Hezbollah a terrorist organization, he would not advocate getting tough with North Korea, he repeatedly made references to the “Jewish lobby” and similar remarks, he said “let the Jews pay for” the single most popular USO post for American servicement, to the detriment of our own troops, and he was the only one of 100 senators to refuse to condemn Russian anti-Semitism, among numerous other foreign policy sins), there is more at stake than the public record. Such a man has no business, none whatsoever, coming anywhere within Jew-baiting distance of the Pentagon’s top office. He would be a menace as Secretary of Defense.

If not enough Democrats will join Republicans in killing this dastardly nomination, then Republicans ought to filibuster the nomination to death. And if they won’t do that, then a single Republican should use every other power at his disposal to block it.

I oppose the use of a filibuster to permanently kill a judicial nomination, for numerous reasons I have explained elsewhere. I think it violates the spirit and perhaps letter (the latter is arguable) of the Constitution to hold a third branch of government hostage to a super-majority vote. But that is decidedly not the case with an executive-branch appointee. Congress is empowered to keep direct watch over executive overreach. It should do so.

Democrats in the Senate filibustered to death the nomination of John Bolton to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Republicans and reasonable Democrats ought to do the same to Hagel, if they cannot defeat him in an up-or-down vote.

This is a hill to die on.

February 1st, 2011 at 7:35 pm
MSNBC Incapable of Detecting Satire
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In a recent Freedom Minute, we told you how MSNBC’s journalistic irresponsibility included an incident where Rachel Maddow falsely accused a Republican Congressman of having advance knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing and failing to act. Apparently, Maddow’s show hasn’t added any fact-checkers since that earlier faux pas.

On last night’s broadcast, Maddow lit into a litany of conservative critics of President Obama’s Egypt policy. One of her targets, however, deserves special attention. According to the Atlantic Wire:

The Internet’s finest satirists hooked a big fish in the media world last night. In an embarrassing segment on her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow slammed conservatives for attacking President Obama’s Egypt policies. Her targets included Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former ambassador to the UN John Bolton and Stephenson Billings at ChristWire.org. Only problem is Stephenson Billings is not a real person. He’s a fictional byproduct of a website that also warns readers that the Xbox Kinect is a terrorist training tool and the Japanese have created scary robot babies which “threaten humanity.”

The article that caught Maddow’s eye called for an “American-led invasion” into Egypt and begged former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to lead the war cry.

“The escalating crisis in Egypt could become a defining moment for Sarah Palin,” Billings wrote. “Governor Palin needs to speak out publicly and forcibly for an American-led invasion to protect our interests in North Africa.”

It’s embarassing to see any supposedly mainstream news show get duped like this. But when a show as self-consciously snarky as Maddow’s can’t detect satire, it’s also a nice bit of poetic justice.

August 30th, 2010 at 6:54 pm
John Bolton Preparing for Presidential Bid?
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In a new interview with The Daily Caller, former U.N. Ambassador and one-time Disney Star John Bolton (up until now unnoticed by “The Great Mentioner“) curiously declines to shut the door on a presidential bid. Consider:

Not shy about his position on a wide range of issues, would this critic-in-chief consider a run for commander-in-chief in 2012? Bolton didn’t reject the idea out of hand.

“[I]t is a very great honor that anybody would even think of asking. I’m obviously not a politician. I’ve never run for any federal elective office at all and, you know, it is something that would obviously require a great deal of effort,” he said. “What I do think, though, and what concerns me, is the lack of focus generally in the national debate about national security issues. Now, I understand the economy is in a ditch and people are concerned about it, but our adversaries overseas are not going to wait for us to get our economic house in order.”

When pressed as to whether that means he would consider a run, Bolton seemed to suggest that he might do it, at the very least to help put national security issues at the top of the debate agenda.

“In the sense that I want to make sure that not only in the Republican Party, but in the body politic as a whole, people are aware of threats that remain to the United States. You know, as somebody who writes op-eds and appears on the television, I appreciate as well as anybody that…there is a limit to what that accomplishes,” he said. “Whereas, some governor from some state in the middle of the country announces for president they get enormous coverage even if their views are utterly uninformed on major issues.”

When pressed a third time about running, he said that while “he is not going to do anything foolish,” he added, “you know, I see how the media works…you have to take that into account.”

Again, not a no.

This is a long way from the denials (or near-denials) that we’ve seen from the likes of David Petraeus, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie. And it could be fun just to see Bolton run circles around the rest of the field on foreign policy. Get ready for the 2012 fireworks to start soon.