Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is warning Hillary Clinton would be nothing more than President Obama’s third term in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, applauding Donald Trump’s aggressive stand on ISIS and fearing there could be many negative repercussions to Congress allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia.
Bolton, who publicly supports Trump, served as U.N. ambassador from 2005-2007. Before that, he served in the State Department under President George W. Bush.
Monday night’s first presidential debate was touted as having a substantial focus on national security. It didn’t live up to that billing, but Clinton and Trump did cover their approaches to ISIS and cyber security. Clinton offered more specifics than Trump on how to defeat ISIS, but Bolton told WND and Radio America her prescription sounds familiar.
“Hillary Clinton is going to be Barack Obama’s third term,” Bolton said. “I think that’s true not just on national security matters but on domestic policy as well. While she likes to say – and did several times on Monday say – I’ve got a plan for this or I’ve got a plan for that, her plan for ISIS sounds suspiciously like Barack Obama’s, except she’s going to do it better.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton:
Bolton said he likes Trump’s emphasis on defeating ISIS swiftly.
“Trump has been very clear,” he said. “As long as ISIS has a privileged sanctuary from which it can recruit new members and train and direct them to terrorist activity in Europe of the United States, that’s a real threat to us. So the slow-rolling Obama offensive against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has really cost us and could cost us and could cost us further in very human terms.
“Trump has been about as emphatic as one can imagine that he believes that rapidly defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria ought to be the top priority,” Bolton said.
Clinton attacked Trump for not being more public about his approach to defeating ISIS and suggesting he doesn’t even have a plan. Trump responded by saying Clinton is showing America’s enemy exactly what she would do.
Bolton said he’s not worried by Trump’s lack of specifics.
“Even if he laid out a plan today, in six months, when – assuming he wins – he takes office, the lay of the land could be different,” Bolton said.
Adding to the complexities surrounding ISIS is the dire warning from FBI Director James Comey in congressional testimony this week that removing a physical sanctuary for ISIS does not entirely solve the problem and actually creates a new concern.
“The so-called caliphate will be crushed. The challenge will be: Through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people,” Comey said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on the global terror threat. “There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.
“We must prepare ourselves and our allies particularly in western Europe to confront that threat because, when ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out, they will try to come to western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people,” Comey said.
Bolton agrees with Comey, first about how long it will take to defeat ISIS on the current course.
“I think what he’s implicitly saying is that if Hillary’s elected, carrying out Obama’s policies will take several years to defeat ISIS,” Bolton said.
He said ISIS is rather effective at slowing the advance of the U.S. and America’s allies.
“They have not been in the kind of chaotic retreat that would signal a breakdown of their command and control or their discipline,” Bolton said. “If they are able to hold with that level of professionalism, I think they’ll fight a slow retreat, hold off as long as they can, wait for the United States to get tired or get diverted by something else.”
But Bolton said Comey is also right about what happens to those ISIS fighters once their territory is taken away from them.
“If it looks like they’re going down to defeat, I think they will do precisely what FBI Director Comey said. They’ll simply leave the region and go and carry on their war against the West in Europe or in the United States itself,” he said.
Overall, Bolton said the first debate did not spend nearly enough time focused on national security.
“I don’t think there was enough time, and the topics in the debate were very broad,” Bolton said. “I just think, given the threat of international terrorism around the world, the threat of nuclear proliferation, the threats of Russia and China, that people need to size up the candidates on how they’re going to do dealing with these foreign challenges.”
The former ambassador is also speaking out of the first congressional veto override of the Obama administration. Lawmakers overwhelmingly enacted legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to seek damages in court from the government of Saudi Arabia.
Bolton believes the bill is a bad idea.
“By lifting Saudi or any other nation’s sovereign immunity, if they are alleged to have engaged in terrorist acts, we’re exposing military personnel, intelligence agents, diplomats and even private citizens to being arrested overseas, to being pursued by lawsuits, to having frivolous lawsuits filed against the U.S. government that endanger our operations all around the world,” he warned.
He said if Saudi Arabia were proven to be behind the 9/11 attacks, it would be grounds for war, not civil lawsuits. He also believes it gives false hope to families still hurting from their losses on 9/11.
“The bill is a cruel hoax on the families of the victims,” he said. “They’re not going to find out anything more than what the general public already knows. The Saudis are not going to allow them to wander through their files or interview their top officials. At the end of the day, the victims’ families are going to be right where they are today.”
Bolton blames the Obama administration for doing very little to explain to lawmakers why this bill might be well-intentioned but harmful to U.S. interests.