John Bolton, the hawkish U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under George W. Bush
, is concerned that national security issues will take a backseat in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign, and is weighing entering the race so that he can debate Rand Paul over the Kentucky senator's non-interventionist foreign policy
ideas, The Daily Caller
"The neo-isolationist strand in the Republican Party is very small," said Bolton, who served as ambassador from 2005-06. "I mean very small. The success that Rand Paul is having is due to his domestic libertarian policies.
"A lot of people are not aware of what Rand Paul's views are on foreign policy. But the people who support Rand Paul on national security issues is very, very small."
Bolton has a PAC and super PAC that has raised $7.5 million to back candidates who embrace his assertive foreign policy stance, and giving him enough money to, at least, launch a presidential campaign, according to the Caller.
Bolton would frame his challenge to Paul's worldview along the theme of "victory" in the "war against radical Islam," he told the Caller.
"Since 1979, Iran has been the central banker of international terrorism, both Sunni and Shiite. The impunity that Iran would have from retaliation if it had a nuclear weapon is extremely dangerous," he said. "If the Taliban and al-Qaida had nuclear weapons after 9/11, our response to the attacks would have been very different."
Bolton likened the radical Islamist threat to the menace of communism after World War II, when communism was rising and looked to be permanent fixture.
"I don't think it's inevitable that the tide of radical Islam is going to go on forever," he said.
The decline in U.S. influence in the Middle East has contributed to the chaos that has roiled the region, according to Bolton.
He pointed to the ascendancy of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt and his battle against the Muslim Brotherhood as an example of a counter trend. "The question should be, where are we when we should be standing with el-Sisi?"
He wants people to start thinking about such issues as the presidential race unfolds.
"I don't see why it shouldn't be a John Bolton vs. Rand Paul debate," he told the Caller.
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