Thursday, May 15, 2008

John Bolton 

Tonight we attended the 2008 Annual Dinner sponsored by the Center of the American Experiment. The keynote speaker was former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. His 35 minute talk, given without notes, was packed with information. What follows are highlights.

China - though the last 20 years have been commercially successful, from 1900-2000 China was a nation in constant upheaval. Mao's dictatorship resulted in 30,000,000 deaths in the 1950's along with the wanton destruction of 1000s of years of Chinese culture. Today China is trying to eradicate the Tibetan culture. It is investing substantial sums in military buildup. We don't know which China will be the China of the future and we need to be prepared for all options.

Russia - because of their oil reserves. Russia is again flexing its muscle and reverting to a Czarist mindset - central control of everything. In the last election, teachers told students their grades would suffer if their parents voted the wrong way (ie, against Putin's hand-picked successor). Russia does have a few problems, though - no treaties with anyone and it doesn't like the downside of Islam.

WMDs - these simply cannot fall into the hands of rogue nations. Many of these nations operate with different logic, they value death over life. Therefore, the usual mindset used in previous historical negotiations will not work.

Iran - probably is closer to nuclear capabilities than anyone wants to admit. Ignoring this problem in the hopes that a "just in time" (JIT) understanding will protect us is naive at best and possibly very destructive. Iran has different definitions for "proliferation," and other terms related to their nuclear arsenal. Hence, they can say "yes" to the west and continue to build their nuclear arsenal.

North Korea (NK) - in essence, a nuclear criminal state. The height of its people is 6" shorter than that of South Koreans - they were the same height in the 1950's. Famines have occurred multiple times over the last 60 years. They routinely counterfeit American currency and their diplomats are often using diplomatic pouches to run drugs.

What about negotiations, the panacea of the left. Six nations have been negotiating with NK for the last 15 years - nothing has stopped their nuclear program, nothing - it keeps moving forward. The Big 3 in Europe have been negotiating with Iran for the last five years - same result, nothing has stopped their nuclear program. These nations use negotiations to buy time to build what they wish, which in turn will be used to destroy us.

There are two options in relation to Iran: regime change; destroy nuclear assets. We have not encouraged regime change yet the Iranian mullahs are in a precarious position. Ethnic differences abound, unemployment is high, the youth see that their neighbors are better off but they have no means to topple the mullahs. As for destroying their nuclear assets - time is running short.

Finally, there are India and Pakistan both with nuclear power. Pakistan is unstable and with the wrong people at the top, they could easily sell their nuclear technology to the highest bidder.

Bottom line: Whom we elect this November will have major repercussions throughout the world. We've tried the negotiations; on May 15th, Bush discussed the futility of the negotiation mindset - it doesn't work when the other side uses talks as a mechanism to gain an edge in their nuclear development. Our objective should be to keep these powers from getting into the wrong hands.

One final point, mine: We have had nuclear power for over 60 years. We have not used it since WWII and only used it there after warning the Japanese we had an incredible power. The Japanese refused to surrender. After the 2nd hit, they did. As destructive as those two strikes were, had we had to resort to a land invasion the casualties would have been significantly higher.

We have not used this power - the rogue nations with this power will not hesitate to use it. As Mr. Bolton said, they have to be stopped or we all will pay (my paraphrase).