John R. Bolton was appointed as United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations on August 1, 2005 and served until his resignation in December 2006. Prior to his appointment, Bolton served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from May 2001 to May 2005. Throughout his distinguished career, Bolton has been a staunch defender of American interests. Bolton currently serves as a foreign policy senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a contributor to FOX News Channel and his op-ed articles are regularly featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Times. Recently, he led the forming of BoltonPAC which was founded to raise the importance of American national security in Federal elections.
Ambassador Bolton was kind enough to take time out his busy CPAC schedule to speak with The Williams View about a world hot-spot to keep an eye on in light of future Defense cuts…
Jennifer Williams: There is a lot of attention is of course going towards the Ukraine right now and every month there seems to be a new crisis… are there any foreign policy issues that the American people should be hearing more about?
John Bolton: I think one that I would point to is China’s very assertive territorial claims in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Not today and not tomorrow, but soon [this] could result in conflict between China and Japan. It could result in International Sea Lanes being made into Chinese Territorial Waters and this could have a huge impact on the American economy and our friends and allies like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. It is an issue that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.
John Bolton: Well, I think that Japan made a decision years back that it is now a normal nation again… and a normal nation engages in self-defense. So I don’t see re-militarization a la the 1930s, but I see Japan assuming more of a role in self-defense. Which is a legitimate function for them to do and hopefully [one] that they will do in a responsible and democratic fashion.
Jennifer Williams: And how will the Defense cuts affect our military and political options in Asia?
John Bolton: I think that they will have a dramatically negative effect on both. Not just the cuts that [Secretary of Defense] Hagel announced last week, but the effect of five years of radical cuts by the Obama Administration since it took office. The cumulative weight of those cuts is going to cause us enormous harm. It will limit our military options and reduce our diplomatic punch. The best war is the war that is never fought. And the way that you avoid fighting wars is to have a sufficient deterrent capability so that adversaries say, “I’m not going to even think about.” The risk of conflict increases as our defense capabilities decline.
Jennifer Williams: So, less of a defense budget and less of an Army or Marine Corps that we have… the more likely we are to get into trouble?
John Bolton: It means people are more likely to calculate that we won’t respond when in fact… if we do, we won’t be able to respond effectively. Which is the worst of all worlds.
Jennifer Williams: Do you think that these cuts can be of decades-long effect?
John Bolton: Well, I think we can dig out of it. But the longer that it goes, obviously, the more difficult it will be.