John Bolton in Surrender Is Not an Option, by John Bolton


On Education: 1966: Opposed coeducation at all-male Yale University

One issue that consumed Yale in the late 60s was whether the college, all male since its founding in 1701, should become coeducational. This debate may have been more intense than the debate over the Vietnam War, although I doubt the antiwar students would ever admit it, because the outcome could have a profound and immediate impact on our lives. I was against coeducation, thinking instead that Vassar should move to New Haven from Poughkeepsie and join with Yale. Many questioned whether Vassar was up to Yale's academic standards and I suppose at Vassar they had similar concerns. Vassar kept its daisy chains in Poughkeepsie, and Yale went coed in 1969, making my Class of 1970 the last all-male class to graduate from Yale College.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 8-9 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: 1981: Returned $21M in unspent USAID funds to Treasury

At the Agency for International Development (AID), our main program of bilateral foreign economic assistance [was] in effect the descendant of the Marshall Plan. Our goal was to make AID's programs more market-driven. While at AID, early on, we made a key point by returning to the US Treasury $28 million that was obtained by canceling AID projects around the world that were failing. This was not a huge amount of money in Washington, but it was a shock to a government culture of spending that NEVER returned money to the Treasury. We made up a big check, like the ones seen on game shows, which Reagan obviously loved.

Although we made only a start in the 1980s at AID, the collapse of Communism seemed to show that pro-liberty, premarket forces essentially won the debate.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 20-21 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: Unitary UN: funding based on measurable accomplishments

By the end of the Reagan years, State had concluded that the UN had sufficiently reformed that we should begin repaying the arrearage built up during the 1980s. Incoming president Bush endorsed the plan, which contemplated repaying the arrearage at the rate of 20% a year, over a 5-year period.

I had no doubt that Bush, a former US permanent representative to the UN, who had called it "the light that failed," had a thoroughly realistic view of both the UN's potential and its problems. The issue, though, was to translate out intentions into a strategy that was more than just perpetual dissatisfaction with contribution levels. I created a conceptual framework called the "Unitary UN" for this purpose, hoping to take a global view of the entire system, to compare performance levels so we could allocate funds based on real accomplishments. No other country paid as much attention to what the UN actually achieved, as opposed to its aspirational rhetoric.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 33-34 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: Organized repeal of UN "Zionism is racism" resolution

Most important was the effort to repeal General Assembly Resolution 3379, the infamous 1975 text equating Zionism with racism, and a clear effort to delegitimize Israel. Passage of "Z/r" as we called it, had instead delegitimized the UN in the minds of many Americans.

During the Cold War, there was essentially no chance that the Soviets would give up their hard-won victory. With the advent of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union, however, I saw the possibility of righting the historic wrong represented by "Z/r" and also demonstrating that the US might actually be able once again to win highly contentious votes in the General Assembly. Yes, Resolution 3379 was a shameful thing, but it would be a huge effort to repeal. "Let it lie on the shelves and gather dust" was the way one Soviet diplomat put it to me.

Persistence paid off. As one of its last official acts before it dissolved, the Soviet Union voted to repeal the resolution it had inspired. "Z/r" was dead.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 40-42 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: Legally binding international law? Just theological exercise

The February meeting [preparing for the] May 18 Summit with Putin turned out to be no more than reciting established positions on whether the offensive weapons levels should be fixed in a "legally binding document" (a treaty or an executive agreement) or [just] a joint statement. Powell and Rice favored the former, while Rumsfeld and Cheney favored the latter. Since I saw treaties as essentially only political documents, and the while debate over what was "legally binding" in "international law" as just another theological exercise, I didn't care about the answer. Most important, Putin had asked Bush for a treaty, and Bush appeared to agree.

Pointing at me, Bush said, "Now look, John, this piece of paper is important from our strategic perspective. Putin is at huge risk, and he needs to fight off his troglodytes. Without a treaty, however, there is no discipline, but we're not going to have any changes by Congress; this will be a straight up-or-down vote."

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 76-77 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: Happiest moment at UN: exiting International Criminal Court

My happiest moment at State was personally "unsigning" the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC purportedly has authority to try individuals for crimes against humanity, and its advocates see it as the heir to the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunals. I viewed it instead as an unaccountable prosecutor, possibly politically motivated, posing grave risks for the US and its political and military leaders. The question was whether we would eliminate any ambiguity about our views by removing our signature, which I advocated. State's lawyers and others vigorously disliked the concept of "unsigning," let along doing it to this treaty, but I was determined to establish the precedent, and to remove any vestigial argument that America's signature had any continuing effect.

My only regret is that we didn't unsign more bad treaties, like Kyoto and the CTBT, during the Bush administration.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 85 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: UN Security Council is effective; don't expand it

Compared to other UN bodies, the Security Council actually makes decisions that affect the real world, among which, at least in theory, could be:The council's actual record, of course, was far from the ideal, as divergent views often brought it to a screeching halt. The most significant case in point was the Cold War, in which the Council played no visible role, and because of which it was largely paralyzed for over 40 critical years. Calls for Security Council "reform" (a euphemism for "expansion") have been major themes in recent years. As with many such issues in the UN, of course, nothing really happened. It was also typical of the UN that so much wasted effort was spent on "reforming" the one major body that actually worked halfway decently from time to time.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.247-249 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: United Nations Security Council overemphasizes Africa

The concentration of the Security Council's work on Africa is staggering, In mid-2005, there were 8 continuing African peacekeeping operations, out of a total of 17 worldwide.

In 2006, the Council passed a total of 87 resolutions, of which 76 dealt with specific conflict situations. Of those, 46 addressed African conflicts. As tragic and homicidal as Africa's conflicts have been, however, there is no serious argument that 60% of the aggregate threat to international peace and security is concentrated on that continent, not when compared to the global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. The Council concentrates on Africa for a variety of reasons, and one could make the argument that this concentration was justified if problems in Africa were actually being solved. The unfortunate reality, however, is that the UN is both ineffective in Africa and inattentive (and often ineffective) to more pervasive problems elsewhere.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.341-342 Nov 6, 2007

On Foreign Policy: State Dept. requires political leadership to change

A bureaucracy without sufficient political leadership cannot be used effectively. Led inadequately or inattentively, the State Department's careerists will simply continue doing what they want to do.
  1. The most serious of State's cultural deficiencies is one that the permanent bureaucracy has named: "clientitis." The term means excessively advocating the interests of the country or region for which an official is responsible.
  2. "Moral equivalency," a disease of the sophisticated, is highly contagious. It involves equating actions or policies that are fundamentally different. For example, Palestinian terrorism and Israeli defensive responses are equated.
  3. "Mirror imaging" is related to moral equivalency, involving the inability to see that representatives of other countries do not bargain on the same terms as our diplomats.
  4. Most fundamentally, State careerists are schooled in accommodation and compromise with foreigners, rather than aggressive advocacy of US interests.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.450-452 Nov 6, 2007

On Government Reform: 1976: Challenged post-Watergate campaign finance reform

I spent a large part of 1974-76 working on Buckly v. Valeo, challenging the constitutionality of every major provision of the post-Watergate campaign-finance "reform" legislation. Overreacting to Watergate, as in other laws such as the War Powers Act and the Independent Counsel statute, Congress had set strict contribution and expenditure limits on federal campaigns; tried to limit drastically "independent expenditures" separate from campaigns; imposed sweeping reporting and disclosure requirements; created a system of public financing for presidential elections; and established a new regulatory body, the Federal Election Commission, to oversee the law. This entire construct violated the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech, and we initially hoped President Ford would veto the legislation. Given the weakened state of the Ford presidency and the overwhelming pressure to "reform," that proved impossible.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 14 Nov 6, 2007

On Gun Control: UN Conference on small arms focused on US gun control

The UN Conference on small arms and light weapons in 2001 ostensibly aimed at a political declaration on illicit trade in small arms. Although this was innocuous sounding, it was increasingly clear that many of the nongovernmental organizations orchestrating this gathering focused on domestic US gun control issues.

The NRA had been watching the unfolding UN small-arms conference with increasing unease, sensing that while "illicit trade" in such weapons was the initial focus, it was only a first step toward a network of international treaties that would deeply affect US domestic policies. I saw the real problem posed was not a new treaty on small arms, but an unending "program of action" creating endless headaches down the road.

I said, "I do not support measure that prohibit civilian possession of small arms. This is outside the mandate for this Conference. The US will not join consensus on measures contrary to our constitutional right to keep and bear arms."

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 87-90 Nov 6, 2007

On Homeland Security: Mutual Assured Destruction: MAD is upside-down logic

A Bad Deal--the ABM Treaty--Travels to the Ash Heap: The arms control crowd believed that scrapping the ABM Treaty was heresy. Preventing Russia and the US from having national missile defenses was at the heart of "Mutual Assured Destruction" (MAD), Robert McNamara's 1960s strategy, and intended to dissuade the Soviets from initiating a nuclear exchange that would prove terminally destructive to both sides. In MAD's upside-down logic, defense was provocative: national missile defense would upset the strategic "balance of terror" and actually make nuclear war more likely. This arms control canon was reflected in the benediction that the ABM Treaty was "the cornerstone of international strategic stability."

Breaking out of this formulaic approach was necessary because it was both flawed in theory and no longer reflected strategic reality, if it ever had. I suggested that we replace the ABM Treaty with one barring Russia and the US from building missile defenses against first strikes.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 54-56 Nov 6, 2007

On War & Peace: 1966: I was like a space alien at anti-Vietnam Yale

I got into Yale, where I started in the fall of 1966, on scholarship. Yale was intense, especially in the late 1960s when anti-Vietnam War sentiment was growing around the country. I was just as much of a libertarian conservative at Yale as I had been in 1964, and given the prevailing campus political attitudes, I might as well have been a space alien. By senior year, students at Yale and elsewhere had decided that "striking" by not attending classes was an effective way to protest whatever was the flavor-of-the-day political issue. I didn't understand or approve of students' striking. I especially resented the sons and daughters of the wealthy, of whom there were many, telling me that I was supposed to, in effect, forfeit my scholarship. I had an education to get, and the protestors could damn well get out of my way as I walked to class.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 7-8 Nov 6, 2007

On War & Peace: 1970: Joined National Guard to avoid "ludicrous" Vietnam War

Before graduation, I joined the Maryland National Guard, finding a position by driving from armory to armory in the Baltimore area and signing up on waiting lists until a slot opened up. I had concluded that the Vietnam War was lost, and I made the cold calculation that I wasn't going to waste time on a futile struggle. Dying for your country was one thing, but dying to gain territory that antiwar forces in Congress would simply return to the enemy seemed ludicrous to me. Looking back, I am not terribly proud of this calculation, but my World War II veteran father, who still risked his life daily for his fellow citizens as a firefighter, approved of it, and that was good enough for me.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 11 Nov 6, 2007

On War & Peace: [Under Clinton],

[Under Clinton], their catechism was always the same: North Korea can be talked out of its nuclear weapons program.

The Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK) will never give up nuclear weapons voluntarily. If often promises to do so, as it did in the Clinton administration's 1994 Agreed Framework. It will even more readily BARGAIN over that promise, especially in exchange for items of tangible economic and political value, such as fuel, oil, nuclear reactors, "security assurances," or removal from our list of state sponsors of terrorism. The DPRK will gladly "engage" with us, accept our concession, and then violate its own commitments. The DPRK has followed this game plan successfully many times, and it has every reason to believe it will continue to succeed into the future.

In short, the Clinton policy and the Agreed Framework were classic illustrations of the delusion that a rogue state could be coaxed out of nuclear weapons, and were embarrassments to the US.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 99-101 Nov 6, 2007

On War & Peace: Throughout Bush presidency, Iranian nukes were a problem

Throughout George W. Bush's presidency, Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions were a constant problem. Iran's goals never changed, but the administration's goals were too often in flux, and not pursued as consistently or as relentlessly as they might have been. Whether, after his reelection, President Bush wavered personally remains unknown, but too many of his subordinates did, and he allowed them to do so. As a result, Iran continued to make progress toward its goal, while we watched.

I certainly did not accomplish what I wanted to do on Iran. I was not able to convince enough other people above me of the seriousness of Iran's threat; I suggested early on a multilateral diplomatic course that others hijacked and ran in slow motion, to my dismay and to our detriment; and finally, time just ran out on me as I left State.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.130 Nov 6, 2007

On War & Peace: China likes a divided Korean peninsula

China likes a divided Korean peninsula, likes having North Korea as a vassal and a buffer state between its forces and those of the US & South Korea, and fears the collapse of the Kim Jung-il regime. This policy is widely divergent from what should be the US view, which is that the DPRK regime itself is the source of the problem, which will disappear only when the regime itself disappears. To date, China has been completely unwilling to apply sufficient pressure against North Korea to make it renounce its nuclear ambitions. There are two reasons, one short-term and one long-term:
  1. China fears a wave of Korean refugees across the Yalu River, with its attendant destabilizing political and economic consequences.
  2. China fears the loss of the DPRK itself, given that South Korea and American forces would undoubtedly move to fill the security vacuum that the DPRK's implosion would entail.
Nonetheless, reunification in inevitable, as it was for Germany. China must be confronted with this reality.
Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p.434-435 Nov 6, 2007

The above quotations are from Surrender Is Not an Option
Defending America at the United Nations,

by John Bolton
.
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