Bolton: Obama administration 'plain wrong' on Egypt
February 12th, 2011
03:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Bolton: Obama administration 'plain wrong' on Egypt

Washington (CNN) - Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton condemned President Obama as "weak" and "indecisive" on foreign affairs while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday.

And specifically on the topic of the revolution in Egypt, Bolton stated "We don't have the leadership in the White House that can deal with it."

CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservative-minded activists, which this year is extra-important because it's the first cattle-call of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

Bolton described the Obama administration's approach to Egypt as "hesitant, inconsistent, confused, and just plain wrong."

Bolton recognized the Egyptian call for democracy, but questioned the administration's answer. "We have some degree of optimism, we can recognize that many of the people are legitimately calling for liberty and democracy as we see it," he said.

"But we know it is a responsibility of our government to protect our government and our friends and our allies," he continued, "Never forget Theodore Roosevelt's response: first and foremost we must make the world safe for ourselves."

Recommending a "careful and prudent approach," Bolton cautioned that "A democratic election can produce illiberal results. If you want to see what a Muslim Brotherhood looks like when it takes control, look at Hamas in the Gaza strip, it's not pretty."

"There is no guarantee that democratic forces can keep things moving in the right direction," he warned.

Finding fault with Obama's treatment of national security, Bolton said, "This is a critical time where we need a president who understands priorities, not somebody who's concerned with staying on top of media spin cycle."

And at a time when budget recommendations are a hot topic for discussion, Bolton offered some of his own.

"This is not the time for indiscriminate budget cuts in our national defense budget. A dollar well spent on defense is much more important than a dollar spent in the Agriculture department, the Interior department."

He closed with a rallying call to the audience, affirming, "We do not accept an American economy that is weak overtaxed and over-regulated. We do not accept an American military that is weak and poorly equipped. And in particular we do not accept an American president who is weak, indecisive, and apologetic."

Filed under: CPAC 2011 • John Bolton
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. XWngLady

    Bolton, please fix your ratty combover or toupe', or whatever...shave that ridiculous as heck moustache before you say a mumbling word. Because I question anyone's judgement who would come out of the house, nevermind get on national television looking that crazy...Oh, and by the way, Mr. Bolton, the President handled the situation in HIS OWN WAY... With calm and no doubt with more up-close and in-depth knowledge of the situation that you, gone. Your 'expertise' is no longer needed.

    February 12, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Unknown

    This is the same guy who wanted to abolish the United Nations. Yeah, he really is concerned about the welfare of other countries.

    February 12, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. The Other Dale

    Man, CPAC has been a major embarrassment for the Republicans and Conservatives (wait, is there a difference at all there these days?)! Screaming at each other, walk outs, awards to people a majority considered idiots if not war-criminals, desperate, misguided attempts at slams against Obama about Egypt that have turned out to be plain wrong ... the list goes on and on. No wonder more and more people are turning away from the Tea Partiers and Republicans these days.

    February 12, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  4. Mike in Texas

    Wow....A conservative at CPAC criticizing Obama. And would expect anything else? I think they leave the same speech at the podium for every speaker to read.

    February 12, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Monique

    This is typical of Bolton. Complain about everyone but offer up no solutions. Don't you think Obama's team is looknig at every angle, analyzing all it can? I'm used to hearing Bolton complain – but really – offer up ideas, solutions and not just insults.

    February 12, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. ricky

    Republicans are idiots with no message no plan, greedy and unstable, stop blaming Obama for everything republicans screwed up. Since the day he was elected they have tried everything to discredit him. The magic negro was suppose to solve all of our problems within seven days like he's god. All of this crap they are saying will only lead to his reelection, their worst nightmare. Great job handling Egypt Mr. president, stay out of their business and do your from behind the scenes.

    February 12, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. John

    Why are the Republicans lining up against freedom for Egypt?

    February 12, 2011 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Steve Newwman

    Bolton comes down on the side of dictatorship? Not surprising. No doubt he would have preferred that we overthrow the Egyptian people. Now, how do you do that? Looks like Bolton and the GOP haven't learned a thing since we overthrew the elected Iranian president back in the '50's and replaced him with the Shah. Remember how well that worked out? The Republican'ts don't.

    February 12, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. Get A Grip

    Good for you Mr. Bolton for speaking the truth.

    February 12, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. Clwyd

    Bolton has been a fuse ready to go off without any common sense. that is why he was removed as UN Ambassador! I guess we are to do what bush wanted and supported and that is an Egyptian government that will be on our leash

    February 12, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Larry Leon

    I I read most of these comments, but I had to stop. You people are remarkably naive. There was a time when I would have supported someone like Obama and his crowd. But, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." John Bolton is spot on about this and most other things he speaks on. All you have to know about him is that he dealt with the UN. And look carefully at the rest of his background in US foreign policy. Maybe you folks will wake up, along with your president, after the gunfire stops in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.

    February 12, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. John

    I thought I knew just how loathsome the Republicans could be. But this desire to force a restoration of the Mubarak tyranny in Egypt touches a new low. Fortunately, they are on the wrong side of history. I thank God that Barack Obama is my president, and that John Bolton does not represent this country at the UN any longer.

    February 12, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Bill

    Tired old, war monger

    February 12, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  14. kat

    Mr. Bolton is correct and we can keep our nose out of it when we stop sending them billions each year.

    February 12, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Charlie in Maine

    Yeah like we should listen to you about mid-east policy. The neo-cons were wrong at the start of the Iraq war and they are wrong today. Reading that this a##hole thinks it is wrong makes me fell even better about the whole thing.

    February 12, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. mah

    What world do these people live in? A fantasy world. I think Obama's foreign policy is just fine. It's certainly better than premature and ill-equipped invasion with no follow through.

    February 12, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  17. Kent Bowen

    Oh, JOHN Bolton, I thought it might have been MIchael Bolton.

    Never mind...2

    February 12, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  18. delicanli

    This Bolton guy in the past championed US invasion of Iraq to bring democracy. Thousands of soldier's life, hundreds of thousands Iraq'i civilians, trillions of american's tax money have been wasted. American's kid future is put in debt to bring democracy to Iraq. Howcome it is a problem now, if a democracy flourishes in middle east without US wasting it resources and nobody is getting killed (expect few hundred by the former dictator). This guy has no integrity, much like the rest of the Republican party. They only care to make their own richer..

    February 12, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. Altasbarfed

    If President Obama cured cancer, Bolton and his cronies on the right would cry that he's putting oncologists out of business.

    February 12, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  20. TheTeacherThePreacher

    Captain Crunch has spoken: "Hurray!" for global democracy and self-determination as long as we like the results.

    February 12, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  21. Bog & Bam

    I think Bolton's Magic 8 Ball gave him the wrong answer. Supporting Mubarak would have led to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Army is Egypt, it's power and where most of the American dollars go. We've landed up with the best possible solution but then, you can never make a Conservative happy.

    February 12, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  22. Kent Bowen

    From Wikipedia: John Robert Bolton (born November 20, 1948) is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican presidential administrations. He served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 on a recess appointment. He resigned in December 2006 when his recess appointment would have ended because he was unable to gain confirmation from the Senate.

    LET'S see, that would have been December 2006 when the Republicans still controlled the Senate...


    February 12, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  23. CaliforniaBC

    Oh yeah...because Bolton did such a WONDERFUL job during his tenure at the UN.

    February 12, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. CaliforniaBC

    Obama is smart enough to know that if he injects too many demands on this fragile transition in Egypt that the people will turn against the US even if the demands are logical and beneficial. They see the US as overbearing and Obama is trying to temper that so that we can have good relationship with the new government from the start.

    The Republicans only have one foreign policy strategy...strong arm anyone who doesn't agree with you. That is precisely the reason why Bush was a failure internationally and why Obama had so much work to do to repair all the damage.

    February 12, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  25. T'sah from Virginia

    [Bolton: Obama administration 'plain wrong' on Egypt]
    ["We don't have the leadership in the White House that can deal with it."]
    I am sick and tired of the RIGHT – thinking they have all the answers
    Their ignorance is obvious and it's spreading like CANCER!!!
    Bolton, Barbour, ginGRINCH and all other far-RIGHTIES are a JOKE
    They DAMN President Obama is he DO and DAMN him even more if he DON’T!!!

    February 12, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
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