CHICAGO – Protect America Month 2010, the Heritage Foundation’s annual series of events and publications aimed at highlighting key national security issues and promoting sensible defense and homeland security policies, hit the road today with a special address in Chicago by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
Ambassador Bolton began his remarks by explaining why he refers to President Obama as a “post-American” president.
The first problem, he argued, is that President Obama doesn’t care about national security. It is not where his attention is focused. The second problem is that he doesn’t see threats to the U.S. overseas. He argued during his presidential campaign, for example, that Iran was a “tiny” country. The third problem is that President Obama appears to believe that American decline is not only inevitable, but also a good thing.
He looks at the world through a multilateralist prism and doesn’t really believe in American exceptionalism–something first spoken about by a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville. President Obama, by contrast, when asked whether he believes in America exceptionalism answers yes, only in the way that “Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
Put those features together with a foreign policy based on radical moral equivalences–such as the Administration’s outrageous equation of Arizona’s new immigration law and China’s routinely discriminatory and brutal treatment of foreigners and minorities–and you get what Ambassador Bolton calls the “Post-American” president.
Bolton argues that the Obama Administration’s approach has failed on Iran, on North Korea, in the Middle East, and on numerous other security issues because it is based on the view that all of the problems in the world are the consequence of our failure to negotiate.
He cautions that the Administration’s emphasis on negotiation could have serious costs. Negotiation–especially when waged ineptly and without moral clarity–often favors the proliferator. Ambassador worries that the Administration may have decided to accept a nuclear Iran, despite the fact that it would pose serious threats to the U.S.
Unless American’s demand a changed approach, and unless we keep national security at the top of the agenda–as Heritage’s Protect America month is doing–America could decline in ways that will be very difficult–if not impossible–to reverse.