The Corner

‘Pre-emptive capitulation’

Just talked to John Bolton. Here’s his take. “This is just pre-emptive capitulation, although like everything else, the rhetoric is that we’re doing the opposite.” It doesn’t make sense that we should only be concerned with the short-and-medium-range threat and not also with “the long-range threat 2 or 3 years from now.” And our intelligence on Iran is manifestly “inadequate.” I wouldn’t “bet a lot of money on it being right,” and in any case, “there’s this concept called ‘break-out,’” where they achieve a quantum leap in their capability. It’s a “bet against the future” that leaves “us and the Europeans in a more risky situation.” All the talk of the intelligence changing and an enhanced short-and-medium-range capability is “blue smoke and mirrors” because they never believed in missile defense. “It’s a convenient smoke-screen to do what they wanted to do anyway, which is to give up on missile defense in the hope the Russians will be nice to us.” Secretary Gates’s comments were the “most disingenuous.” Yes, we want a defense against the short-and-medium-range threat, but the whole idea of missile defense is based on a “layered defense.” “Gates was a problem in the Bush administration on missile defense. He was always weak on this.”

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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