When former ambassador John Bolton goes to Iowa this weekend to speak at the Iowa Freedom Summit, it won’t just be his hawkish foreign policy that sets him apart from the other potential GOP presidential candidates attending.
In an interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday, Bolton, who is considering a run for the presidency, said “I am perfectly prepared to accept that Earth’s temperature is warming and perfectly prepared to accept that part of the increase in temperature is because of human activity.” This stance puts Bolton at odds with the 49 Senate Republicans, including potential presidential contenders like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who voted against an amendment Wednesday which expressed the sense of Congress that “(1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”
However, in making this statement, the mustachioed Bolton shouldn’t be mistaken for any sort of tree hugging environmentalist. The former State Department official made clear that he disagrees with those politicians who “see climate change behind every corner” and “want to pursue greater governmental control over energy policy and human activity.” Bolton went on to deride those greens “who would have exactly the same policies if there was global cooling instead of global warming” and are “fundamentally statist.”
Bolton also wasn’t going to embrace ethanol despite the fact that he was heading to Iowa, an agricultural state where corn subsidies have long enjoyed bipartisan support. The former UN ambassador though was opposed this policy on free market grounds. “I have a very jaundiced view of agricultural subsidies.” Bolton said. “I think the country’s energy policy should rest on market forces rather than preference of government subsidies.”
But the longtime State Department official isn’t going to Iowa to preach against ethanol or debate environmental policy. Instead, he is going “to make the argument that national security need to be returned to center of American political debate.” In his opinion, it’s been absent for the past six years because “the president does not consider national security a top priority.” However, he didn’t just place the blame on Barack Obama. Bolton argued “the Republican Party has not done the job they should have to explain to voters that you can’t ignore international problems. “ He noted that Republican candidates for Senate who emphasized a hawkish foreign policy heavily in 2014, like Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Scott Brown and Thom Tillis either won or did much better than expected.
The former UN ambassador is hopefully that by going to early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire that he can jump start this debate. For him, even if “Obama’s position [on national security] prevails,” having the debate is still far more beneficial than the status quo. But, of course, Bolton thinks his arguments will win that debate and he’s hoping that he can shift the conversation towards his preferred issues and his preferred points of view among his fellow Republicans. “It would not satisfy if me if there were one outstanding foreign policy candidates and not aiming for 20 Republican candidates who check a box. I want a broad debate on this issue.”