John Bolton Opposed To Both Syria Resolution And Obama Seeking Congressional Approval

John Bolton, the neoconservative who served as ambassador to the United Nations under former President George W. Bush, said Tuesday that he’d vote against the resolution to authorize the use of force in Syria if he were a member of Congress.

But Bolton said he’s opposed to President Barack Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval, too.

“Well, I would not have referred the matter to Congress and I think if I were a member of Congress I would vote against an authorization to use force here,” Bolton said during an appearance on Fox News Channel. “I don’t think it’s in America’s interest. I don’t think we should, in effect, take sides in the Syrian conflict. There’s very little to recommend either side to me. And I think the notion that a limited strike, which is what the president seems to be pursuing, will not create a deterrent effect with respect either to Syria’s use of chemical weapons or, more seriously, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So, all in all, since I don’t see any utility to the use of military force in Syria in this context, I would vote no.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Monday that U.S. credibility would be “shredded” if Congress does not approve the Syria resolution, but Bolton rejected that argument.

“Now the argument that the administration makes is, ‘The president’s committed us here. It will cause a huge blow to America’s credibility if Congress doesn’t approve the use of force,'” Bolton said. “And I’d say a huge blow to America’s credibility compared to what? Compared to the mess the president’s already made of it? I just don’t think there’s a convincing argument here and, frankly, it doesn’t matter what the intelligence shows. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons. I don’t think that’s going to change anybody’s mind.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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