Bolton slammed outgoing President Barack Obama’s foreign affairs conduct during his two terms in office, saying, “[T]he world is more dangerous today than eight years ago.”
Obama’s foreign policy legacy, Bolton said, “includes reduced American global influence, dramatically underfunded military and intelligence capabilities, and rising concern among longtime allies about Washington’s understanding of international threats. A world of nuclear-weapons proliferation and growing radical Islamic terrorism are the consequences.”
According to Bolton, Trump will face “his most immediate international challenges” in the Middle East.
Referring to the threat posed by the Islamic State group, Bolton said, “President-elect Trump has been emphatic that destroying ISIS must be an urgent priority, not Obama’s slow-motion approach that has simply allowed ISIS to continue recruiting adherents and training and deploying terrorists throughout the West. In addition, however, a Trump anti-ISIS strategy must also correct Obama’s misguided reliance on the Baghdad government, which has become little more than an Iranian puppet. In this complex multi-sided war, the defeat of any combatant inevitably advantages all the others. The goal should be to destroy ISIS while benefiting Iran to the least extent possible.”
After ISIS is defeated, Bolton said, “Sunni Arabs who previously supported ISIS (or accepted it because they could not resist) will not again be quietly relegated to the tender mercies of an Iran-dominated Iraqi government or Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria…Either a new state must be created out of the wreckage of Syria and Iraq, or some other durable approach must be found…In the midst of this wasteland that has developed over the past eight years, Israel and America’s Arab friends are desperately waiting for a strong American president who understands who his friends are.”
“I think the reactions we’ve seen from Iran — the urging of Trump to maintain the nuclear deal, the warning that he can’t roll it back — suggest that they’re worried about the fact that existing US policy, which is very favorable to Iran, could change pretty substantially over the course of the next several months,” Ilan Berman — of the Washington, DC-based conservative think tank the American Foreign Policy Council — said.