The Case for Intervention: An Interview With John Bolton

Why are we in the Middle East? Liberals tell us that buying oil from Canada and fracking here are dangerous, but what’s more dangerous than war?

The Cold War made sense. Communism killed 100 million people and is the antithesis of what we believe. Reagan was a hero for dismantling the USSR.

But there’s no such excuse these days. I say we leave the rest of the world to blow up each other. We have our own problems. Can we at least cut the trillion or so we spend annually on defense? What about the $3 billion we send Israel? Please?

What would happen if America became as isolationist as the libertarians and the paleoconservatives want it to be? I’m not smart enough to know the answer, so I called Ambassador John Bolton (yes, you still call him “Ambassador”) and asked him.


I get why we have troops along the DMZ in Korea. We’re there to discourage North Korea from invading the South, but—
We actually don’t want our troops along the DMZ.

We don’t? I’m sorry; I thought I was talking to John Bolton.
Ha. We actually prefer to have our troops along the southern part of the peninsula so if there was another invasion, we would be in a better position to respond in a strategic fashion and not be pinned down along the DMZ. Also, with the troops in the South they’re easier to deploy elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific area.

“An America that turns away from the world is less able to provide stability and security.”

OK, so the case for troops in South Korea is strong. Got it. But why have over 100,000 troops stationed in Europe? Why do we have bases in Italy?
Well, a lot of the facilities we have in Europe today will be very helpful in combating al-Qaeda in North Africa, for example. Italy is right across the Mediterranean, and a lot of people thought they could have been used in the 9/11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

That wasn’t an attack. That was a riot based on a YouTube video. Hillary told me so.
Sure. Look, it isn’t a question of where exactly our troops are stationed. It’s a question of what kind of presence the United States has internationally and whether our presence is enough to help keep whatever small measure of stability and security there is in the world.

Can’t we just bring the troops home and then hop in some jets if the shit hits the fan?
Whether they’re based overseas or whether they’re based in the United States is more a question of logistics than philosophy. In some cases, it’s a matter of having supplies prepositioned. You’re obviously going to be less prepared to fight in an area when you just arrived.

It all just seems like a waste of money.
The Pentagon should be made repeatedly to justify how cost-effective it is to have bases overseas instead of here. These are legitimate questions but they’re less about geostrategy and more about logistics and cost-efficiency.

Couldn’t all this presence abroad be having the reverse effect? Haven’t we increased the number of Taliban since invading Iraq and Afghanistan? Alan Dershowitz and even the Tel Aviv media say they don’t want us meddling because it pokes the hive and makes life worse for Israelis.
We defeated the Taliban in Afghanistan right after 9/11 and forced them to withdraw. If you could show our presence caused a negative reaction, that would be a legitimate cost to weigh in the cost-benefit logistics, but I think you’ll find our presence is simply an excuse the Taliban and al-Qaeda use when recruiting. If it wasn’t that, it’d be Guantanamo or even what a “libertine society” the United States is.

Good point. It’s hard to say Muslims attacked Glasgow and Toronto because of foreign policy. Some say they hate us because of Israel and others argue it’s simply because we’re infidels, but maybe it’s both.
Of course it’s both. That’s why the ayatollahs call Israel “The Little Satan” and the United States “The Great Satan.” Israel is part of the West and they hate the West. Osama bin Laden called us crusaders but there weren’t any Jews on the Crusades. In the end, the radicals don’t like Christians and they don’t like Jews.


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