Two days after John Bolton addressed a conference in Washington, D.C. billed as "National Conservatism," participants were still talking excitedly about the overall review of the world offered by President Trump's national security adviser.
"He gave a great talk," John Hajjan of Boston, head of a group known as the American Middle East Coalition, told Newsmax. "And he dispelled any of these notions he's a warmonger."
John O'Sullivan, former editor of National Review and head of the Budapest, Hungary-based Danube Institute, heartily agreed.
"John was terrific!" exclaimed O'Sullivan. "I never thought he was a 'neo con,' but he set the record straight and came across as a prudent nationalist. His talk went down very, very well."
Speaking in conversation with former American Enterprise Institute head Chris DeMuth, Bolton went on to take 10 questions from a packed audience.
He said flatly that Chinese President Xi Jinping is by far "China's most authoritarian leader since Mao" and condemned what he called Beijing's "massive and persistent" theft of intellectual property from the U.S.
If there is going to be a change in Chinese attitude toward the U.S., said Bolton, it will take
"structural changes from within."
The White House national security chief went on to dismiss criticism of the president's use of the term "America First" to characterize his foreign policy and reminded his audience the late John McCain described his foreign policy stand as "country first" — "and I assume the country he referred to was America."
Bolton also decried editorial condemnation of the president's criticism of NATO allies not paying their fair share for its defenses.
President Barack Obama, he said, "called them 'freeloaders' for not paying their fair share and no one criticized him," Bolton said.
President Trump's positons have increased the allies' spending on NATO by nearly $100 billion and few praise him, he pointed out dryly.
Bolton also defended U.S. involvement in Venezuela, saying the Nicholas Maduro regime is propped up by Russia, Cuba, Iran, and China, and this, he believes, is a "violation of the Monroe Doctrine."
Bolton dismissed criticism of him as a "warmonger" and "neo con" and described his philosophy as believing "it is better to solve a problem now than to let it fester."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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