Fmr. Ambassador to U.N. on Israel, Iran

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, not if, but when? We have heard a warning Israel will strike Iran to stop it from making nukes. Now, today, we are hearing that it could happen before the next U.S. president is sworn in.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton making that prediction. He joins me now.

Ambassador, how certain you are of this?

Video: Watch Neil's interview with John Bolton

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Well, my prediction is, if Israel decides to use military force — I don't think they have come to a decision point yet, although I think they are considering it very seriously — my theorization was on the timing if they decide to go.

CAVUTO: And your argument was, right after the election is the best time, because the present White House occupant is on his way out. The new guy can't really do anything in the interim. The world is going to make a big fuss, but it is a done deal, right?

BOLTON: Well, I think the Israelis for some time had counted on the possibility of the U.S. using military force. But I think the Bush administration is not likely to do that.

So, that requires the Israelis to come to grips with the issue. And I think they would want to have some feeling that, if they did use military force, the United States would be on their side at least after the fact. With eight years of proven good relationships with the Bush administration, I think that pushes them in the direction of doing something before this administration leaves office.

CAVUTO: What did we do when they took out the Iraqi nuclear facility in, what, 1980?

BOLTON: Well, in 1981, we actually joined in a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning that action. But Secretary of State James Baker later said in the Bush 41 administration that was a mistake.

More recently, when the Israelis destroyed the North Korean reactor in Syria, the United States gave them quiet support after the fact. And I think the same would happen if they attack the Iranian nuclear program.

CAVUTO: All right, I have talked to a lot of oil analysts, Ambassador, who say, regardless of whether it is justified or not, oil prices just soar on this, and the renewed tensions that would likely be in a big oil passageway, the Strait of Hormuz, and elsewhere, and you would be looking at $6, $7, $8 gasoline fast.

What do you make of that?

BOLTON: Well, I think that is exaggerated.

Frankly, I'm among those who think that oil prices trading now reflect a market that has just gone parabolic with speculation. I think Iran would have to be very careful in its reaction. It needs to export oil. And I don't think the Arab world...


CAVUTO: Well, that would be in Iran's favor, though. The value of the stuff they have is suddenly doubling, right?

BOLTON: No, I — because I think they have got to continue to export. And I don't think the Arab world would rally to their side.

I think, frankly, the Arab world, although they may not say so publicly, would be happy to have the Iranian nuclear program set back severely.

CAVUTO: So, in other words, they would rant and rave about it, but they would not do anything beyond that?

BOLTON: Look at the reaction to the Israeli disruption of that North Korean reactor in Syria. There were a few protests, but, basically, in private, the Arabs states were happy that that Iranian surrogate state had been hit by the Israelis.

CAVUTO: All right. But how much of this might be just a deflection on the part of the Olmert government, dealing with a crisis that some liken to a Mideast version of Watergate, and that this might be an attention deflection?

BOLTON: Well, I think the Israeli political situation is obviously very complicated. We don't know who the prime minister will be by the end of this year. And I think that is a complicating factor for Israel that points in the direction of not using military force.

CAVUTO: All right. The fact now that you have said this could happen now has everyone virtually planning on it will happen.

BOLTON: Well, you know, I have been saying it for about a year-and-a- half, because I think our policy has been ineffective. I think diplomacy and sanctions are not going to dissuade the Iranians from pursuing nuclear weapons.

CAVUTO: All right.

BOLTON: I think we have got two options, one, regime change, the other, military force.

CAVUTO: Ambassador, thank you very much.

BOLTON: Thank you.


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