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. Peter

    The Egyptian people finally woke up and drove out of office a dictator who held power for 30 years, kept women oppressed, and funneled millions and millions of dollars into his own bank account. Yet Bolton, Cheney, and that crackpot Anne Coulter all said that we should have stood by Mubarak. Coulter went so far as to say that (in short) we should have sent troops into Egypt to "ensure that the population does the right thing" like "we did in Iraq". Palin also rung in, but I won't dignify her kindergarten analysis with a comment. Where did these bizarros come from? "Ensure that the population does the right thing"? How do you think that would have played in Egypt? What if Bush/Cheney supported Mubarak during this uprising? Where would the USA be in the hearts and minds of the Egyptians today?

    February 12, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Melt

    Bolton...shut the hell up. With your exposure at the UN you, at the very least should have made a better comment than that.

    February 12, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. peddiebill

    I would have thought the previous administration had few answers that worked when another tyrant was toppled. Saddam Hussein was toppled and I thought John Bolton's man George W Bush pronounced Mission accomplished. I would also have thought that even John Bolton by now would have noticed that despite the joy of the Iraqi people and the joy of the US administration of the time there are still one or two minor problems in that case. Overthrowing the tyrant in a complex situation, and thinking all there is to it is to ensure the security of the US is not comforting for those of us looking on from outside the US. My recently posted essay on "Mubarack and the wisdom of hindsight" on billpeddie.wordpress suggests quite a few complications ahead.

    February 12, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. Daaaaaannnnnn

    Get over it inhalers, he is correct. Obama said "we hear you" to the Egyptian people, but he left town when The Tea Party came to call.

    February 12, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. thomas

    Bolton cautioned that a democratic election can produce illiberal results. Wow , more and more Boltons truth is that it's better to support dictators and Fascists than let the people have free elections.
    Bolton hows your buddy Paul Wolfowitz ?

    February 12, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. atolaki

    go away bolton.....forever

    February 12, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    No middle ground for imbeciles like Bolton...only right and wrong. Too bad Bush was usually wrong!

    February 12, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. 100% ETH

    Michael Bolton, the good singer makes everyone happy. But,-Bolton, is pain in the butt.

    February 12, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  9. 100% ETH

    You, Mr. MEAWWUU!!!

    February 12, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  10. Chaos

    This is the same moron who thought invading Iraq was a good idea and threatened intelligence personnel for not fabricating evidence of WMD.

    February 12, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  11. Mark

    I think Obama should link Egypt to Iraq with made up intelligence so we can invade them for no reason and we should out a CIA agent in the process who's husband had evidence against the claims of weapons of mass destruction, and then we will be "stong." Wait, we already did that last decade. Damn, I'm out of ideas. I guess we'll just have to let Egypt sort things out themselves.

    February 12, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    Critique, critique, is all we get from Republicans. Not a single idea comment or any thing approaching an alternative strategy or policy. Mr Bolton did not last long as US ambassador to The UN and this speech is a pretty good indicator of why he was dumped.

    February 12, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  13. Dennis

    So WWBD? What would Bolton do? How would he prevent what has happened in Egypt from happening? Cluster bomb the streets of Cairo? Invade? Threaten the protestors with a nuclear response if they didn't go home? This man is the lamest armchair quarterback coming out fo the right since Anne Coulter. He has no solutions, he just tells everyone else how wrong they are. Sometimes things happen, John, and you can't prevent it, so you just have to deal with it. Like you losing your job. Or losing an election. Or a foreign country changing direction. Got to get over the God-complex thing, John.

    February 12, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  14. Carmelle

    Do they a problem with the process or the end result?

    If the process: That's relative, you preferred a more forceful method. Eh. Not the president's style. He's more a diplomat than a war initiator. (That's why I voted for him). What would have been the benefit of a more forceful presence anyway. What if the people asked you to actually stay our of their business?

    If the end result: So you have a problem with them being free? Or are you mad that you didn't a say in it? You still believe in democracy for all right?

    Just trying to understand the republican take on this.

    February 12, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. bobcat1a

    The Republicans do more to drive voters to the Democrats than the Democrats can ever do on their own. Give them plenty of publicity and they will talk themselves into political oblivion with their modern version of knownothingism.

    February 12, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  16. Mr. Davidson

    Why these far right war mongers think these corrupt dictators need to be propped up forever is a worse equation yet. what Mubarek is over 80 years old ,so what , Sulieman have the CIA push their torture clone into power ,what does that do for the Egyptian people,this is not Iraq ,not yet but Afganistan is becoming one ,thanks to Bolton and his creed.

    February 13, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  17. Al

    Gaylon Barrow
    You will never have it with Obama. Even his followers are as dumb as he is. Being a Democrat does not give you free gratis on being smart. I was one for 50 years so I ought to know. Not since Harry Truman has the Democrats had a President worth a crap and he shouldn't have dropped the bomb. You followers make all the slur remarks you can because your only driving people away from the Democrats. Like me I could not take anymore of the jackal stuff.


    No wonder America is the laughing stock of the world with that kind of thinking you make benito mussolini.

    February 13, 2011 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  18. Save your money.

    Stop funding israel and all regimes surrounding suez canal.

    February 13, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  19. LouAz

    Seems Mr. Bolton would like to nominate Hosni Mubarack for President of the new democratic country of Egypt, you betcha !

    February 13, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  20. srobi

    Typical opposition propaganda. He offers no meaningful suggestions, but it doesn't prevent him and others from grandstanding by dishing out criticism. Of course none of this could possibly have to do with errant policies of prior administrations. People like Bolton think we're the only country that matters on the planet.

    February 13, 2011 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  21. Name

    You people are ignorant he is worried about the Muslim Brotherhood read the article he supports democracy but if the MBH get power it's a big problem and when it blows up in all your faces I can't wait to see all the back peddling

    February 13, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  22. stevetall

    Dammit! Who let this cootie back into the news? As one of the worst UN Ambassadors ever, he was a constant embarrassment to every American. Strangely enough, the CPAC stage is the only place in the land kookie enough to let him speak. The only explanation I can think of is that so few of the attendees seem to have a clue about anything other than fear, distrust, and hate. They even let Ann Coulter in, fer cryin' out loud!

    February 13, 2011 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  23. Paul H.

    Bolton is just another Pentagon worshipping right-wingnut who will always disagree with (and criticize) President Obama regardless of what the President does or says. I can't see any responsible politician doing anything different from what the Obama Administration has done regarding Egypt. With the Republicans' misplaced emphasis on cutting spending without increasing tax revenue, the right-wingers should stop pretending that the U.S. has the power and resources to dictate the internal affairs of other countries. The Obama Administration wisely recognizes that real strength lies in respecting the same principles of liberty and freedom for others that we demand for ourselves. Republicans' unsophisticated dependence on the military to bully weaker countries ignores the historical fact that the more power is used, the faster it is lost.

    February 13, 2011 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  24. Gigisatro

    Sure Mr Bolton, we understand. It must be depressing to see all your old pals go out of business, left behind by history.Not unlike you.

    February 13, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  25. once upon a horse

    I am wondering if at the end of these C-PAC conferences do they give an award for who can come up with the best "diss" of President Obama and it need not be factual? This idiot just threw his hat in the ring along with Mitt and Pretty Ricky and Minnesota Pawly. No matter WHAT Obama had done on Egypt some right wing nut job would have found something wrong with it. We kind of kept our noses out of anothr country's affairs and the same crowd that complains about us always being the world's police is still griping when we aren't. PATHETIC!

    February 13, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
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