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RATTANSI: When you mention imperial power, then is it the case--and we've talked to Russians here and challenged them who [have] been so critical of US foreign policy in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan--that Russia is just doing what the United States did, supported by you? And there are parallels here of US interference in countries since 9/11?
BOLTON: Great. Let's take it one by one, but let's start a little earlier than 9/11. The US has invaded Iraq twice. The first time because Iraq invaded Kuwait, and in order to restore sovereight to Kuwait, we went into Iraq and basically destroyed its army. Now, in retrospect, we probably should have done more, but that's the kind of situation in which the US has historically fought--not because we want territory for ourselves, not because we seek economic advantage, but because one of our friends or allies has been invaded by somebody else. That's what's happening in Ukraine today. The difference between Russian actions and US is just about as clear as it could be. Your line of argument is like the old saying that here you've got an old lady near the path of a bus that's out of control ....
RATTANSI: I'm not sure I quite get the parallel of that one. Okay, but I mean, you know ...Dpes that mean that you would have supported this kind of military action or Singer missiles and so on being sent after the referendum --that obviously was not accepted by NATO nations--in Criemea, recognizing that Crimea was part of Russia?
BOLTON: Look, what we wanted to do in Crimea was work with the government of Ukraine which was not in a position to engage in any military activity in Crimea after it was annexed, but through, you know, diplomatic measures to get the Russians to reverse this something that we said in 1945 was never going to happen in Europe again, which is international borders being changed by by military force. Yet that's exactly what Russia did. It did it in Ukraine. It did it in Crimea, rather. It did it Donbass, and it's doing it again now.
RATTANSI: What about this phase, "peacekeepers": Can you understand, I mean, obviusly the UN secretary General says this is a violation of international law, something that has been raised with previous Russian actions. Can you se how Moscow would see it as "wait a minute! We sent peackeepers to proker peace in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We ended the war in Syria. We sought a ceasefire in Georgia and sorted all that out and quieted down the Georgian war. Wherever we go, all we do is bring peace.
BOLTON: Yeah, it looks pretty ugly, when it happens though. That involved fragmenting Yugoslavia Georgia and splitting off two provinces to pretend they were independent coutries. It means a Russian a Russian troop presence in Korea Georgia and as well as Iraq Azerbaijan and Kurdistan Armenia that freeze the conflicts there like their Russian troops still in Moldova and the so-called Transnistria republic [Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic] which I'd love to see someday. It must be about ten feet wide....
RATTANSI: How soon do you expect China to move on Taiwan as you so long predicted? I've got a statement here from China's foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunyung: Tawain indeed is not Ukraine. Taiwan has always been an inseparable part ...
RATTANSI: of China's territory. This is an irrefutable ...
RATTANSI: ... historical and legal fact.
BOLTON: [ROLLING LAUGHTER] Well, it seems to me that's a pretty clear statement, they're [China? Taiwan? China and Taiwan?] getting ready. I think, they're watching the US and NATO's response in Ukraine very carefully. If it continues to prove as ineffective, tragically as it has been so far, I think China will draw the appropriate conclusions.
RATTANSI: Do you think, the US can pare China away from Russia? You must have noticed that some of the countries receiving lots of infrastructural investment [FDI] from China--Venezuela, Cuba--they abstained on the UN General Assembly [resolution]. I know, the UN General Assembly thing was um quite theatrical. The US has never respected the UN General Assembly resolutions in the past, but what did you make of some peculiar abstentions from countries you'd think would vote with Moscow?
BOLTON: I think, what it shows is, that in this on-top between Russia and China that Russia is very much the junior partner. This is the exact reverse of cold war days. I think, it's something Russia's leadership hasn't considered adequately. I've tried to explain that growing closer to China, growing further away from Europe and the United States inevitably means subjugation for Russia at some level at some point....
RATTANSI: Why couldn't they bring the United States closer to China? Would you surely help the American people?
BOLTON: I think, China has made it pretty clear they have hegemonic ambitions in the Indo-Pacific. It's why they have managed to give life to the asian Quad--India, Japan, Australia, and the United States. It's why the countries of the Indo-Pacific very much want to see more evidence of a strong American presence in the region. It's why the Australians have asked for nuclear-powered submarines, and we've now created a mechanism along with the United Kingdom to do this. I think, people in Asia and the Indo-Pacific, generally, are waking up to China's aspirations, and they're going to take steps to prevent it from happening.
RATTANSI: What about the American people? Why is this a consistent theme--that it [China] must be about the Indo-Pacific? You know 40 million can't eat tonight in your country without food stamps. Why can't an alliance between Washington and Beijing be created out of the mess that is happening right now in the EU?
BOLTON: Because we're a free people and like being that way....
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