Interviews

Amb. Bolton critiques Nikki Haley's confirmation hearing

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 18, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You won't shy away from threatening and actually enacting, withholding U.S. funding to get real reforms out of the U.N.?  

GOV. NIKKI HALEY, R-SOUTH CAROLINA:  I won't shy away.  And I need your help to do it, because I need to be able to say that I have Congress backing me up, saying that, if this doesn't change, the funding will stop. And I think that that could be great leverage.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  Well, good luck with that, because Nikki Haley already found out today in a pretty contentious hearing that, when you try to hold the United Nations' feet to the fire with the leverage you have as being one of the biggest and the biggest financier and the money behind keeping the United Nations where it is and doing what it does, we account for about one of $3 for the U.N., then of course all bets are off.  

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. joins us now, John Bolton.  

John, what did you make of what she was saying?  Obviously, the concern was this decision to let happen a U.N. indictment of what Israel is doing and to call the U.N. on the carpet for that on these settlements and not expect some blowback.  What did you think?  

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS:  Well, I thought that her position was exactly correct.  It warmed my heart.  

I think that's exactly what the United States needs to do.  And it works. In 1989, the Palestine Liberation Organization tried to join the World Health Organization as a member state, which it manifestly was not.  

I was involved in stopping that.  Secretary of State Jim Baker said publicly, if any organization in the U.N. system upgrades the status of the PLO, the United States will cut off all contributions.  And, by God, the status of the PLO was not upgraded.  Congress put that into law.  

That was another point she made.  She needs Congress' backing.  And that worked up until the Obama administration, when they moaned and groaned when the Palestinian Authority tried to join UNESCO.  They said, we will try and get Congress to correct it.  And they were so upset.

And so they admitted the Palestinian Authority.  Congress would not change its position.  We're now saving a lot of money not contributing to UNESCO. So I think that was a cauterizing wound across the U.N. system.  I don't think the Palestinian Authority will get in anywhere else, and that's exactly as it should be.  

CAVUTO:  One of the things I noticed, not only in her confirmation hearing today, but even Wilbur Ross for Commerce and Tom Price for Health and Human Services -- if we can just show, Pam, what was going on -- Scott Pruitt at the EPA, and, of course, Nikki Haley, is that the issue of climate change came up.  

And I guess I could make a forced point for Nikki Haley.  Darned if I wouldn't have a tough time with either Commerce or a couple of these others.  

But that was a wedged-in point.  Oh, by the way, you at HHS, climate change, you at the United Nations, climate change, and that in the middle of everything else that is going on, that that was going to be a litmus test.  What do you make of that?  

BOLTON:  Yes.  

Well, there's a lot of carbon emissions in the United Nations at the in the form of carbon dioxide from the delegates talking endlessly about things that are utterly irrelevant.  

(LAUGHTER)

BOLTON:  So, if it means reducing carbon emissions out of the U.N. to reduce climate change, count me in.

CAVUTO:  All right, one thing that came up is -- and I don't know how you feel about this.  

I think a Democrat raised this.  Governor Haley, are you telling us -- I'm paraphrasing here -- that if a decision comes down that you or the administration doesn't like it that that would be an opportunity for you to either threaten funding, threaten support or walk off?  

What do you make of that, that we should be careful how we handle this argument, we just take our marbles and go home, or argue the marbles that we paid for were going home?  What do you think?  
 
BOLTON:  Well, look, I hope that this anti-Israel resolution that Obama let be adopted by the Security Council actually moves us to a more profound debate about whether we ought to pay assessed or mandatory contributions to the U.N. as it is.  

As you mentioned, we pay 22 percent of the budget of most U.N. agencies, 25 percent or more of peacekeeping, which is the biggest element in the budget.  And it's like a tax on the United States.  They set the budget, and we pay 22 percent.  

I think the way it ought to be is, we make all contributions voluntary, based on the revolutionary principle we should pay only for what we want and we should insist that we get what we pay for.  

That revolutionary principle would have a profound impact on the U.N. And the U.N.'s strongest supporters should want that, because they should want a U.N. that is effective, not in the shape that it's in now.  

CAVUTO:  All right, thank you, Ambassador.  Very good seeing you.  

BOLTON:  Glad to be with you.

END

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