Delivering a speech to a crowd of over 100 students and faculty members, former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton proclaimed, “Barack Obama does not care about foreign policy.”
Invited by The Federalist Society to speak at the Penn Law School on Monday night, Bolton offered critiques of President Obama’s positions on American Exceptionalism, Afghanistan and Iran.
Describing Obama as the first “post-American president,” Bolton argued that Obama does not believe that America is an exceptional country. “The United States is just another member on the UN roll call, somewhere between Algeria and Zimbabwe.”
When discussing Afghanistan, Bolton characterized Obama’s policy of increasing troops while setting a date for withdrawal as “giving with one hand and taking with the other.”
However, Bolton’s criticism was not one-sided. He suggested that some of the blame must be “laid at the foot of the Bush administration.”
Referencing the history of negotiations between Iran and the West, Bolton claimed that diplomacy has failed. He believes that Obama has realized this, but concluded that the administration is “resigned to an Iran with nuclear weapons.”
To support his argument concerning Iran, Bolton referenced a quote from Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — that Iran is a “tiny” and therefore non-threatening country. This quote was also used in an ad for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and was later criticized as a misrepresentation of Obama’s words. Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper told ABC News that Obama was really comparing the Soviet Union to Iran.
Some attendees were dissatisfied with Bolton’s arguments. “I appreciated his ability to articulate his position without resorting to cliches, slogans and pure rhetoric,” College sophomore Libby Saionz said. “I believe it’s appropriate for an academic environment, but I also thought he was intellectually dishonest.”
Taking audience questions, Bolton offered his solution to the Iranian conflict. “I would attack Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” Bolton said, arguing that this would give the United States time to solve the nuclear problem, although he did not say how the solution would be achieved.
An attack would not rally the Iranian people around their government, Bolton said, because the people “do not have any faith in that government. It would give the Iranians a chance to have a representative government.”
While some attendees seemed to accept Bolton’s reasoning, many remained unconvinced. “I thought his claim that President Obama does not care about foreign policy was disingenuous,” College sophomore Ben Brockman said.
Bolton is a frequent contributor to Fox News. Described by The Economist as “the most controversial Ambassador ever sent by America to the United Nations,” he is known for his analysis of foreign policy issues.Comments powered by Disqus
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