John Bolton: Mideast Peace Efforts a Waste

As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with Mideast leaders to jumpstart the peace process, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton called the attempt a waste of time.

Bolton, who also said it's time another body replace the United Nations, told the Sunday Times of London the Arab-Israeli conflict was “not a priority," adding: “I don’t see linkage to Iraq, and Hamas and Fatah are in a state of civil war.”

Now back at American Enterprise Institute, Bolton let loose on a variety of topics during the interview, from negotiating nuclear weapons with Iran to the reunification of the Korean peninsula.

“I wouldn’t have engaged in negotiations with Iran in the first place,” he told the paper, in a nod to Britain, France and Germany, nations that have made contact with Tehran. “The policy has failed. Sanctions won’t stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

Bolton said President Bush and his administration would “rather find a way for diplomacy to succeed but time is running out — that's me speaking."

Regime change, he said is "preferable" to a U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear sites, though “the only course worse than the use of force is an Iran with nuclear weapons."

“President Bush has said it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons and he will not accept it,” Bolton said.

“There are all kinds of ways to change the regime,” he said, mentioning covert and overt means to topple the government. “We have an extensive diaspora of people with Iranian heritage in America who we don’t use effectively.”

As to the threat of nuclear weapons posed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Bolton said that the only solution was through a “peaceful reunification of the [Korean] peninsula."

The vocal critic of the U.N. still believes that other organizations such as NATO might be better suited to governing world affairs.

“Fifteen years ago people said NATO would either go out of area or out of existence and now it is in Afghanistan and it is all but NATO — absent Germany and France — in Iraq,” he said. “I think NATO should go global. There is no reason why Japan and Australia shouldn’t join.”

In Bolton’s view, America needs to take the lead in global affairs because “Who else will?”

Click here to read the Sunday Times interview with John Bolton.