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Bolton: GOP forgetting 1 critical issue in debates

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GOP presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich (Photo: Twitter)



Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says there needs to be much for focus on national security issues by Republican presidential candidates to convince voters they are ready to be commander in chief and would be far better than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.


Virtually all of the Democratic Party debates have focused heavily on domestic issues, with the exception of the event that came just one day after the November terrorist attacks in Paris. Republicans had one debate devoted to national security, but most of the other encounters have also spent less time on foreign policy.


Bolton told WND and Radio America that’s a disservice to voters.


“There still hasn’t been enough discussion of the issue,” he said. “There has been, intermittently. I think consideration of terrorism, how to deal with ISIS and the expanding threat of radical Islam (has been discussed at length).


“I don’t really consider these debates. I consider them serial press conferences,” he added, in reference to the brief time given to answer questions and contrast positions.


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He said the media should be doing a better job.


“The moderators should be asking more questions about it because the most important job of the president is to keep the country safe internationally,” he said. “We need to hear what the various candidates’ views are.”


Bolton said Republicans could build a big advantage by discussing national security issues more because Democrats are largely ignoring them.


“The people are going to be deprived of a real opportunity to judge among the candidates,” he said. “That’s why I have long argued that the Republican Party is, of the two parties, it’s the only one that’s the party of national security. If there’s no debate in the Republican Party, there’s not going to be a debate at all. I think that’s very dangerous for the country.”


Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with John Bolton:


While the position of the candidates is important, Bolton believes voters can get an important glimpse into how candidates approach a national security crisis by hearing them discuss issues now.


"It's not just their views on what China's doing in the South China Sea that threatens us or what Russia's doing in eastern Europe that threatens us. It's how people think about these issues," he said. "The next president is going to face threats and challenges that we can't even predict at the moment."


Bolton continued, "It's critical people have a way of judging their character, their integrity and their ability to deal with problems."


On top of that, Bolton stresses there are many critical issues facing the next president in addition to the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.


"Terrorism is the most imminent threat we face," he said. "But there are larger strategic threats from China in East Asia, from Russia in East Europe and others in this hemisphere, the Castro brothers and the mistakes President Obama has made opening relations with them, possibly giving the Guantanamo naval facility back to Cuba. There's a long list."


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In Thursday's debate, the biggest international flash-point was over how the president should approach the Middle East peace process. Donald Trump said he is very pro-Israel but would approach talks in an impartial way. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio say they would stand with Israel ,and John Kasich believes the peace process is largely a waste of time right now.


Bolton said the U.S. must stand with Israel or else no one else will, although he says given all the other problems in the Middle East, he does not expect the next president to address the Israeli-Palestinian question anytime soon.


Bolton briefly flirted with a 2016 bid of his own to keep the focus on foreign policy. Instead, he says he is in communication with multiple candidates and provides feedback on their ideas for a wide range of issues.


He is not endorsing anyone at this time, but Bolton is perfectly willing to sound the alarm as to why Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders should not be commander in chief.


When it comes to Clinton, he said her entire time at the State Department is a red flag to the nation, especially after the disastrous response in Benghazi.


"It's just a dereliction of duty, really, to see your people in danger, not just in Libya but potentially all around the Middle East, and to go home," he said. "It sends a signal within the bureaucracy that the secretary doesn't care enough to stay at her desk, late at night if need be, until all Americans are accounted for."


He also said Hillary's handling of State Department email on an unsecured, private server also depicts a troubling lack of judgment.


In Wednesday's Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders came under fire for comments he made in 1985 suggesting the Cuban people weren't all that upset with the Castro regime. When asked to clarify his current position, Sanders lamented that Cuba remains an authoritarian state but also lauded its work in education and health care.


Bolton was horrified.


"It shows what an astoundingly left-wing radical this man still is at an age when common sense normally begins to descend on people," said Bolton, while slamming the Obama administration for getting nothing in exchange for opening diplomatic relations with Cuba.


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