Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said Wednesday Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and cut off the flow of oil is “largely a bluff,” but it does show that the government in Tehran thinks it can get away with the warning because it believes Barack Obama is a weak president.
“I think this largely a bluff. I think the Iranian military knows that if they actually try to close the Strait of Hormuz they would find their navy on the bottom of the sea in two or three days and suffer substantial additional damage to their air defenses and to their air force,” Bolton told Fox News. “So I think you have to see this in the context of their concern about a military strike against their nuclear weapons program and less of a concern about economic sanctions.
“I think the Iranians see a very weak president in Washington, somebody that they do not believe will use military force against the program,” he said. “So this threat I think given the economy and the impact that a cutoff of oil or dramatic spike in prices would have, they are trying to intimidate the Obama White House. They are also trying to intimidate our European friends, many in Germany and Italy, for example, who don’t want stricter sanctions anyway.”
Fox News contributor Mark Steyn then asked Bolton about the situation in Iraq, now that U.S. troops are gone and violence has escalated.
“This withdrawal of American forces was a catastrophic move by President Obama. It is already as you rightly say, having effects inside Iraq all of them negative from the U.S. perspective,” Bolton said. “It sends the signal of weakness to Iran. It worries our Arab friends on the Arabian Peninsula and it worries Israel and in fact, it should worry just about everybody because of the broader implications for a second Obama term if he is re-elected.”
Bolton said he thinks Obama lacks “clarity” when it comes to foreign policy.
“That’s one reason why I’ve argued we need more of a debate in this presidential contest on foreign policy,” he said. “We have not had enough on the Republican side and as president's weakness grows ever more apparent internationally, I think voters need to know what their alternatives are.”
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