Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is blasting President Obama for offering nothing new in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism and stubbornly sticking to a weak policy policy that isn’t getting the job done.
On Friday, Obama spoke in response to the Bastille Day terrorist attack in Nice, France, where 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a delivery truck down a crowded pedestrian avenue, killing at least 84 people and wounding as many as 200 others.
Obama’s initial statement Thursday evening referred to the atrocity as a “horrific terrorist attack,” but the bulk of the message promised assistance to the French government and vowed that France would remain strong in the wake of the attack.
Bolton told WND and Radio America Obama once again offered “nothing new.”
“His heart’s not in this,” Bolton said. “He talked about development assistance to alleviate poverty, as if there’s the slightest correlation at all between poverty and radical Islamic ideology or the terrorists.”
Bolton added, “In fact, the correlation goes the other way. It’s some of the wealthier, better-educated people who turn into terrorists.”
He said Obama simply refuses to see the extent of the threat.
“The president doesn’t believe in this struggle,” Bolton said. “He doesn’t believe the terrorists are waging a war against the U.S. and the rest of the West. He thinks it’s a law-enforcement matter. I can predict with confidence, although with sadness, he will not do a single thing differently.
“It’s not something that can be responded to after the terrorists have struck by prosecutions as if they’re just trumped-up versions of robbing the local Starbucks. This president’s never going to understand that. Hopefully a new president will.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Ambassador John Bolton:
Obama and Secretary of State Kerry contend the increase in deadly attacks is a result of desperation on the part of ISIS, as its territory shrinks in Iraq and Syria.
Even if the restrained air campaign against ISIS is gaining some ground, Bolton said the time it’s taking to accomplish gives ISIS and other radical groups a major advantage.
“One of the things that is the unfortunate result of the president’s bad strategy is that he’s giving ISIS time to redeploy to completely broken countries like Libya if they’re forced out of Iraq and Syria,” Bolton said.
And he said the lack of urgency increases the likelihood of more attacks.
“The idea that we can slow-roll the defeat of ISIS just means that ISIS and other terrorists can plot more attacks like the one like we’ve just seen in Nice, France,” Bolton said.
Bolton fiercely disagrees with Obama’s degrade and destroy strategy. He said the second part is the only policy America needs.
“The strategy should be one word: destroy ISIS. Implicit in that is to destroy it immediately. Every day that goes by allows them to continue to fight,” Bolton said.
He is also taking aim at another frequent Obama talking point – that the U.S. will defeat terrorism because of American values and because the U.S. is on the right side of history. Bolton said that sort of talk is very harmful.
“Those are death warrants for innocent civilians, because both statements imply an inevitability to the outcome of this conflict,” he said.
Bolton said Hillary Clinton would be nothing but another four years of the Obama foreign policy, and he is hopeful a Donald Trump policy of a smarter, tougher approach to terrorism would mean a coherent military strategy. He said an effective plan to defeat ISIS and other Islamic radicals involves denying bases of operation, stopping the training of terrorists and rooting out the social media and Internet recruitment efforts of America’s enemies.
He believes the American people are disgusted that national leadership has failed in its most basic task.
“The American people are way out in front of their political leaders on this,” Bolton said. “They expect the government in Washington, at an absolute minimum, to protect the country, which it is not doing now. If the people were given a chance to speak, there wouldn’t be any ambiguity in what they said.”