Monday, April 19, 2010

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton Speaks at Penn Law

Here, presented without further commentary, are my notes from the talk.

John Bolton
Foreign policy of Barack Obama
He cares less about foreign policy and national security than any American president since FDR (??? Who fought WWII???)
“lack of interest in foreign policy”
“doesn’t see the world as challenging/threatening to the US”
He thinks he sees American decline as natural and inevitable and to be managed not resisted.
Devotion to multilateralism we haven’t seen since Woodrow Wilson
“No need for American Leadership” according to Obama
• nuclear disarmament
“Obama”: The interests of nations and people are shared, power is no longer a zero sum game
Bolton thinks Obama endorses Wilson’s vision of “Peace without Victory” and this is a mistake. My Q: Wasn’t the PROBLEM with WWI that we didn’t follow Wilson’s advice, and we made Victory over Germany instead of peace, which lead to the Third Reich???
Obama the first “post-American” President.
• Not “anti-“ or “un-“ American.
• Fundamentally does not believe in American Exceptionalism
o Gov. Winthrop/Reagan
o Difference between American’s founding and the direction the country took.
o Are you implying Obama doesn’t believe in American values and ideals? Obama Rejects that?
No Exceptionalism, country not challenged, doesn’t care about foreign policy… this means trouble for America! Oogaboogabooga!!!
• WMDs: nuclear security summit, new arms treaty. (is this somehow bad? Only gets a passing reference)
• Me: isn’t it great that we and Russia are both getting rid of 1/3 of our nuclear weapons?
• “we have no effective policy on iran”
• Iran will have nuclear weapons. And what are we supposed to do about it?
• Much of the fault must be laid at the door of the Bush Administration.
o Deference by US to EU to talk Iran out or weapons program
• Leaders of Iranian revolution are all crazy and will use their weapons so we should be very afraid!!!!
• So what do you think we should do about it? Bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb Iran? You actually think these states would use these weapons?
o Later: yes, bomb them.
War On Terror
• Obama frustrated with Bush shit he has had to keep pursuing because he has no alternative
o Example: Afghanistan
o Bad to give with one hand and take with the other. Undermines ability to achieve 2 strategic objectives of preventing Taliban from coming back to power and making it a platform for launch of attacks, and avoid having instability in Afghanistan/Pakistan destabilize the nuclear Pakistan government.
o He thinks there will be increase in terrorist threat and WMDs, so we will be less secure than when he took office.
American Sovereignty
• Giving up control to “others”
• Global governance ooga booga booga!!!
• Copenhagen to deal with climate change: too ambitious! We can’t deal with climate change! America America til we fall into the ocean!!
o He “doesn’t know” if global warming is real and can’t educate himself on it.
o Even if its man-made, he doesn’t like the solutions. Because global institutions will tell us what to do. Its all about losing control of America.
• Other institutions that are worthless and scary:
o International criminal court
• Not effective to deter human rights violations
• Won’t stop bad guys
o UN Human Rights Decision-making mechanism
• N Korea, Congo, Guinea, Burma, and five against Israel – demonstrates why even sources like NYTimes and Washington Post think the HRC is bad. I think that’s pretty fair but I do think its good to try to influence it not just abandon it.
o Refusal to ratify statutes on discrim against women, against disabilities, various other UN Conventions.
• Me: YES it is a reason to be negotiated internationally because it creates norms for all countries, and we can take exception to specific things like the death penalty while still working with the international consensus on the vast majority of these conventions
Why Obama doesn’t care about foreign policy
• He wakes up and thinks about the minimum wage
• We should attack!!!!! War!!!!!!
• Israel under pressure not to strike
• What does Israel have to lose?
Al Qaeda hates us booga bogga boggaa
• Me: They do say death to great Britain. remember attacks in Madrid, London, etc etc etc
• Bolton: “there is no Muslim world.”

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