John Bolton: ‘The Biggest Threat to National Security Is in the White House’
June 2, 2014 by Frontpagemag.com 1 Comment
Editor’s note: Below are the video and transcript to Ambassador John Bolton’s address at the Freedom Center’s 2014 Texas Weekend. The event took place May 2nd-4th at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.
Daniel Pipes: Please join me in welcoming John Bolton.
John Bolton: Thanks, Daniel. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
I’m always delighted to be able to be part of a Freedom Center event. The work that everybody does is just so important, and becomes more important. So for all of you who are supporters, believe me, it’s support that’s put to very good use. I can assure you of that.
I wanted to talk for just a little bit tonight about some of the problems that the United States and its friends in the world face. And I’m acutely conscious that I’m the only thing now that stands between you and dinner.
So I’ll try and make these remarks as pointed as I can.
It is a very dangerous time for the United States and its friends in the world. And in large measure, it’s not because of the individual crises that we see in the world around us. The biggest threat to our national security is sitting the White House. And it’s –
It’s something that we never could’ve predicted. It’s unquestionably the case in my view that the President’s the most radical President that we’ve ever had, and not just on domestic issues. He has a fundamentally different view of America’s place in the world than any other President in history, to the point where I think most of us already look back at the Jimmy Carter Administration in the late 1970s as the good old days.
Which tells you something right there.
So before I get into some of the specifics, I want to talk about what it is about this President that makes him different, and the particular reasons that his worldview is so contrary to our national interest.
I think, to start with, it’s important to understand that the basic concept is he just doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. Now, this is a subject that’s controversial sometimes even with our friends when we talk about American exceptionalism. My view it’s not a statement or a belief in American superiority; it’s a recognition that our history has been fundamentally different from virtually every other country around the world.
And it wasn’t the United States or its citizens that first proclaimed American exceptionalism; it was a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, who, in “Democracy in America,” his insightful analysis of the United States in the first part of the 19th century, said that it may be said of the Americans that they are truly exceptional, in that no other democratic people will repeat their experience. And it’s right. And it has shaped our view of America and America’s role in the world.
It’s sometimes controversial. But the fact is that it’s been so widely shared among Americans that nobody’s ever really given it serious thought, until we got Obama. And the views that he picked up during his time at Columbia and Harvard Law School, and working as a community organizer in Chicago, have made him fundamentally different.
Now, it’s quite interesting — in his first trip to Europe as President, a British reporter asked him if he believed in American exceptionalism. That’s how apparent it was to the rest of the world that he didn’t that the reporter actually put the question to him. And Obama’s answer, which a number of people have commented on since 2009, is worth reviewing again as we look at the policies he pursues today. In response to this question, he said — yes, I believe in American exceptionalism, just as the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.
Now, let’s parse this sentence, which is classic Obama. In the first third, he says — yeah, I believe in American exceptionalism. So all those people who say that I don’t are wrong. But then, in the second two thirds of the sentence, he takes it back by referring to the British and Greek views.
You know, there are 193 countries in the United Nations. And he certainly could’ve gone on — just as the Papua New Guineans believe in Papua New Guinean exceptionalism –
– just as the Burkina Fasians believe in Burkina Fasian exceptionalism.
The point’s clear. If everybody’s exceptional, then nobody’s exceptional. And that’s what he really thinks.