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Bolton Criticizes Obama for Foreign Policy that Embraces American Decline
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton accuses President Obama of accepting American decline.  
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton accuses President Obama of accepting American decline.

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton opened his address at Penn Law in April with provocative words: "It is a curious fact about (President Obama) that he cares less about foreign policy and national security than any other American president since (Franklin D.) Roosevelt."

In a speech sponsored by the Penn Law Federalist Society, Bolton explained why he finds Obama's foreign policy so troubling.

Obama's approach to international affairs is shaped by the fact that he "sees American decline as both manageable and natural," said Bolton, a diplomat in the Bush administration who now serves as an adviser to several conservative think tanks. In large part, Bolton said, that's because Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism. In Obama's eyes, Bolton lamented, the United States is "just another country on the UN roll call."

Bolton charged the president with contributing to the decline of America as the world's greatest power. Offering examples, he said the mission to keep Afghanistan stable and free from Taliban control will fail if U.S. troops are withdrawn in 2011, as President Obama promised. He also criticized the president's spring summit on nuclear proliferation as little more than "two weeks of theater, as "meanwhile the centrifuges in Pyongyang and Tehran kept spinning."

Obama's strategy of containing and deterring nuclear stockpiling in those countries, in part by meeting with their leaders, is "the sheerest type of fantasy," said Bolton, adding that he would attack and destroy the nuclear weapon programs if he were setting foreign policy. "It wouldn't solve the problem, but it would buy us several years."

Instead, Bolton said he expects international terrorism and nuclear proliferation to increase over the next few years as a result of President Obama's ceding "American sovereignty into a broader international community."

Continuing his critique, Bolton said international authorities, such as the UN Human Rights Council or the International Criminal Court, only acquire power at the expense of national sovereignty. But advocates of world government, he said, try to obfuscate that fact by raising alarm over worldwide "problems."

"They're dissatisfied with the political outcomes they've gotten through domestic debate, so they've expanded the issues into the international arena to arrive at positions they like more," he said, citing climate change.

If Obama does not adopt a much more aggressive foreign policy and stop ceding U.S. sovereignty to international authorities, Bolton warned, the enemies of the United States will only grow bolder.

"It's not American strength that's provocative, it's American weakness that's provocative," he said.