From the National Rifle Association | John Bolton
Ambassador John Bolton addresses the NRA Celebration of American Values John Bolton(00:00:01): Thank you. Thank you very much. Well it’s a great pleasure to be here again with you this year, an outstanding, uh, gathering with, uh, I think the largest number ever of attendees that I’ve, uh, in recent years.
(00:00:16): I want to talk to you a little bit today about a subject that the political commentators and much of the political class in Washington doesn’t really believe, and that is, uh, that the American people don’t care about foreign policy, about national security policy. If you listen to many in Washington, and I think this includes our president, uh, they’ll say people only care about, uh, what affects them in their daily lives directly. They don’t, they don’t see these other connections and therefore were not going to worry about them. Well, as usual the political lead has again underestimated the intelligence of the American people, and we can see the cost of this misperception daily. We’ve got turmoil in the Middle East, we’ve got uncertainty about the strength of our efforts to defend Israel and to defend other friends in the region who produce the oil and gas that fuel our economy.
(00:01:14): And one consequence of that we see every day when we go to the gasoline station to fill up, uh, the tanks of our cars. The price of gasoline has been rising steadily; it’s more than double what it was when the president took office. And in large part it’s because of the incoherence of his policy in the Middle East, the uncertainty that the oil producers see is driving up prices now, uh, and it also directly relates to our own domestic policy. The president and his party don’t want to drill offshore, they don’t want to drill on the North Slope of Alaska, they won’t free up, uh, oil shale and gas shale the way that, uh, uh, could materially bring down the price of oil.
(00:01:58): You can see this, uh, disdain for the American people in their understanding of the inner relationship between foreign and domestic policy, and a host of other areas as well. You can see it in the president’s ill-considered policy to drive down the value of the American dollar, to take a strong dollar, the backbone of, uh, American, uh, influence in international, economic, political affairs, uh, and drive it to historic lows. You can see it in the policy of the president’s National Labor Relations Board filing a complaint against Boeing, uh, for trying to set up a plant in South Carolina because of the complaints of the labor unions when Boeing is in difficult competition with foreign manufacturers of airplanes, …
(00:02:44): … all of this ignoring the critical defense needs we have, that the president is underfunding. This is a pattern that goes on over and over again. And there’s one area in particular where the president’s disdain for the American people collides directly, uh, with the Second Amendment, …
(00:03:04): … and that is in the way he has dealt with the crisis of the drug cartels in Mexico. You know, the, uh, very essence of civil society in Mexico is being threatened by the growth in the strengthening of these drug cartels, which are now principally responsible for the transmission of illegal narcotics into the United States. Now let’s be clear, the United States contributes to this problem through our demand for illegal drugs. If it weren’t for our demand, the supply wouldn’t be there and the drug cartels wouldn’t be there.
(00:03:40): But the administration, in as cynical a political move as I think we’ve seen in Washington in a long time, and that’s saying something, is using this crisis in Mexico and the use of drugs in our own country, not to combat the illicit narcotics, but to use it as a foundation to argue for stricter gun controls at the federal level in our country.
(00:04:04): Now the problems in Mexico are severe. In the last five years, uh, by many estimates there have been between 35 and 40,000 homicides that are drug-related. I’m not talking about, uh, deaths caused by drug overdoses, although I suspect there’re a fair number of those too. I’m talking about gang warfare between the drug cartels, warfare between the cartels and Mexican law enforcement, uh, efforts by the cartels to intimidate elected officials, killing mayors, city council members, police chiefs, editors of newspapers, reporters, uh, and anybody who dares to speak against them.
(00:04:46): So bad has the situation gotten that even now in tourist areas in Mexico, areas that are critically dependent on foreigners coming and spending money to buttress the Mexican economy, the drug cartel violence is spreading there as well. The State Department has issued new travel warnings and advisories over increasingly large parts of Mexico, and that violence, that drug violence, is already spilling across our border with Mexico, particularly in Arizona and Texas, where there are broad areas that it’s simply not safe to go, uh, at night and in some cases even during the day.
(00:05:30): And since the main channels for illegal drug distribution in this country are urban gangs, you can easily see the potential for the drug violence in Mexico, just like on a conveyor belt, to come into this country, uh, and affect us all over, uh, the United States, not just in those states bordering Mexico.
(00:05:51): Now this serious problem has become increasingly obvious. Even Secretary of State Clinton, uh, a longtime opponent of the Second Amendment, said back in September of last year that when she looked at Mexico, she saw Colombia 20 or 25 years ago as the drug cartels there, uh, from Cali and Medellin were beginning to grow and threatened the stability of the government of Colombia. And her words of warning, of course, were even more important us because Mexico is on our border, at least Colombia was in South America.
(00:06:30): The next day, the next day, President Obama said, “You can’t compare what is happening in Mexico to what happened in Colombia.” That’s a direct quote. Now I’ve watched a lot of presidents and secretaries of state in the course of my career. I don’t recall anything even approximating that kind of complete contradiction of something that a secretary of state had said.
(00:07:01): But that was our president describing this growing danger. When they do talk about what’s happening in Mexico, our government, our White House, follows the Mexican line, by saying that the real problem of drug related violence in Mexico is caused by guns that have come illegally across the U.S./Mexican border.
(00:07:26): Now this is something that is music to the ears of the gun control advocates in this country, because they can say, “See, actually it’s our lack of gun controls, our lack of enforcement, that’s the real cause of the problem. So stiffer gun controls in the United States will solve the problem of drug violence in Mexico and prevent it from coming here.”
(00:07:49): Now this absolutely, uh, incorrect simply as a matter of fact. There are a lot of guns in Mexico in the hands of drug cartels, absolutely. Where do they come from? No doubt some of them come from the United States. A lot of things in the world come from the United States. But the bulk of those guns in the hands of the drug cartels probably came from police, uh, arsenals in Mexico or arsenals of the Mexican army, where corrupt police officials and corrupt army officials sold them to the drug cartels’ agents, or they were procured in the vast international, uh, weapons market that the cartels obviously have access to.
(00:08:35): The idea that what’s going on in Mexico is somehow our fault because of lax gun control laws here is exactly the kind of subterfuge that the Obama administration would like to carry forward, uh, in the near future to get stronger gun control laws here, and it will provide a foundation for their argument why the United States will have to enter into, in short order, the United Nations’, uh, negotiated, uh, Arms Trade Treaty.
(00:09:07): They’ve now put a draft of that treaty out for discussion in New York. It’s something that, uh, the gun control advocates in this country have long wanted us to subscribe to. This particular draft, uh, is, is a lot less onerous than it could be. It just raises the question whether they want to try and hurry this draft through to completion to try and get it, uh, considered by the Senate before the next election, or whether they’re putting it out as a placeholder for a negotiation to be concluded after President Obama wins his next term in office, because that’s, because that’s what they’re looking for.
(00:09:47): Now you know a few days ago in a, what I think will be a very famous article in the New Yorker magazine, an anonymous White House aide, defending the president’s, uh, policy, if you can call it that, in Libya, said, “Well this, you know, this is the Obama doctrine. It’s leading from behind.”
(00:10:12): Now, now I give that anonymous White House aide, uh, high marks for creativity because there’s not an awful else that, that he could say about this debacle of a policy in Libya and the Middle East. But I think we must also be concerned that there’s a real grain of truth in it, and that the “leading from behind” that he’s talking about is representative of the kind of subterfuge that Obama has carried out in much of his first term, and nowhere more acutely than in the area of, uh, gun control at the federal level.
(00:10:47): I think we need to worry that just as he’s laying the predicate now for stricter gun control laws, by the kind of narrative that he and his officials are describing in Mexico, we can understand that, as he likes to say, he’s playing the long game, and that “leading from behind” means waiting until he’s elected to a second term when he faces no further political constraints and his true agenda can come to the fore, and I believe right at the top of it, uh, is increased gun control at the federal level and at the international level.
(00:11:24): So that’s just something to think about over the next few days here. I know you’ll know what to do about it. Thank you very much. (applause to end)