Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, who sees foreign affairs with steely-eyed reality glasses, told radio host Mark Levin that conservatives who are suddenly embracing Russia's Vladimir Putin as an ally are making a big mistake, commenting that Putin is only concerned about his national interests, and they often conflict with American interests.
Levin began by asking, “Don’t you find this affection for Putin among many conservatives as bizarre?”
I don’t understand it. He pursues Russian national interests; he has no illusions about what he’s doing. When they coincide with American interests, I’m happy to cooperate with him. But when they don’t, and that’s very frequent, I think we need to oppose them vigorously. If, in fact, these allegations of Russian efforts to meddle in our election are true, I think they deserve a very strong response, as have, by the way, the last eight years of Russian, Chinese, and other cyber-warfare efforts to interfere in America deserved a response that they haven’t gotten from Barack Obama.
Levin continued, "Even putting the election aside, why do people pretend that the Russians, along with the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans, but clearly the Russians, are not committing acts of cyber-warfare against us; they clearly are."
I think they have been; I think we don’t really fully understand the extent of it because Obama has not allowed it to be made public. This is an extremely serious issue for our country going forward. We need an open debate on this question, whether it’s this Russian effort in the election context or not that provokes it, I don’t know, but I certainly hope we get it, because we’re only going to get more vulnerable if we don’t build up both our offensive and defensive capabilities and really think about this in the way that in the 1940’s and 50’s we had to think about the threat of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union.
Levin asked logically, "By the way, why wouldn’t the Russians be doing this? There’s apparently very little consequence for them getting into our Pentagon data system and State Department and the rest of it."
Bolton said, "And this is a legacy from the Obama Administration: it’s not just in normal, conventional military circles, but in the cyber world as well. We are paying a price for Obama’s systemic dismantling of our defense capabilities."
Levin brought up Bolton’s memoir, Surrender Is Not An Option, recalling that Bolton stated that when George W. Bush spoke with Putin, Putin mentioned the nuclear plants in Iran and that Russia was helping Iran produce enough weapons grade uranium to build nuclear weapons.
Bolton said that the Bush Administration believed that Putin and Russia were helping Iran and North Korea build their nuclear and ballistic missile programs; they obscured it by saying it was just individual scientists and technicians aiding the terrorist regimes. He added:
Frankly, I don’t understand this idea, to say that, as many of our friends do, that the Russians stand against radical Islam. They stand against ISIS, to be sure; they stand against it in the threats they see inside Russia from radical Islamicists, but the central banker of international terrorism for three decades or more has been Iran. And Iran is Russia’s ally in the struggle in Syria; Iran backs Hezbollah and Hamas, two of the worst terrorist groups in the Middle East. It’s hard to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia. So if they were really serious, they’d be with us in opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Instead, not only did they aid it back in the day, but in the past decade, Russia has flown political cover for Iran in the Security Council against an effective international sanction and they worked with Iran on this wretched nuclear deal that Obama negotiated and helped bring it to fruition.
Levin asked where there was any evidence that Russia was working with the U.S. in positive ways around the world, pointing out that the Russians have aligned with the Chinese in the South China Sea.
Bolton answered that one thing that benefits Russia is selling oil to China. He continued that the Russians have made inroads in eastern Europe, something the West had sought to prevent since 1945, while Obama sat and watched.