Proposed Pentagon budget cuts that "downsize the military" have to do with President Barack Obama's aim to fund "welfare at home" rather than maintain military preparedness overseas, John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, charged Tuesday.
Bolton told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV that Obama previewed a questionable strategy "to fundamentally transform America" during his 2008 election campaign.
"This military budget is part of that exercise," Bolton charged. "He wants to downsize the military, quite apart from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he wants to leave his successors with a smaller American military, and he wants to spend more money on welfare programs at home."
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Bolton noted the best war is one that's never fought, but the best way to prevent wars from being fought is "through a demonstration of strength so that the adversary says, 'I'm not even going to think about going there.'"
As the U.S. military is downsized, he warned, "our adversaries are encouraged to think that they can take risky, belligerent actions and get away with it."
Bolton said Congress and the nation need a debate not just on the budget, but on "whether we want a declining, withdrawing, less powerful, less assertive, less capable United States, because that's the direction the president's moving in."
"He doesn't want to say it, but that's what this budget is all about," Bolton said.
He charged that Obama has been whittling away at the nation's military capabilities since his firm term.
"We've already cut $1 trillion from the defense budget in the last five years, and these cuts . . . will leave us not only weaker in terms of capabilities, we're reducing the capacity of the United States to deter and dissuade adversaries from making threats toward us in the first place."
Bolton also attacked the president's strategy in Afghanistan.
"He's following the same game plan that he did in Iraq where he said, 'yes, we're trying to negotiate a status-of-forces agreement,' but he didn't do what was necessary to reach agreement with Iraq," he said.
"Ultimately, what Obama wanted was to get out of Iraq entirely, and the problems of negotiating a status-of-forces agreement were simply an excuse, a pretext so that when they couldn't reach agreement because he didn't try, then he could say, 'well, I guess we've got to withdraw entirely.' And we're seeing exactly the same thing in Afghanistan."
Regarding the unrest in Ukraine, Bolton said he doesn't envision a split in the country anytime soon.
"For their various reasons, pro-Russian Ukrainians and Vladimir Putin on the one hand and Ukrainians who want a closer relationship with the West on the other both think that they can ultimately prevail, and they see it as in their interests to keep the country together," he said.
"The split scenario comes up only when one side or the other concludes they have no chance of prevailing in a political context, in an electoral context, and they decide it's unacceptable to live with the other side on top. Then some kind of partition becomes more of a possibility, but I don't think we're there yet."
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