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  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: John R. Bolton is an outspoken advocate of a foreign policy of American self-interest and a domestic policy of free markets and fiscal responsibility. He has spent many years in public service, including a term as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and a term as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. He is the author of Surrender Is Not an Option (Threshold Editions/Simon Schuster, 2007) and How Barack Obama Is Endangering Our National Sovereignty (Encounter Books, 2010). Mr. Bolton is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on U.S. foreign and national security policy. I spoke with him on August 29, 2011, just before he announced (to my disappointment) that he would not be running in the 2012 presidential election. —Craig Biddle Craig Biddle: Thank you very much for joining me, Ambassador Bolton; it's an honor to speak with you. John Bolton: Thank you. Glad to do it. CB: As a teenager, you found inspiration in Barry Goldwater, whom you praised as “an individualist, not a collectivist.” I take individualism to mean that the individual is sovereign—that he has a right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness—and collectivism to mean that he is not—that he is beholden to the state or society and is not an end in himself. Is that what you mean by these terms? JB: Right, exactly. I think that, in terms of choice of government, what we should look for is a government that enhances the possibility of individual freedom and individual activity and reduces the potential for collective government action. That's just a broad philosophical statement, but I think that's what the political battle has been about for many years and particularly right now. CB: How do individual rights play into that? What is the relation between rights and freedom? JB: I think that the two are closely related. If you look at how mankind comes into civil society, the individuals bring the rights with them—they're inherent in their status as human beings and don't come from the government as a matter of sufferance. So, in a social contract, ideally what you're looking for is benefits that bring mankind together but also maximize individual liberty. That's admittedly easier said than done, but that ought to be the preference—to try and find that balance—rather than to assume that the government is going to take a larger and larger role because some people think, number one, that they're better at making decisions than individual citizens are; and, number two, that it's a politically convenient way to stay in power—to tax and regulate people in order to “spread wealth” and benefit others. CB: So you essentially take the same position as the Founders on rights and freedom: We have inalienable rights, and the purpose of government is to protect them. JB: Exactly, and that, I think, is why they created a government of enumerated powers. We've slipped a long way from that point, but that's not to say that that shouldn't be what we aspire to return to. CB: Why do you think we hear so little in politics today about the proper purpose of government and the principle of individual rights? JB: Well, I think it's been a long slide away from what the intent of the original framers of the Constitution was. And I think it's an important task of political leaders—or should be—to return to that. If the only issues are how much taxation is going to be and what the size of the government is, and as many Republicans learned over the years, so-called “me-too” policies are going to inevitably lead to defeat because the statists can always outbid you. I think that in a time of fiscal crisis, this is the opportune moment to have an adult conversation about what the purpose of government is—a conversation not about how big the size of government programs is going to be, but whether they should exist in the first place. CB: I want to ask some questions about both foreign and domestic policy. Since you turned to domestic policy there, let's begin with that. What do you regard as the fundamental cause of America's economic decline today—crashing markets, skyrocketing unemployment, sheepish investors, and so forth? . . .
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Obama administration is attempting to 'lead from behind' in Libya, causing much concern among its allies and derision among its adversaries. Nevertheless this strategy represents an appropriate response both to the specific situation in Libya and to the wider constraints on American global leadership. With the shift in global resources from North to South and West to East, collective action has become more difficult to organise and global institutions have become harder to reinforce. Meanwhile governments in the United States and elsewhere must wrestle to bring their fiscal accounts back under control. A cooperative approach is the only answer. The difficulty for the Obama administration is that by emphasizing cooperation they make the success of their Libya intervention depend upon the actions of the other countries involved. Should France and Great Britain fail in Libya, President Obama's new conception of American global leadership will falter as well.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, France, Libya
  • Author: Michael E. Mandelbaum
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Steven Salaita
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Khalil Marrar's The Arab Lobby and US Foreign Policy: The Two-State Solution is a provocative and comprehensive monograph that surveys and analyzes the role of Arab and Arab American activist and political organizations—together comprising what Marrar calls the “pro-Arab lobby”—in the policy discourses of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Marrar is concerned in particular with the now-widespread one-state/ two-state debate and its influence on both pro-Arab and pro-Israel lobbying efforts. He asks, “[W]hy has the US shifted away from an 'Israel only' position toward the Israeli- Palestinian conflict to supporting an 'Israel and Palestine' formula for peace?” (p. 3)
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Israel, London, Arabia
  • Author: Jeffrey Mankoff
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: While post-Cold War generation Americans are more sober in assessing Russia, the next Russian generation (those under 35) is in some ways more problematic. Russian youth are much more entrepreneurial and politically engaged than their elders, but also more skeptical of the US and more comfortable with intolerant nationalism. The Kremlin is also reinforcing some of the more worrying trends among Russian youths. There is no going back to the Cold War, but the coming of the new generation does not portend smooth sailing, unless current officials can figure out ways to fundamentally alter the nature of a relationship still dominated by mutual distrust.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Soviet Union
  • Author: John Coffey
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Winston Churchill once famously declared, "Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we have to think." Churchill's admonition underlies the theme of The Frugal Superpower, a slender but trenchant work presenting a chastening forecast for American foreign policy in the 21stcentury. Michael Mandelbaum, who is the Christian A. Herter Professor and Director of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, explains how economic constraints will curtail America's post-World War II role as the "world's de facto government" and the consequences of that diminished role. The era of "American exceptionalism" has waned, he maintains; henceforth, the United States will behave more like an ordinary power. Written with verve and pith, this is a book for all readers, professional and general alike, who are concerned about America's place in the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: James G. McGann
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In this increasingly complex, interdependent, and information-rich world, U.S. policymakers face the common challenge of bringing expert knowledge to bear in governmental decision making. American think-tanks are well-positioned to provide alternative views to administrations and foster debate on contentious topics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ömer Taspinar
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Under the Obama administration American foreign policy will be engaged in genuine coalition building with allies. Such a return to multilateralism will have a positive impact on transatlantic and Turkish-American relations. Just like under the Clinton presidency during the late 1990s, Turkey needs American support to undo the deadlock with the European Union. America's return to Middle East diplomacy will also improve Turkish-American relations since the Obama administration is much more likely to support Ankara's openings to Damascus. Turkey should make an effort to host a new Arab-Israeli peace process in the framework of an international conference in Istanbul. In the short run Ankara can avoid problems with Washington on the Armenian issue if it decides to enhance its military and civilian support to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, America, Washington, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia
  • Author: Leslie H. Gelb
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is declining as a nation and a world power. This is a serious yet reversible situation, so long as Americans are clear-eyed about the causes and courageous about implementing the cures, including a return to pragmatic problem solving.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America
  • Author: Steven Hurst
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Politics
  • Institution: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Abstract: Several observers have argued that the radical transformation of American foreign policy wrought by George W. Bush is already over. They argue that the 'Bush Revolution' was merely a result of the short-term conjuncture of neoconservative influence and the impact of September 11, 2001, and that this temporary deviation has been ended by the American failure in Iraq. Yet the causes of the Bush Revolution are more fundamental and long-term than this argument implies. It is in the combination of the shift to a militarily unipolar international system and the dominance of the Republican Party by its conservative wing that the real roots of the Bush foreign policy lie, and neither condition is likely to alter in the foreseeable future. Moreover, although the Iraq War has led to some shifts in policy, the Republicans' selection of John McCain as their presidential candidate confirms the continued vitality of the Bush Revolution.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America