Paul Gigot asks former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton if he agrees that there is what appears to be an effort on the part of the Trump administration to focus on the foreign bad actors who have demonstrated a desire to acquire or a willingness to use weapons of mass destruction. He identified Syria, North Korea and Iran as examples.
Bolton replied, “I think that’s accurate and I think that reflects where the President himself is deeply concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and is, as you mentioned in the case of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, to actually use military force in response. So I think if you put it all together it’s a very anti-proliferation administration.”
He believes that, “coupled with the obvious priority of destroying ISIS ” it’s reflective of the widely held belief that nuclear proliferation and terrorism are the two greatest threats we face around the world.” It does appear that the earth has decided to ease off in its attack plans for the moment and has been removed as the number one threat that Obama and Kerry had it positioned as.
Bolton believes the progress President Trump has made in dealing with China over North Korea is an improvement but it is still insufficient, that China has for years talked one way, claiming it doesn’t want N Korea to have a deliverable nuclear weapons capability, but it’s never really exerted the pressure that it could.”
Bolton thinks the bottom line problem is that North Korea will never voluntarily relinquish its nuclear weapons program, that the regime sees it as equivalent to the regime itself. He says, “Looking at the bigger picture, I think it’s really the end of North Korea that is required to get the end of their nuclear weapons program. And that means getting China on board for reunification and I think what President Trump has done could be a step in that direction.
Gigot doesn’t see the Chinese as being anywhere near willing to accept a unified Korea due to their own security concerns with the West. Bolton agrees but the circumstances of the real nuclear threat to the United States presented by North Korea has changed the game and China no longer has the luxury of stalling, particularly with the Trump administration determined to resolve this problem. The risk of military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula will unleash the potential for everything China hopes to avoid. Bolton says they have a choice, “The can do it the hard way or they can do it the somewhat easier way, it’s really up to them.
He’s asked if the State Department is correct in their claims that Iran is honoring the nuclear agreement. A very animated Bolton says, “Absolutely not, that certification was an embarrassment to the administration. Iran has violated the parts of the deal reflected in the Security Council resolution adopted in 2015 and a long list of other failures and violations.
He says not only are they not living up to the spirit of the agreement, they’re not living up to the letter of it either. The sooner we ditch it and make a clear political statement that their behavior is unacceptable, not just on terrorism but on the nuclear front too, the better.
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