OTR Interviews

Buchanan: Obama exposed as 'utterly naive'

Commentator says president's Middle East policy has collapsed, calls on US to cut off aid to America-hating countries


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "Fox News Alert," Americans under attack in the Middle East, chaos spreading to 21 countries across the Middle East and north Africa, from Libya to Egypt to Tunisia, to Sudan and even to England!

And just in, terrible news out of Afghanistan, two Marines killed in an attack on a U.S.-British coalition base. Several others wounded in the attack on Camp Leatherneck, Camp Bastion. British Prince Harry, though, is at the base, but the latest report is that he was not injured. It is unclear whether the Afghanistan base attack is connected to the raging violence spreading across the region.

And earlier today, Afghan protesters burned a President Obama effigy. Now, the violence in Afghanistan coming as protests against the United States rage in many countries, including Egypt, where it is now 4:00 AM. And you are looking live at Cairo. In parts of the city, anti-American rioters are still swarming the streets, spewing hate against the United States. We have no idea what tomorrow brings, as the sun begins to rise in just a short time.

But this day has been extremely violent, with violent protests across the Mideast and north Africa turning deadly, in Egypt, police clashing with stone-throwing rioters outside the embassy. One person was killed. In Sudan, the heaviest violence, protesters storming the U.S. embassy and setting the German embassy on fire.

In Tunisia, police firing tear gas and gunshots towards protesters attacking the U.S. embassy. Two people were killed, dozens hurt, and an American school was burned down. and in Lebanon, a crowd of protesters setting fire to KFC and Hardee restaurants. At least one protester killed, dozens were injured.

And while chaos reigned overseas, another battled raged on the campaign trail.


REP. PAUL RYAN, GOP VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: In the days ahead and in the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose!

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: It's clear that the message throughout the Middle East is the United States is weak and the United States is leaving.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.: They were a well-planned and professional terrorist act against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to United States policy, not to the administration, not to the American people, it is in response to a video.

MCCAIN: To think that the Libyan people are somehow involved in this is just not accurate. It was a terrorist attack organized and carried out by terrorists.

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob.

CARNEY: When it comes to criticism, I would note that many observers, commentators and foreign policy experts, as well as elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, have pointed out that criticism, in particular from Governor Romney and his team in what seems to be an attempt to score a political point, has been both factually wrong and poorly timed.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We're told by the media that Mitt Romney spoke too soon the other day! We're told that Romney has no foreign policy experience! Yet it was Romney who issued the most responsible and presidential statement of anybody.

RYAN: The slaughter of brave dissidents in Syria, mobs storming American embassies and consulates, Iran four years closer to gaining a nuclear weapon, Israel, our best ally in the region, treated with indifference bordering on contempt by the Obama administration -- amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership!

MITT ROMNEY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I would like to bring Egypt closer to us. I think it's important for them to understand that it's an advantage to have a close relationship with the United States, to be an ally with the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you attack our embassy, when you kill our ambassador, when you commit these type of international acts of war, when you're chanting, We are all Usama bin Laden, make no mistake, you are our enemy!

LIMBAUGH: The American flag's on fire all over the Middle East! The al Qaeda flag is being raised. Our ambassador to Libya's dead. And The New York Times tries to tell us that Obama has these guys on the run? What an absolute example of total media corruption! No other way to describe it!


VAN SUSTEREN: And right now, the U.S. embassy in Cairo still at the center of violent clashes. This week's protest started in Egypt. And tonight, U.S. Marine quick response teams arriving across the Middle East. In the latest news, the U.S. now sending a platoon of Marines to Sudan to bolster embassy security there. All this as Republicans sharpen attacks on the Obama administration, saying it is weak on foreign policy.

Former senior adviser to President Reagan Pat Buchanan joins us. Nice to see you, Pat. And America, weak or strong in foreign policy?

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT REAGAN: What's happening is the Obama administration's Middle East policy is collapsing right in front of us. He had his famous Cairo speech, and then he got behind the Arab spring and dumped over some dictators and autocrats and other people, some of whom were friendly to us, others who were not.

Thereby, they've unleashed these new forces, and not all of them are benign. Some of them are noxious. One of them is anti-Americanism. There's Islamic fundamentalism. There's tribalism. There's ethno- nationalism. All of these forces are on the move across the Middle East.

And President Obama's position is exposed as utterly naive! I think what's going to happen here, quite naturally, is Americans, tourists and others and American diplomats are going to have to be drawn out and drawn down from this region of the world, which is turning hostile.

VAN SUSTEREN: What should the president do?

BUCHANAN: I think the president should get back to Washington and get out of Las Vegas and realize that his whole policy is collapsing right now.

But I will tell you one thing he should do with regard to Egypt. Call up President Morsi and say, OK, your people got away with this. But if ever again somebody comes over our wall in our embassy and you haven't made every effort to stop him, we're going to cut off aid to you, we're going to cut off World Bank loans and IMF loans, and I'm going to tell American tourists to avoid Egypt this year.

We've got to get serious. Look, I mean, I understand that he's a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they got to treat the United States of America with the respect it deserves as a great power if we're going to work together!

VAN SUSTEREN: If it were only Egypt, it would seem a little bit more manageable. But Pat, it has erupted in over 20 countries, protests! These are violent protests, burning down the German -- the German -- fires in the German embassy in Sudan. I mean, this is not just a -- you know...

BUCHANAN: Here's what the situation is. There is gasoline all the way from Nigeria to Mali to Ethiopia to Cairo to the Middle East to the Caucuses! Anti-Americanism is parts of it. What they did is they took this crazy little video, they threw a match in it, and people did this thing in Libya, which was pre-planned, pre-prepared terrorist act. Some of these other things were spontaneous.

But I think the whole thing -- what has happened is there is a contagion all through this region, where these people agree on one thing. They detest and hate the United States. They hate our culture. They hate our policy. They have historic grievances. And they are as anti-American as they can be!

VAN SUSTEREN: Was it avoidable? I mean, is this something that we should have -- you know, going back, let's say, two years, three years, is this something that -- you know, that we actually in any way, you know, could have avoided this?

BUCHANAN: I think -- I think, quite frankly, all of this, what is exploding now has been building up for years and years and years. I think there's a real incompatibility between American culture and between the culture of the fundamentalist and the Islamic world.

This place is basically -- the whole place is -- there's a revolution under way, a great religious awakening taking place among the poor and the working class. The one thing they have is the Islamic faith. They're very militant about it. And they look at the enemy as the great Satan, and the Americans and the others with their cultural intrusions. It's...

VAN SUSTEREN: So is it foreign policy, or is it -- or is it that -- I mean -- I mean, the way you just describe it makes me think that it has -- that it's not foreign policy that has brought us to this...

BUCHANAN: It's all of these things. One of them is culture. Look, Israel is one real problem. They all hate Israel, and America backs up the Israelis. Americans have been killing people, they believe, in Iraq. We put sanctions on them. That was one of the causes Usama bin Laden said for declaring war.

There's a history here. There's religious differences. There's cultural differences, all of these clashes. I just think the Western position in that part of the world -- I'll be honest. I think we should lower our profile and retreat from that part of the world.

And what are we doing when we're a trillion dollars in debt every single year? What are we doing borrowing money to give out foreign aid in any event?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think we were doing things like giving aid, like, to places like Pakistan so they contain their nuclear weapons so that we can try to sort of buy our friends so they don't do something to India.

BUCHANAN: (INAUDIBLE) the polls tonight, the Pew poll, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt -- not one of those countries has one fifth of its people saying they admire and approve of the United States. Seventy-five percent of Egyptians believe that Arabs did not do 9/11. It's a truther country!

VAN SUSTEREN: So now what?

BUCHANAN: I think what you've got to -- basically -- the president of the United States should get back here!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he's -- he's -- he's got back (INAUDIBLE) a fund-raiser tonight. You know, he's...


VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, he was here this afternoon...


BUCHANAN: You mention it, as all of these reports have shown, the world is on fire, in the Middle East and in north Africa, all the way over to Afghanistan, and the president of the United States has gone to fund- raisers? I mean, I believe he ought to be here and he ought to be speaking to the country because there's no doubt about it, our Middle East policy is collapsing right before us! And it's the policy he enunciated at Cairo in 2009!

VAN SUSTEREN: What -- I -- I -- do you support Governor Romney? And would Governor Romney do anything different right now?

BUCHANAN: I don't know exactly what Governor Romney would do right now. But I do think the idea that they're attacking Governor Romney because of some statement he made at 10:00 o'clock at night -- that's an irrelevancy!

Let me also say this incident, this video, that's not the reason for this. That's the excuse for what's going on there. A lot of this has been planned. A lot of it's contagious over there. And as I say, you have all this tinder sitting over there. One little spark, and it all went, went through that -- that tells you how America, basically, and the West are regarded now in that part of the world.

VAN SUSTEREN: Pat, as always, thank you, sir.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.