north korea

Liberals Rooting For A Recession

Have liberals’ hate for Trump led them to root for a recession and for the country to fail? If Trump ends tariffs can he also end subsidies? Should Trump offer free trade between the U.S. and both South and North Korea? Why isn’t the standard of living rising? CNN political commentator, Steve Cortes joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Trump Threatening Mexico With NAFTA Deal

Is Trump right in calling out Mexico for taking advantage of NAFTA “the cash cow” while not doing anything to prevent illegal immigration into the US? Is Bolton going to talk Trump out of meeting with Kim Jong Un? Does the US have any national security concerns to stay involved in Syria? Former US Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Jed Babbin joins Dan and John to discuss.

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Trump’s New Foreign Policy Team

Was it a power play by the Chinese in scheduling a meeting with the North Koreans? Did the Iran deal set a bad precedent and lead North Korea into thinking they could get away with a similar agreement? Is it time to put more financial pressure on Russia? Senior Editor for the Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz joins Dan and Scot to discuss.  

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McMaster Out, Bolton In

Everyone, including McMaster himself, knew he was on his way out, but is the timing interesting considering a potential meeting between Trump and Kim Jong in May? What’s up with House Republicans passing a $1.3 trillion spending bill? Is there anything other than salaciousness from the Stormy Daniels story? Anchor of Special Report on Fox News, Bret Baier joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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What's Left Of The Russian Collusion Story?

Is allowing other countries like Japan and Taiwan to go nuclear the next step after sanctions if North Korea persists? Is the hysteria of the Russian collusion story stemmed from the exposure of what the Obama Administration was up to during the 2016 election? National Review columnist and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Victor Davis Hanson joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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North Korea’s New Olive Branch

Should we believe the latest overture by North Korea through South Korea that Kim Jong-un is open to disbanding his nuclear weapons program? Has the DC press corps’ love affair with Kim Jong Un’s sister made them forget the last 25 years of North Korean propaganda? Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. We're coming to you from Charles Equipment Energy Systems, our friends here in Des Plaines, part of our AM560/Signature Bank Business Tour, and it's always fun to be here. They're in the business of providing energy solutions, big-time energy solutions. They've been responsive in hurricanes, for example, where the power is out, they're the ones who bring the huge generators down to... Jacobson: Yeah, they have generators the size of semi trucks that they bring down to help people...well, to give them electricity, so that they can clean up the area, and eat, and just...survive. Proft: So, we're talking about big energy solutions here, and we'll be talking to the gentlemen who operate this company...one of whom is an excellent cook. Jacobson: Oh yeah, Mike? You can say his name, man. Proft: And he's a bit of a character, too. We'll be talking to him at the bottom of the 7 o'clock hour so you want to stay tuned for that. Yesterday, Jeanne Ives...so we talked about this show, both with Jeanne Ives and Alderman Napolitano, Anthony Napolitano of the 41st Ward, far Northwest side there, the Edison Park area. They held a joint press conference yesterday to talk about that City Key ID that has made national news, we've talked about it on this show, when your Alderman, Amy, Ameya Pawar was on Tucker Carlson, and got his lunch handed to him? (Jacobson: Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.) So, Jeanne Ives and Napolitano doing a joint presser in their shared interest to not allow this ID that "Tiny Dancer" has concocted to be used as a form of identification for the purposes of voter registration for people who are in this country illegally. Jacobson: That's ALL it's used for. On the...Ameya Pawar said "Well, then I could take the train with it too." Well, what does that mean? No, you need a Venture card to take the train. Proft: Well, the point is if you want to use this new ID card to check out a library book or to get a Venture card, FINE. The only issue, and this was finely tailored, the legislation that Ives has filed, is it cannot be used for voter registration, cannot be used for voter registration. And we'll pick up that discussion in a little bit, but here right now we have our friend Ambassador John Bolton joining us. John Bolton, former United States Ambassador to the UN joins us now, and the timing couldn't be better because there's some breaking news. The New York Times reporting that Kim Jong-un saying that North Korea is willing to start talks with the US on giving up its nuclear weapons according to South Korea, per their little confab in Pyongyang... Jacobson: Pyongchang...PF Chang's... Proft: Pyeongchang in North Korea. Not ABC News version. Recently, and so let's get more insight on that from Ambassador Bolton, thanks for joining us Ambassador Bolton, appreciate it. Bolton: Well, glad to be with you, thanks for having me. Proft: So, do you...how much stock do you put in this New York Times report about what the South Koreans are saying, or is this just Kim Jong-un trying to manipulate and propagandize? Bolton: Look, this is the umptiumpth offer by North Korea to talk about giving up their nuclear weapons, we've been doing this for 25 years. The North Koreans have pledged in written international agreements four times during that period to give up nuclear weapons, they've lied about it every time. So I'd like to say, when you've tried something for 25 years and failed, what makes you think in year 26 it's going to be any different? Now, why are the North Koreans doing it now? I think precisely because they are so close, after 25 years of trying, to being able to deliver nuclear weapons on target in the United States. CIA director Mike Pompeo said a few weeks ago that he thought that they could master all the complexities that were necessary to do that "within a handful of months", HIS phrase, "a handful of months". So I think talking now, talking about a freeze on testing and,you know, maybe just freeze the American and South Korean military maneuvers that were postponed because of the Olympics and we'll just talk about it, and at the end of six months, the North Koreans will have deliverable nuclear weapons if we fall for it. Jacobson: So you think this is all just a cat-and-mouse game? Bolton: Yeah, I think this is all just a little diversion. "Isn't it exciting to talk to North Korea?" Honestly, it's when you've talked to them so many times in the last 25 years that it's hard to keep count, again somebody has to provide some compelling evidence of why talking to them now will make a difference. And what I fear is that next people say "What an amazing breakthrough!" as if they've forgotten the last 25 years of history, the news media are very good at that, they have short attention spans. But people say "Well, we have to help create the proper atmosphere, and we need to prime the pump a little bit, and we need to show good faith." All of which is code language for "make some concessions". Which the North Koreans would happily put in their pocket, as they have since going back to the Korean War Armistice negotiations in 1953, that's the way they negotiate. So, the Trump Administration has said previously they are happy to talk to North Korea, but we won't let up any of the pressure on North Korea. I think that's the absolute minimum, the pressure needs to be increased as they get closer to achieving their objective but I have no doubt that in parts of the State Department they're breaking out the champagne saying "Great! Let's head to Beijing for more talks and let's keep the party going!" That's a way of GUARANTEEING that North Korea gets deliverable nuclear weapons, which by the way they will be HAPPY to sell to anybody with the right amount of money. Proft: And also, too...I mean a part of this is the DC Press Corps' love affair with Kim Jong-un's sister, the Gold medalist in diplomacy at the Pyeongchang Games according to the DC Press Corps, his propaganda minister and sister. And I just wonder if North Korea is seizing on all of that goodwill foisted upon North Korea through his sister to then bring the South Koreans in, and make it look like there's some reproach ma (?), and as you say the entire thing, including as it pertains to South Korea, is diversionary. Bolton: Yeah, as we saw, there's a new diplomatic first here. Kim Jong-un met with representatives of South Korea. Well, big deal! His father met with representatives of South Korea on more occasions, I think, than we can count. We know that South Korea funded North Korea's participation in the Olympic Games, it's another way...the North Koreans are the best grifters and tadgers...I mean they make Wimpy and his offer, you know "How about a hamburger today, and I'll pay you tomorrow?", they make him look like a piker. And there's just more of this coming, you can see it. It's very...it's very dangerous, and nobody should be deceived by it, but I'm sure the usual suspects will be deceived by it. Jacobson: Well, besides talking, they also set up a hotline where they can talk, you know President Moon and Kim Jong-un, they can speak freely and directly to each other. And then there's this April summit, that's going to be held, you know, on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two countries. And do you think President Trump will soon get involved in this? Do you think there will actually ever be talks between Kim Jong-un and President Trump? Bolton: Well, I don't think there SHOULD be. Because I think simply the presence of the American president in the same room as Kim Jong-un gives him legitimacy that is beyond calculation and value. I really think this whole thing is just to tap for our attention while they're putting the last touches on their ballistic missiles and their thermonuclear warheads, as I said, Mike Pompeo thinks it will only take a handful of months. I don't know EXACTLY what that means, of course, but it sounds like before the end of this year, absent sabotage or other steps that might slow it down. So you know, it's just hard to credit that after 25 years or so of trying, the North Koreans have come within a handful of months, and then decided to say "Oh you know, we weren't THAT serious. We're prepared to give it up right now!" It's just...it doesn't wash, but there are lots of people looking for bridges to buy on the cheap, and I'm sure we're gonna hear from them in the next few days. Proft: I want to get your take on some of the developments in the whole Bob Mueller Special Counsel investigation, Russian collusion, and everything under that umbrella. Not just Sam Nunberg's bizarre day on the cable TV news networks, but also this story about the Australian diplomat that provided the FBI with the information that launched the FBI's Russia probe. The infamous conversation over cocktails with George Papadopoulus, this guy Alexander Downer, who's now the Australian ambassador to London...he also... Bolton: Right. I know Alexander Downer. He is a friend to the United States, whether he was a member of (?)...the administration, the conservative administration in the early part of the Bush administration. But whether he wholly understood what he was doing, whether it was others in the Australian government that really moved this along, I don't know. But yeah, it's really just another example of the reach of the Clinton Foundation, and why we're still looking at the tip of the iceberg here in terms of the information you have on so many of these fronts. So yeah, there's more here to look at, there's no doubt about that. Proft: Yeah, I mean you're talking about a $25M donation, that he apparently helped arrange, from Australia to the Clinton Foundation to support screening and medication to AIDS patients in Asia, that was back in 2006, but it's still something to kind of factor in, kind of in the interest of full disclosure and context. And I also wonder about what you...how you interpreted what Intel Chairman Nunes said the other day, that the person who was sharing or getting information from Russia was the...or the organization was the Clinton campaign. Bolton: Yeah, this is obviously tied to Nunes and (?). I've seen information that's not public, and I think it's entirely consistent with the argument that many in the Intelligence community have made, that the Russians were trying to sow distrust and erode faith in our public institutions, and even Mueller's indictment, that's only a piece of the puzzle, that's for sure. But, it tells that the Russians were prepared to help all kinds of candidates, even Bernie Sanders, and...the Green Party candidate, in an effort I think to cause confusion in the American electorate. So if they thought they could attract the Clinton campaign, I have no doubt they'd be prepared to try. There was certainly no principle reason for them not to. Proft: He is John Bolton, the former United States Ambassador to the UN. Ambassador Bolton, thanks as always for joining us, appreciate your time. Bolton: Thanks again for having me.

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The DC Press Corps & Dictators

“North Korea heads for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics,” was the Reuters headline.

“Kim Jong-un’s sister is stealing the show at the Olympics,” CNN reported breathlessly.

This is the same DC press corps that comes apart at the seams in response to the slightest of provocative tweets or bellicose rhetoric from Trump.

Could the press be even more attention-starved than the President?

Or is the glowing review of North Korea’s chief propagandist just professional courtesy from our chief propagandists?

The only other option is that our big government press corps is genuine in their appreciation.

It wouldn’t be the DC press corps’ first dalliance with a dictator.

The New York Times didn’t believe Hitler was sincere in his anti-Semitism. They spent the run-up to the Third Reich profiling Hitler as a Bavarian gentleman who enjoyed “strolls with his three sheep dogs along majestic mountain trails.”

The New Republic was similarly enthralled with the Bolshevik Revolution that brought Stalin to power remarking upon Stalin’s “energy” and “positiveness”.

When both Trump and the DC press corps were recently given the opportunity to honor someone on the international stage, Trump chose Otto Warmbier. The DC press corps chose the regime that murdered him.



SOTU Reemphasized Obama’s Foreign Policy Failures

Is North Korea getting enough pressure from the Trump administration? What is the fate of the Iran nuclear deal when some members of Trump’s team want to preserve parts of it while Trump calls it the worse deal of all time? Why did no Democrats stand and applaud sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela? President and Founder of the Foundation in Defense of Democracy, Clifford May joins Dan and Kristin McQueary to discuss.

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Successes Of Trump's "Principled Realism" In Foreign Affairs

What should POTUS highlight at his first State Of The Union after the first year of his presidency on the foreign policy front? How much credit does Trump deserve from removing ISIS’ control and territory? Is he going to address the Taliban and their recent string of attacks? What are the odds of the survival of the Iran deal? Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

View full transcript

Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. How has Trump principled, realistic foreign policy served American interests in Year One of his presidency? That's something that I'm sure he will tackle, at least in part, during his State of the Union address tonight. That was part of the conversation during the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, and there was a very interesting exchange between Israel Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Fareed Zakaria on the controversial...I GUESS...decision for Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital...something that previous presidents had SAID...Trump was the only one that MOVED on it. And Bibi Netanyahu had this reaction to the President's decision, much to the chagrin one of one globalist named Fareed Zakari. Netanyahu (from tape): The seat of government is in Jerusalem. This has been the case for the 70 years of Israel's existence, that we're celebrating now. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people since the time of King David, that's only three thousand years ago. So President Trump made history by recognizing history, recognizing these indelible facts of the past and the present. And under ANY peace agreement, you KNOW that the capital of Israel will continue to be Jerusalem, and the seat of our government will continue to be in Jerusalem, so I think on the contrary, he did a great service for peace, because peace can only be based on truth, on reality. And denying the simple fact that Israel's capital is Jerusalem pushes peace backwards by creating an illusion, fantasy. Can't build peace on fantasy. Proft: For more on this topic, and this aspect of the President's remarks tonight, we're pleased to be joined by our friend John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Bolton thanks so much for joining us again, appreciate it. Bolton: Well, good morning! Glad to be with you. Proft: So how would you summarize Trump's first year on the foreign policy front, and whether or not decisions like the decision in Jerusalem have advanced the cause of peace of the world over? Bolton: Well, I think he's had an awful lot of successes, but he faces an awful lot of problems, because a number of due bills left to him by the previous administration are coming due: the North Korea nuclear program, the Iran nuclear program, chaos in the Middle East and a whole range of other issues. But I think it's...there's been a lot of hysteria about what Trump's foreign policy is. I think it ends up being in the mainstream of conservative Republican thinking on most issues. That's depressing and boring for a lot of the critics, maybe for some of the supporters too, but I think that's the reality. I think it's what we desperately needed after eight years of Barack Obama. Jacobson: Well, the Palestinians are none too happy if the embassy is moved to Jerusalem, but President Trump the other day said he'd deny them foreign aid if they don't continue with peace talks. Bolton: Look, I think it's time...it's time to shake up the conditions in the Middle East. We've been pursuing the two-state solutions, so called, between Israel and the Palestinians, for about six or seven decades, it's not working out too well. And I think what Netanyahu said about peace ultimately being based on truth rather than illusion, it's just something you can't argue with. So acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel's capital and saying we're going to put our embassy there, does just recognize reality. And by the way, to the people who say it prejudices the outcome of the negotiations, that's just not true. Trump's own statement says he's not intending to do that. The embassy, whether it is built from scratch or, as it looks like now, converted from an existing consulate facility, will be in territory always recognized as WEST Jerusalem, WEST of the Green Line, NEVER under claim by the Palestinians. So this is just one example of an urban legend that's been out there for decades, it was never going anywhere. And the idea, for example, that the only people in the world for whom refugee status is inheritable, like DNA, are the Palestinians. That impedes the peace process as well. So the President withheld half of the operating budget of the UN Agency that works with the Palestinians, and as you say, he basically threatened to take off the table the direct aid that the United States gives the Palestinians, for which, by the way, we have ample statutory grounds, and some would say requirements, that the State Department hasn't yet met. So it's a painful reality that intrudes for some people, but I think it's the right thing to do. Proft: Ostensibly tonight the President will, in listing his successes, talk about crippling ISIS. Yesterday the Islamic State issued a new video, calling on "brothers in Europe, America, Russia, Australia, and elsewhere" to "kill them all, now it's time to rise". What is the state of the Islamic State, and how much credit does Trump deserve for removing them...removing their control from places like Syria and Iraq? Bolton: Well, I think that the Territorial Caliphate has largely been destroyed. I think there are still some pockets of resistance, our military says it's a few weeks until they're taken care of, I suspect that's right. And I think it was important to destroy the Territorial Caliphate, because it's holding territory that gives ISIS the color of legitimacy to its claim that it is indeed a legitimate Islamic Caliphate. But losing that territory doesn't mean that ISIS disappears. We know for a fact that a lot of its people got out of the Caliphate, and escaped to places like Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to continue the terrorist attacks against the West, and I do think that they will continue. So, there's been an important victory. I do think that Trump's changing of the rules of engagement for American forces was helpful in that regard. But I think it was not helpful that we continued basically many of the policies of the Obama years, supporting the government of Iraq which is, sad today these days, a subsidiary of the government of Iran, the Ayotollahs basically control it. And that's one reason that we still face enormous threats in the Middle East; to Israel, to our Arab friends, as well as our own interests there as well. Jacobson: Do you think President Trump will address the Taliban? I mean, they killed 100 people, they filled an ambulance with explosives, and then earlier in the week 22 Americans were killed at the Intercontinental Hotel, a good friend of the show, Greg Selig, was there, hiding in-between mattresses, and he had this 13 hours of Hell, and they tracked him down and they killed him. I mean, there seems to be something there with the Taliban. Bolton: Well, I think the President was pretty forceful at lunch yesterday with the UN Security Council when he said "We're not gonna talk to those people." And ultimately, this argument that this group of fanatics and terrorists would sit down and have a nice corporate conference around a conference table was always delusional. I think you've got to defeat these people. It may take a long time, but if you want the terrorist threat eliminated, if you want to make sure they don't re-take Afghanistan, and provide a new base for ISIS or al-Qaeda to threaten Pakistan, with terrorists taking over there and getting their hands on Pakistan's arsenal of nuclear weapons, which is estimated publicly to be 60 or more, maybe up to 200. This is just something that...it's unpleasant, Americans don't like to deal with these long-term lingering infections, but that's what it is, and to preserve the safety of innocent civilians here in the United States, far better to deal with them over there than deal with them over here. Proft: Dr. Richard Benkin has a piece in American Thinker where he profiles a Pashtun village elder who is very complimentary of President Trump's policy. He talks about President Trump's...and Pashtun's generally speaking, a favored form of democratic rule...small D. He has...but this elder that he profiles suggests that Trump is right for calling out Pakistan for decades of lies and deceit, duplicity in the War on Terror. He says that successive US Governments have given Pakistan billions of dollars, and its people...for its people's welfare and to fight the War on Terror, and in return Pakistan has given us nothing BUT terrorism. This kind of in the North Waziristan area that kind of borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. And I wonder if that is a perspective, although anecdotal, that informs US policy, and Trump's policy, towards Pakistan...or at least it SHOULD, and thus the basis for us to retain some presence there. Bolton: Well, I think Trump's decision recently to withhold assistance from Pakistan was correct, I think from time to time you've gotta show 'em the cold steel, and that was a necessary decision. But, I think it's also important to remember, and I said this a moment ago, that they've got a substantial supply of nuclear weapons, and if the terrorists took control, we would find ourselves with Iran on steroids. So it's a difficult balance to walk, it's a country that every time you turn around you've got to grit your teeth and think about it. I had a friend, a colleague, at the State Department, who said that the government of Pakistan is the only government he knows that consists simultaneously of arsonists and firefighters. And, and, and...and, and that's about right, and that's why it's hard to deal with. But, if you walk away from them, China will basically insert itself as the dominant external power, you'll have this greater risk of even more proliferation of nuclear weapons and this risk of conflict with India rises as well. So, it's hard, and it does require a well thought-out strategy, which is something again, Trump inherited basically a vacuum in terms of strategic policy regarding Pakistan, and he's still gotta make one up. Proft: You talked about the prospect of Pakistan becoming Iran on steroids, if terrorists got a hold of the nuclear weapons...what about Iran, minus the steroids, the actual Iran, and Trump and his position on the Iran Nuclear Deal, and his position that it was the worst deal in American history, at least at a foreign policy level. What are you hoping he says about the survivability of that deal tonight? Bolton: Well, I think if he just repeats what he said before, it'll be a reminder to everybody in Congress that he's still waiting to see if they can come up with anything. I mean, I would have abrogated this deal on January the 20th, 2017, during the Inaugural Address, because it was a strategic mistake. It was the worst diplomatic deceit that the United States has ever suffered, and it hasn't gotten any better with age. So I'm...I'm...if you put me down as what my druthers would be, we would have been out of it long ago. But if it's not gonna come till May, so be it. This is a good time to work with our allies in Europe, and others around the world, to talk about the reality that is going to exist on that date in May when Trump pulls the plug on this thing, which I certainly hope he does. Proft: He is Ambassador John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Bolton thanks again for joining us, appreciate it. Bolton: Always glad to be with you, thanks for having me!

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Will The Olympics Lead To Denuclearization?

Did John Bolton’s mustache prevent him from being on the NSA? Should the world be more worried about North Korea potentially selling their nuclear technology to other bad actors? What is the general assessment of the Trump’s realist foreign policy agenda so far? Should everyone’s New Year’s resolutions be to avoid non-stories in mainstream media and focus on real-life events happening? Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton joins Dan and Amy to discuss.

View full transcript

Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. And well, there were a number of interesting excerpts from Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury", which has created a furor inside the Beltway. And among the subjects that were discussed in the excerpts that were released, personnel decisions in the early days of the Trump administration, conversations that were alleged to have occurred between Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes, formerly the head of Fox News, was at the time, about particularly foreign policy and national security posts, including national security adviser. And one of the names mentioned by Ailes was former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. But Steve Bannon worried about his physical appearance... Jacobson: Like Steve Bannon should be talking? I mean, "Sloppy Steve", according to one of President Trump's tweets? Proft: Well, see...I don't think Steve Bannon was up for NSA, but Bannon suggested that one John Bolton didn't look the part, according to the President, because of the signature mustache. Jacobson: The mustache makes the man! Please! Proft: Okay! Well John Bolton certainly thinks that! And we're pleased to be joined by our friend, former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Bolton: Yeah, and what a WONDERFUL morning, right? Jacobson: Yeah, how are you doing? Proft: Yeah, nobody likes to be criticized about their fashion sense, yours truly included. But, how did you react to that excerpt? Did you kind of laugh at it, or did it ring true to you? Bolton: Guys look, at this point....no, at this point, what else are you gonna do? And I just want to say, for those of you who watch The Kennedy Show on Fox Business Network, comes on normally in the 8 o'clock hour, I was on last night, and Kennedy gave a ROUSING endorsement to my mustache...so I told her I'm sure that would put me in great standing with the president. Proft: Well I mean, if she endorses it, then I say you keep it. Bolton: Right? What else do you need to know, right? Jacobson: But so, I mean...do you think that you did not get the position because President Trump does not like facial hair? We're not dealing... Bolton: I don't think so. You know, people should remember his father had a mustache, so unless you're, you know, deeply into Freudian stuff, I think this is all *Proft laughs over a few words* at this point. Proft: Alright, alright, alright, enough mustache talk. Jacobson: The silliness aside... Bolton: I'll be happy to continue on this stuff. Proft: Yeah, we'll be happy to get to the reason we have you on, and that's what's going on between your ears, your knowledge of geo-political matters. So let's start with Iran, and what you think the prospects are for...to borrow a phrase...regime change, with the protests that are rolling through the streets...and not just of Tehran? Bolton: Well, it's a very significant development, what's going on in Iran, and something that I think is a direct threat to the regime of the Ayatollah is what was called "The Green Movement" in 2009, when they were protesting the obviously fraudulent presidential elections that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office. There, the protests were just which candidate of the regime would take over. There's no opposition to the regime as such, at least none that was publicly visible. What we see now in these demonstrations, which are taking place in over 100 cities across Iran, is they are chanting "Death to Khamenei", the Supreme Leader, "Down with the Regime!" Now, this particular round of demonstrations may end, it may be repressed, but a line has been crossed here. And I think the regime is in trouble, I think it's much more fragile than its international appearance. I mean, you've got decades of economic mismanagement, I think that's where many of these protests get started, you've got nearly 70% of the population is under 30...they know they could lead a very different life. They can see it across the Gulf in Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, they can see it on the internet. And there's enormous tension in the different ethnic groups in Iran. Persians are only 50% of the population. So there's a lot going on, and as I say, whatever happens with the current round of demonstrations, I think this is torqued up to a new level of threat to the regime. Jacobson: Do you think that President Trump should have inserted himself in supporting the protesters in his tweets? Bolton: Absolutely! I think that, number one, it was important to show, yet again, that Barack Obama is no longer President. A lot of people in foreign countries that don't know anything about the American political system, no reason that they should, they sort of assume one President's pretty much like another. That's obviously not the case as we understand, but I think it is important for the President to stand up and be clear about where the sympathies of our country lie. And there's a very direct analogy to some of the strong statements that Ronald Reagan made about the Soviet Union during the last days of the Cold War, when he called the Soviet Union "the evil empire", not Natan Sharansky and other dissidents inside prison camps. Many of them inside the Soviet Union said they heard Reagan, they heard other statements like that, and it gave them strength, it lifted their morale, it said "somebody on the outside understands what we're going through here", and it gave them...helped them increase the will to continue, it boosted their courage. So I think it's important that...that he did it, and that it was the right thing to do. Proft: The President's taken some heat this week for a tweet about how big his button is, in respect to Kim Jong Un's button in North Korea. You know, a little bit of hysteria from the DC Press Corps, that's nothing new, suggesting he's, you know, engaged in nuclear brinkmanship. I thought that tweet was kind of a little gratuitous and unnecessary, but the larger point about the Trump administration's position on North Korea consistent with the principled realist approach they are taking to geo-politics. Bolton: Well I think the Trump administration inherited very bad options from its predecessors. North Korea's made tremendous progress towards having the capability to deliver thermonuclear weapons to any target they want, really, around the world, but particularly in the United States. So he's had to try, in a very short period of time to identify policies that will put a lot more pressure on North Korea, whether it's through China, or greater sanctions. I don't think North Korea's ever going to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons program, especially given how close it is to achieving something it's been after for 30 years. You know, we weren't able to pressure or talk them out of the program in the last 30 years, why did anybody think in the last six, nine, twelve months, they're certainly gonna say "Oh, well, we got 99% of the way there, but I guess we'll stop now." It's not gonna happen! So, unless you're prepared to see North Korea with nuclear weapons forever, you've got some pretty tough options you've got to look at. Not that anybody wants to see military force used, but just think about what it's like to live in a world where Kim Jong Un DOES have his finger on the button. And beyond that, can sell his nuclear technologies to Iran, to terrorist groups, to other would-be aspiring nuclear powers. So, you know, it's a desperate situation with respect to the threat of North Korea, but it also represents, potentially, the crashing and burning of 50 years or more of American counterproliferation policy, the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Because North Korea's success here would prove that if you just have the determination and the patience, you too can be a nuclear weapon state. That's a very bad lesson to be learned around the world. Jacobson: Well,we've the Olympics, in about 32 days they begin, and that hotline between North and South Korea has been re-opened, and they have a big conversation coming up January 9th. Do you think the Olympics could help lead to any type of denuclearization? Bolton: No, this is complete propaganda! And remember that in 2000 and 2004, the North and South Korea Olympic teams marched together under one flag, as I recall. During the presidential administrations in South Korea, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, two presidents who had the same view, they called it the "Sunshine Policy"...that's sweet...about how to deal with North Korea. And it failed then, and it will fail now. The reason I think the North has opened this up is to distract attention, so that now people talk about "Oh, the Olympic Games!" In the meantime, their nuclear scientists and their ballistic missile technicians are working overtime to complete what they need to do to have that delivery capability. So you know, this is kind of a bait and switch affair for the North Koreans, they've got it in their playbook, they roll it out whenever they need to, and we shouldn't be suckered by it. Proft: Just thinking about the first year of the Trump administration, and they're basically encyclical describing the principled realist approach to foreign policy. You know, essentially...reducing the budget of the UN, pulling back foreign aid to Pakistan, supporting freedom protesters in Iran, marginalizing ISIS, new sanctions on Russia. For all of the talk about feckless foreign policy, or "he's in over his depth in respect to all of these complicated international matters," seems like that there is kind of a consistent thread that's emerging, consistent with how they've described their approach to all of these countries, whether they're allies of convenience or open hostile countries. And I just wonder what your general assessment of the administration and his national security team is, a year in? Bolton: Yeah, I mean there's a long list of things; recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, and the national security statement is, as you mentioned...but all of these things, I think, are in the mainstream of conservative Republican foreign policy. So you get the media that gets its hair on fire each morning with a couple of tweets that come out, when you look at, as you say, almost exactly a year's worth of policy, and it would be hard to distinguish what Trump is doing in the White House from what Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush would have done in the White House. So, you know, it's hard...it's hard not to kind of react when the media gets on a tear, but I'm just steeling myself, I'm kind of working on my self-discipline, just to continue to ignore what the mainstream media say and just actually focus on real events in the real world, not what's in the newspapers or what's on NBC, ABC, and CBS. Proft: A good New Year's Resolution for us all. He is former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, Ambassador Bolton, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Bolton: Oh, great to be with you, thanks for having me!

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View full transcript

Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. Happy 2018! Jim Comey rang in the new year with this tweet; "Here's hoping 2018 brings more ethical leadership focus on the truth and lasting values." Yeah, I agree, Jim. Let's start with the FBI, shall we? Fareed Zakaria, the kind of insufferable globalist on CNN, he wrote the book "Rise of the Rest", which I read, and has...all of his predictions have... Jacobson: ...not come true? Proft: *laughing* ...have been wholly inaccurate to this point, but he's HOPING they come true. And he's trying to shoehorn his predictions into Trump's first year, suggesting that Trump has retreated...has led the US retreat from the global stage. Here's Fareed Zakaria's commentary. Zakaria (from tape): It's creator, upholder, and enforcer, the United States has withdrawn into self-centered isolation. The second great supporter and advocate of the open, rule-based world, Europe, has not been able to act assertively on the world stage with any clear vision or purpose. And in this period, China, Russia, and a host of smaller, illiberal powers are surging forward to fill the vacuum. Some years ago, I described a post-American world, brought on not by the decline of America, I said, but the rise of the rest. That process has been well underway, but has now been dramatically accelerated by the Trump administration's foolish and self-defeating decision to resign as the world's leader. As the President might say in one of his tweets, "Sad!" Proft: Yeah, is that right? It doesn't seem to me that it's particularly right...withdrawn...into isolation. Let's see...ISIS has been virtually eliminated in terms of its presence in Syria and Iraq, BS controlled territory there, and that was in part due to action taken by this President. He's increased troop levels in Afghanistan, and that doesn't strike me as particularly isolationist. He's done a number of, kind of, "get to know you" regional tours of the world. He's enforced some, kind of, budget discipline at the UN of all places! So I'm not exactly sure what Fareed Zakaria is talking about. Perhaps our friend Jed Babbin can give us more insight. Jed Babbin, former United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, contributor to the Washington Times, and American Spectator. Jed, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Babbin: Well guys, great to be with you. It's my first radio hit for the year! Proft: Alright! Well... Jacobson: Let's make it a good one! Proft: We're honored to have you...yeah, let's go! Jacobson: Don't mess this up! Babbin: *indistinguishable* Proft: Well, what about Zakaria's description of Trump's first year, and where America stands on...with respect to "the community of nations"? Babbin: Well, you know guys, knuckleheads like Zakaria equate withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement as isolationism. So by his definition, sure, we're isolationists, but proud of it! The point comes down to, really, we are taking a leadership role much more than we have anytime in the past 8 years, the previous 8 years. And Mr. Trump is making some big strides! There are some huge challenges facing him right now, including what's going on in Iran, and North Korea. But I think that Mr. Trump is doing a much MUCH better job than what he's getting credit for. Jacobson: Well, President Trump tweeted support for the Iranian protesters out there. Do you think...I mean, there's a difference between protesting and rioting, and a lot of what I saw there over the weekend, the protesters lit one police station on fire, and there's been some vehicles turned over. Do you think he should have stayed out of it, or do you think he should have Tweeted about it? Babbin: Well I mean, he should have done a lot more than TWEET. These protesters are striking a blow for freedom! It's not just rioting in the sense that people are rioting senselessly, with no good reason. These people are protesting the oppression of this regime. They're attacking the besieged militiamen, who patrol their streets trying to put the riots and protests. And they're doing, I think, the right thing! We should be doing a lot more to help them, rather than just Tweeting about it! Proft: Well, the State Department...I mean, I agree with you, obviously...maybe it's that "We don't want to upset Obama's good friend Rohani and the Mullahs in Iran, right? They're our new partners in peace, aren't they?" Babbin: *sarcastically* Oh yeah...well yeah, sure. Proft: But the State Department did issue a statement, that was more than just Tweeting support; condemning the arrest of peaceful protesters, urging nations to support the Iranian people. I mean, these are young people, as you were characterizing, Jed. 60% of Iran is under the age of 30, it's an incredibly young nation. And one that frankly...and we've seen this before back in 2009 when Obama completely turned his back on the protesters, those yearning for freedom in Iran. They seem less and less willing to tolerate Islamofacism in their country. Babbin: Well, I think they're less and less willing to tolerate economic corruption. They don't want to see all of their money being spent abroad in places like Syria. And they're really just tired of not having the freedom that they all want. So you know, what we have to understand is that Iran is not monolithic. On one hand, you have the Ayatollahs, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the besieged militia...and all of those Shiite forces that are trying to keep the lid on these protests. On the other hand, you know...most of Iran is literate, they're fairly highly educated, there's widespread unemployment there, I think you said that 60% are under the age of 30, but most of those people are unemployed! And they're tired of it, so what they're trying to do is fix what is wrong in their country. And again, I think we have to take their side in a fairly bold way, and some of it needs to be covert. Jacobson: Let's move over to North Korea. Kim Jong-un in his New Year's Day address had a new look, he had a new suit, none of that mumu stuff, new glasses, new hairstyle, and he also extended an olive branch to South Korea, on the...with the Olympics being the main premise of the conversation. But could that lead to diplomatic talks? Babbin: Well it might, but I don't think it's going to. The South Koreans are not dumb. They see what he's trying to do, and he's trying to create some barrier or obstacle between us and the South Koreans. They're not gonna fall for it. They may try to go talk to them...fine. Why not? But the basic bottom line is Kim is not going to change his behavior, and if you read my Predictions column in Spectator yesterday, you'll know that I'm predicting that they'll try with missile launches and possibly with a nuclear detonation to disrupt the Olympics. I think that's a dang certainty. Proft: Give us your kind of rank assessment, or order of priority, then, Iran vs North Korea. Babbin: I think Iran...and I think Pakistan play into it too...you have three nations that are basically in a very bad position to push us towards the brink, push us towards war. Iran is cooperating with North Korea, so maybe the two of them combined are the highest threat we have. We know they're cooperating on missile development and the development of nuclear weapons. They both will...well, the North Koreans have both already...and the Iranians if they don't already have them, will also have them very quickly. So, these two and their cooperation is pretty much at the top of my list. And I think beyond that, you have to look at what's going on with Russia, in the Ukraine and elsewhere, with Syria and so forth. You have to look at what China is doing. China is building military bases in Pakistan, through this "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" initiative. There's a lot going on this year, and quite frankly, none of it's going to be good. Proft: Well, and how should...this was a Politico story, so I'm not saying it wasn't covered by the DC Press Corps, it was by definition. But it certainly wasn't amplified on cable news, like so many other stories, particularly specious ones about Russian collusion. But how the Obama administration's derailed a DEA investigation into Hezbollah, Hezbollah turning...trafficking cocaine and laundering money, to finance its expansion. Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization, just as Iran is a designated state sponsor of terror...but because Obama was playing footsie with those Islamofascists in Tehran, we allowed not only a glide-path for nuclearization of Iran but also for the expansion of this terrorist organization Hezbollah. Babbin: Well yeah, this was a very big story. It was popped out, quite frankly very surprisingly, by the very VERY liberal Hill Newspaper...or, I'm sorry, by Politico, even MORE liberal than the Hill! So this was a very deep investigative report that they put out about two months ago, and it showed that this "Operation Cassandra", the DEA operation to shut down Hezbollah's trafficking of money and drugs in the United States and around it, it was shut down because President Obama was pursuing his nuclear weapons deal with Iran. That is BEYOND shameful! Look, Obama failed, as we talked about earlier, to support the protests in the nascent revolution in 2009, The Green Movement. He went ahead and killed Operation Cassandra to benefit Hezbollah, to protect them, and get less adverse publicity for his nuclear deal, and he went ahead with the nuclear deal! That was, as Mr. Trump said, the worst deal possible. So Mr. Obama's motivations, I cannot understand. They certainly were totally inconsistent with America's national security interests, and at this point, we have to see where this all plays out. I'm hopeful that President Obama...President Trump, rather...will go ahead and cancel the nuclear weapons deal this month, when he's due to certify it again, but I kind of doubt that he will because his advisers, all of our allies, are pushing him to not do that. Jacobson: Well, in your article that you wrote in the American Spectator, you wrote about Hezbollah, and you predict they're gonna fire 500 missiles into Israel? Babbin: Well, maybe more than that. I mean, they've got about 10,000, or...I've heard all sorts of numbers, 10,000, 100,000. Last time Israel and Hezbollah fought was 2006, they're about ready to do so again. Iran is building military bases in Syria, very close to the Golan Heights on the Israeli border. There's things there that are about to blow up, and I think they will this year, unfortunately. It will take many many lives, but I think there's going to be a missile strike on Israel by Hezbollah, those missiles will be shot down by...well, they've got three big systems, what they call the Iron Dome system, anti-missile system. Below that is David's Sling, another anti-missile system. And below that the Arrow System, which is kind of what we call our Patriot missile...anti-missile system. Most of those things fired by Hezbollah will not reach their targets, but some will, simply because there's so many of them. And there's going to be a rather nasty, and I predict very short, war, between Hezbollah and Israel. Iran may be involved, directly or indirectly, and if they are, that will be a much MUCH bigger war. Proft: And it's interesting, just going back to Zakaria, it...to me, what he was talking about was the United States not doing enough to prop up European socialist democracies that are sort of spiraling. And there was more evidence of that over the weekend...the New Year's Eve party in Berlin set up a safe zone for women...this sort of in response to the New Year's Eve festivities in Cologne a year...two years prior, where hundreds of women were sexually molested and robbed by gangs of men, the great experiment in quote-unquote "multiculturalism"...well, the seeds that were sown being reaped in Germany and elsewhere. That combined with aggressive posture Trump has taken with the UN, I mean, $285 million budget cut in the UN, I mean, that's sort of unheard of, even though in the grand scheme of things, that's not a lot of money. What about the continued kind of diminution of Europe on the world stage? Babbin: Well, I think it's gonna continue. I think Europe is struggling very badly with itself, frankly. The Brexit negotiations are hot and cold, going up and going down, and Prime Minister Theresa May will continue to be the designated javelin catcher because no one in the Conservative Party wants to stand there and put up with the abuse from the EU guys. But there are a lot of other problems. Many economies there, particularly the Greek and Italian economies in Europe, are in shambles. And they're going to have to continue to be bailed out. I mean, Germany is tired of paying for all this, and quite frankly, Germany is, I believe, getting tired of Angela Merkel. So there may be some sort of turnover in the next German election, but who knows? There's an awful lot of things in Europe that make Zakaria right, but for all the wrong reasons. Proft: He is Jed Babbin, former United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, contributor to the Washington Times and American Spectator, the American Spectator where you can get his 2018 predictions. Jed, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Babbin: Thanks guys, appreciate it!

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