I was sent this article and thought you might find it interesting. Former Ambassador John Bolton from the Bush Admin basically feels that Obama is not qualified nor prepared to properly deal with rogue leaderships (Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea etc) and is being foolish in his proposed diplomatic approach. This is based on comments made in the July 2007 YouTube sponsored debates. After you read Amb. bolton's op ed I also took the liberty to find that particular Q&A in the transcripts (should be in blue). Have a great weekend.
Amb. Bolton thought you would find this article of interest:
Los Angeles Times
Obama the naive
His views on world affairs ignore history and imperil the U.S. and our allies.
By John R. Bolton
June 5, 2008
Barack Obama's willingness to meet with the leaders of rogue states such as Iran and North Korea "without preconditions" is a naive and dangerous approach to dealing with the hard men who run pariah states. It will be an important and legitimate issue for policy debate during the remainder of the presidential campaign.
Consider his facile observations about President Kennedy's first meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, in Vienna in 1961. Obama saw it as a meeting that helped win the Cold War, when in fact it was an embarrassment for the American side. The inexperienced Kennedy performed so poorly that Khrushchev may well have been encouraged to position Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962, thus precipitating one of the Cold War's most dangerous crises.
Such realities should cause Obama to become more circumspect, minimizing his off-the-cuff observations about history, grand strategy and diplomacy. In fact, he has done exactly the opposite, exhibiting so many gaps in his knowledge and understanding of world affairs that they have not yet received the attention they deserve. He consistently reveals failings in foreign policy that are far more serious than even his critics had previously imagined.
Consider the following statement, which was lost in the controversy over his comments about negotiations: "Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. ... Iran, they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance."
Let's dissect this comment. Obama is correct that the rogue states he names do not present the same magnitude of threat as that posed by the Soviet Union through the possibility of nuclear war. Fortunately for us all, general nuclear war never took place. Nonetheless, serious surrogate struggles between the superpowers abounded because the Soviet Union's threat to the West was broader and more complex than simply the risk of nuclear war. Subversion, guerrilla warfare, sabotage and propaganda were several of the means by which this struggle was waged, and the stakes were high, even, or perhaps especially, in "tiny" countries.
In the Western Hemisphere, for example, the Soviets used Fidel Castro's Cuba to assist revolutionary activities in El Salvador and Nicaragua. In Western Europe, vigorous Moscow-directed communist parties challenged the democracies on their home turfs. In Africa, numerous regimes depended on Soviet military assistance to stay in power, threaten their neighbors or resist anti-communist opposition groups.
Both sides in the Cold War were anxious to keep these surrogate struggles from going nuclear, so the stakes were never "civilizational." But to say that these "asymmetric" threats were "tiny" would be news to those who struggled to maintain or extend freedom's reach during the Cold War.
Had Italy, for example, gone communist during the 1950s or 1960s, it would have been an inconvenient defeat for the United States but a catastrophe for the people of Italy. An "asymmetric" threat to the U.S. often is an existential threat to its friends, which was something we never forgot during the Cold War. Obama plainly seems to have entirely missed this crucial point. Ironically, it is he who is advocating a unilateralist policy, ignoring the risks and challenges to U.S. allies when the direct threat to us is, in his view, "tiny."
What is implicit in Obama's reference to "tiny" threats is that they are sufficiently insignificant that negotiations alone can resolve them. Indeed, he has gone even further, arguing that the lack of negotiations with Iran caused the threats: "And the fact that we have not talked to them means that they have been developing nuclear weapons, funding Hamas, funding Hezbollah."
This is perhaps the most breathtakingly naive statement of all, implying as it does that it is actually U.S. policy that motivates Iran rather than Iran's own perceived ambitions and interests. That would be news to the mullahs in Tehran, not to mention the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah.
It is an article of faith for Obama, and many others on the left in the U.S. and abroad, that it is the United States that is mostly responsible for the world's ills. In 1984, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick labeled people with these views the "San Francisco Democrats," after the city where Walter Mondale was nominated for president.
Most famously, Kirkpatrick forever seared the San Francisco Democrats by saying that "they always blame America first" for the world's problems. In so doing, she turned the name of the pre-World War II isolationist America First movement into a stigma the Democratic Party has never shaken.
This is yet another piece of history that Obama has ignored or never learned. There may be one more piece of history worthy of attention: In 1984, Mondale went down to one of the worst electoral defeats in American political history. We will now see whether Obama follows that path as well.
John R. Bolton is the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He is now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option."
Portion of YouTube sponsored debate Transcripts
QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.
In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
COOPER: I should also point out that Stephen is in the crowd tonight.
OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous.
Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.
And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We’ve been talking about Iraq -- one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they’re going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.
They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region.
"Growth is always worth the price you pay, because the alternative is a limited life with unfulfilled potential"- Anonymous