This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," April 4, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: Up next on "The Journal Editorial Report," Barack Obama abroad. The president makes his first big international trip amid rising tensions with North Korea.
Plus, a Spanish court takes steps to indict Bush officials with torture. How will the current administration respond?
And Obama's auto ultimatum. Is the threat of bankruptcy real?
"The Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.
Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
President Barack Obama embarked on his first major trip abroad this week with London's G-20 economic summit, the first stop on an eight-day tour that includes a NATO Summit on the French-German border, a European Union summit in Prague and a two-day visit to Turkey. All of this while juggling an intensifying diplomatic crisis with North Korea.
We're pleased would be joined by former U.N. ambassador, John Bolton. Also joining the panel, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; and foreign affairs columnist, Bret Stephens.
Ambassador Bolton, good to have you here with us on the panel.
Let's start with the trip — the meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. What is the president's game plan here in pushing, promoting an arms control agreement to reduce nuclear weapons?
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: Well, I think we can see from this particular issue what they mean by the reset button. They mean, basically going back to a Cold War kind of diplomacy, something that the Russians prize, because it puts them on a plane with the United States. But I think it's a very detrimental course to follow. It goes back to a relationship that doesn't exist anymore. And it locks us into a way of thinking about the Russians that I think is going to harm the long-term prospects for better relations.
GIGOT: When you talk to the Obama administration, they argue, look, we need Russia. We need them with Iran principally. We to help them — we need to get them to help us put pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear weapons advancement. Are we going to get that out of the Russians?
BOLTON: Certainly not. And the Obama administration has tried a variety of ways, including offering to give up our missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Look, Russia should understand that an Iranian nuclear capability is more of a threat to it than to the United States. but there are a lot of other things getting in the way. Russia wants to sell a nuclear power plants to Iran, at $2 billion a copy or more. It wants to sell high-end defensive weapons, conventional defensive weapons to Iran. And it wants to unite with Iran and others in oil and natural gas cartels. So when Russia looks at Iran, it sees something that can benefit Russia, that sweet nothings from the American administration are not going to change.
GIGOT: But you would argue, Bret, I would think that Iran is our major foreign policy problem right now.
STEPHENS: That's right.
GIGOT: Isn't it worth trying to get Russia to help us?
STEPHENS: Good luck with that. I mean, we've had three go rounds with the Russia on U.N. Security Council resolutions. Each time they were less and less helpful. The Russians have been supplying the Iranians with a civilian nuclear reactor at Bushehr. There are reports they intend to supply the Iranians with a very advanced anti-aircraft missile system that would prevent or would forestall any kind of military attack. The Russians aren't exactly helping us here or giving any indication that they plan to do so.
GIGOT: Dan, let's talk a little bit about — broaden this out to the whole G-20 and the Obama trip. He's really got rock-star status over there. I mean, the press corps applauded after his press conference on Thursday. It's a remarkable kind of charisma he brings to this. But what about the substance? Is he getting the substantive deals that these summits are supposed to produce?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Well, no, he really didn't get much of substance out of this. The Germans and the French are insisting on this global regulatory frame work. I think they're going...