Bolton on the US Response to Violence in the Middle East
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton on tensions in the Middle East.
- Duration 7:17
- Date Sep 17, 2012
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton on tensions in the Middle East.
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-- in November.
Joining me now is former US ambassador to -- UN John Bolton and mr.
Desist hearken back you deja -- Absolutely and remember wasn't just the seizure of hostages in Tehran they attacked our embassy in Libya they attacked our embassy in Pakistan.
And I think word risk of seeing this wave of hostilities sweep over the entire Middle East.
It it's the same.
It it's it -- it obviously appears organized I think there's no conclusion but that the attacks were intended for September the eleventh and votes Libya and Egypt whether the two were coordinated we don't know yet.
But you know in Libya this was an attack by -- terrorist group early indications -- it might be al-Qaeda we don't know yet.
But it certainly undercuts the narrative that the war on terror is over and that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat for dead Americans is a terrible.
Tragedy -- occur on 9/11 and in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood in control and even more radical elements demonstrating in the streets outside.
Really calls into question who's in charge in -- very very damaging for the United States' -- It's into the question about al-Qaeda and whether you've got all these -- to we've always been warned about the fact you've got kind of these.
Cousins if you will lower subsidiaries however you want to try to identify them.
Are they are they still see.
Is is al-Qaeda is still running the show.
Well I think they're still very much in the terrorism business you know al-Qaeda never was like a corporate hierarchy with a chart on the -- it's more now what they call -- distributed network.
Al-Qaeda in North Africa al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen in places like that al-Qaeda in Iraq and I think what we saw and then Ghazi on September the eleventh was al-Qaeda demonstrating its it can still -- carry out terrorist activities.
Secretary of state Clinton said that this was a small group.
A couple thousand people.
Is a small group and it in a country of eighty million you know it is it is not the case that we're talking about conducting Gallup opinion polls in Westchester County -- a small group of terrorists can take over.
Or can certainly carved out a large area where they can operate with impunity is in Somalia where there is no central government.
But where it's been a hot bed for pirates and terrorists that's what I fear.
For Libya and I think al-Qaeda is demonstrating it is not safe.
For Americans to be traveling without heavy security anywhere in that country.
Lot of people are upset because of the fact that we are the ones that led NATO effort to rid them of their dictator.
We are the ones and bin Ghazi alone that that that was involved in fact even -- the investor was involved directly.
In try to get that in the hands of the rebels a lot of people of the time we're saying be careful we don't know who the rebels are.
What do you say well I think unfortunately that's come to be true I don't doubt that there were a lot of people who wanted to overthrow Gaddafi who wanted to establish or a representative government I think -- we did the right thing in.
Overthrowing Gaddafi after -- threatened to return to international terrorism in which he was a specialist.
But that was only half the nation's second half was put a government in place that's responsible.
That will deal with terrorist we have not done that would.
Do you -- mean -- that was the idea and I keep hearing everybody in the diplomatic -- talking about the fact that we're establishing democracy and I'm thinking.
No it's not democracy not there's nobody in Egypt story in Libya or in Yemen that have equal.
An equal voice well that's -- demark.
We're seeing that that's why I think you have to be very careful when you intervene in these circumstances I think Qaddafi was particular case given his history of terrorism.
But right now that there is no progress toward democracy -- -- we're just blowing smoke if we think that that's what's actually happening.
I think -- in a situation in Egypt Libya perhaps elsewhere where it's a kind of one person one vote one time risks that were saying.
The a go back to bring up Saddam Hussein are are we.
Maybe we need to rethink.
Some of these iron you know I don't go back to the Shaw of Iran.
Iron fisted dictators.
Overthrow and we wind up with trouble more trouble than before.
I think you have to look at a case by case the Shah of Iran Mubarak in Egypt for allies of the United States and overthrowing them I think in retrospect looks worse and worse every day that goes by.
Saddam was a different case he was a threat to real allies of -- the Arab states of the Arabian Peninsula.
I think we have seen unfortunately a lot of what we sacrificed for in Iraq going the wrong way.
In part most recently because we've withdrawn our combat forces and lost the most important influence we had over the current government.
But in the Arab world in general I think unfortunately we're seeing the Arab Spring turn into something very different from what we originally hoped.
And this idea that democracy was gonna take -- just isn't working on giving another example the prime minister of Turkey aired one once said democracy is like a street car.
You ride it to the stop you want and then you get off that's pretty chilling.
So that the question we've been asking ever since 9/11.
Is why do they hate us because they talk about the movie was the reason.
It seemed like that's not true that was just a pretax if it wasn't the movie it would have been something else right and that the question is is it.
We are the leaders of the world we have a wonderful lifestyle we have freedom they don't.
Well I think it's jealousy combined in recent years with the feeling were in decline and were vulnerable and therefore we can be taken on.
I think that religious fanaticism is the basic rude and you know we misunderstand it when we think it's caused by economic deprivation it's a completely different.
Social phenomenon we didn't understand communism.
For many people during the Cold War you know -- we used to say the Chinese Communists were just agrarian reformers.
And to say that the Muslim Brotherhood for example system moderate islamists this organization is very dangerous I think that's one reason why and Libya and Egypt we seem to have been.
Taken by surprise because if the State Department felt it was in a benign environment it wouldn't be protecting itself that is tragically turned out to be a long way from reality.
-- political implications President Obama and Egypt.
And Libya are definitely is -- -- you can't blame bush for this gap so what's the implicate what's the what's.
Effect on him.
Well I think it remains to be seen how it's gonna play out over the next several weeks of things continue to get worse surface stabilize but.
There's little doubt this reflects a failure of the administration's policy -- a failure of the idea can.
Engage in outreach and ignore the threat of international terrorism that it can isolate Israel ignore runs.
Progress toward nuclear weapons I think this is a legitimate subject for public debate.
In the run up to the election I thought Romney's comment was right on target let's get the debate on.
Well that will be I'm third discussed that the debates ambassador Bolton thank you always good to -- credit.