CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 7, 2014 — John Bolton dodged a common failure of motivational speakers: The satisfaction people get from motivational speeches is usually temporary. That was not the case at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, when Bolton had some strong words for the Obama administration.
The former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is one of the sharpest foreign policy analysts on television. But CPAC got more than Bolton’s intellect as he fired up an already receptive audience by getting into Barack Obama’s head and serving it up on a platter.
Using references to Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy successes, Bolton was eagerly received when he told his audience that it is time to replace the defeatism of Obama, Kerry, Clinton, Biden et al.
Bolton minced no words: “Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama.”
He launched into scathing criticism of Obama’s foreign policy. Despite the current crisis in Ukraine and Russia, he focused more on Libya and the attack in Benghazi. Said Bolton, “The attack on Benghazi (and) the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens was the murder of the President’s personal representative.”
The thrust of Bolton’s criticism, which he termed “the paradigm of Obama administration failure,” was the fact that “the president has done nothing to avenge Chris Stevens death.” Immediately following the attack, Obama promised the American people and the families of the fallen diplomats that we could rest assured the perpetrators would be brought to justice. They remain at large more than a year later.
Al-Qaeda has clearly refuted Obama’s 2012 campaign rhetoric about it being dead with deadly attacks around the world. In the United States, there was a major terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon in April, 2013. But as Bolton reminded his listeners, the president’s National Intelligence Director, James Clapper, recently testified at a congressional committee that we are safer today than we were on 9/11.
Bolton then noted that the al-Qaeda flag presently flies over cities in Iraq before pointing out that “Obama is uninterested in U.S. national security. He considers our strength part of the problem.” He then compared the president to Woodrow Wilson and drew hearty laughter and applause by saying that “Wilson wasn’t even a community organizer.”
In addition to his stinging assessments on al-Qaeda and the Middle East, Bolton criticized Obama for his handling of China and global terrorism as well as the continuing problems in Syria, Egypt and Venezuela.
One dangerous aspect of American political culture is the perception it gives of weakness, whether that weakness is real or imagined. Bolton hit on that point, emphasizing the perception of weakness and indecision created by Obama’s actions and inaction in the Middle East. “We do not accept an American President who is weak, indecisive and apologetic about our country.”
After five years of Obama’s international incompetence, it is remarkable that Hillary Clinton is regarded by Democrats as the front-runner for their 2016 presidential nomination. If true, that is clear evidence that American voters have incredibly short memories. Ms. Clinton is Obama with long hair and a pants suit whose greatest accomplishment is creating the impression that she actually has accomplished something.
John Bolton got it right. The American people need to listen to his warnings. The American eagle has landed — and it has two badly broken wings.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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