On Thursday, 200 people packed downtown Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre to listen to former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton speak on the foreign policy implications of a second Obama term. The event was organized by promotions company Spectre Live in partnership with Sun News Network,
Ambassador Bolton, who has worked for the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and was George W. Bush’s ambassador to the UN, spoke for an hour before taking unscreened questions from the audience outlining what he perceives as the greatest threats to American sovereignty abroad and systematically detailing how the Obama administration has failed to meet those threats.
Bolton was introduced by Brian Lilley, host ofByline on the Sun News Network, who promoted his network (“We give a voice to those the mainstream media won’t!) and cracked a few jokes about the left-leaning slant of the main news networks (CNN and the hapless presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley were roundly booed.)
Ambassador Bolton then took the stage and made a comprehensive defense of a hawkish foreign policy and explained why Barack Obama was not “defending American interests.” In his view, Bolton said, Obama wasn’t as much interested in foreign policy as he was in “fundamentally transforming America,” confronting issues of foreign policy only when he has to.
He wasn’t qualified to be Commander-in-Chief in 2008, Bolton stated, and he’s not qualified now. Bolton ridiculed Obama’s dismissing of Iran as a threat comparatively smaller than the Soviet Union during the days of the Cold War.
“Perhaps he thinks a tiny Iran is only interested in producing tiny nuclear weapons?,” Bolton mused.
The fundamental principle of Bolton’s foreign policy is based on is a simple one: “American strength is not provocative. American weakness is.” In his view, the president’s consistent “bowing” to the wishes of the UN Security council is an outsourcing of American policy to countries like Russia and China who do not have the interests of the United States and democracy abroad in mind. Bolton labeled Obama “the first post-American president,” adding that he seems more determined to be a “global community organizer” than a strong leader.
Bolton highlighted Obama’s famous address to the Arab world in Cairo and his administration’s reaction to the Arab Spring (four separate positions on Mubarak in the four weeks leading up to his overthrow) as evidence that the president is simply in over his head. Less Islamist influence, Bolton pointed out, has not been the result of the Arab Spring, noting that over 150,000 Coptic Christians have” voted with their feet” and fled Egypt in the last eighteen months. “Obama,” Bolton noted to a crowd that gave him a number of standing ovations, “approaches the Middle East like Israel building apartments in East Jerusalem is more of a threat than a dictator building nuclear weapons in Tehran.”
Bolton highlighted what he considers the greatest threat to America and her allies: A nuclear Iran. In his view, the most likely scenario at this point is an Iran that has nuclear weapons, which could trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, possibly resulting in nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran’s terrorist allies. The Obama administration assumes that the threat of revenge resulting in sending Iranians to the afterlife is a threat, Bolton noted, not recognizing that to the Ayatollahs focused on the afterlife, this is an incentive rather than a deterrent. Bolton ended by urging the crowd to not just focus on the economic implications of a second Obama term, but also the foreign policy implications.
The evening closed to the third standing ovation of the evening, and the crowd dispersed.