This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, he has lots of blood on his hands, but we got him. The Taliban's top commander has been captured in Karachi, Pakistan. It happened a few days ago in a secret operation by Pakistani and American forces. The Afghan commander is thought to be the Taliban's number two man. So how big a blow is this to the Taliban? And a better question, will he lead us to the number one guy?
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton joins us live. Good evening, Ambassador. And how significant is this, or do they just roll somebody else into position number two and they move on in their fight against us?
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Oh, I think it's very significant. Certainly, he'll be replaced, but his experience and his leadership inside Afghanistan have been a significant factor for the Taliban and he will be hard to replace. In addition, he is presumably being questioned now, maybe by the Pakistanis. I don't think they're reading him Miranda rights. So it's entirely possible that we're going get some real-time intelligence that, as you suggest, could lead us to Mullah Omar or maybe even something about Usama bin Laden.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what I think is interesting is that we picked -- that he was picked up in Karachi, with a joint effort by the Pakistanis and the United States, which shows an incredible level of cooperation. And there has been the suspicion that the Pakistanis have sort of been hiding or coddling many of these people in the past. So that looks like a step forward and is very sort of -- I mean, I think that's good for the United States. Of course, the Pakistani people still, a lot of them, are very resentful towards us.
BOLTON: Well, I think it is a step forward. It's hard to say how far it's going to go. But up until recently, the Pakistanis were denying that the Afghan Taliban leadership was even operating in Pakistan. Now they've helped us capture Baradar, the number two man, and there could be others coming, as well. So I hope this is simply an indication of deeper levels of cooperation with the Pakistanis because this operation has to go after Taliban on both the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the border.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about Iran?
BOLTON: Well, I think that Secretary Clinton has been stealing my lines recently, which of course makes me very happy. She's pointed to the fact that the Revolutionary Guards have assumed the real power in Iran. Power has flowed from the ayatollahs to the Revolutionary Guards that I think demonstrates even more convincingly why Iran is not going to give up its nuclear weapons program.
And she has said more recently that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, it will lead to proliferation, other nuclear powers in the Mideast. That's very significant because it demonstrates convincingly why it's so important to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons in the first place.
VAN SUSTEREN: But does it convince anybody to do anything? For instance, does it convince the Chinese, you know, to go along with sanctions? Does it convince people to be more hard-line? You know, we hear an awful lot of talk -- for the last two years, we've been hearing how about they're gearing up with this nuclear enrichment. Now -- now they're up to 20 percent, so they say. I mean, you know, will anything happen that will actually be effective?
BOLTON: No, I don't think so. I think the secretary is looking to say that the sanctions that the administration wants to target against the Revolutionary Guards could be more important because of this shift of governmental power. But I tell you, there is no evidence that China is prepared to support significantly more stringent sanctions in the Security Council, and I think, frankly, no evidence that Russia's prepared to do it, either. Indeed, we now have Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in Moscow, trying to argue to the Russians not to ship a very sophisticated air defense system, the S-300, to Iran that would make Iran effectively invulnerable to Israeli military attack.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, with all the -- if the sanctions won't work and we've got Israel in Russia and the -- and all the (INAUDIBLE) I mean, isn't a showdown -- I mean, I hate to say this, but if nothing's working and they're busy enriching and we're terrified of an arms race, a nuclear arms race, isn't a showdown of some sort inevitable? It's something we don't want to admit, but does it seem that way?
BOLTON: Well, not with the Obama administration. I mean, I think, honestly, the best guess you can make at this point, the outcome is that Iran gets nuclear weapons. Our diplomacy has failed. Our sanctions have failed. There's really nothing that stands between Iran and a deliverable nuclear weapons capability today, other than Iran's decision when to proceed, other than an Israeli military strike.
VAN SUSTEREN: But will -- that -- well, that may be the showdown. I mean, could Israel ever tolerate Iran having weapons, especially in light of the fact that President Ahmadinejad has said that he basically wants to blow Israel off the map?
BOLTON: I don't think it's in Israel's interests to do that, but I can tell you the government of Israel is under enormous pressure from the Obama administration not to undertake a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear program. The administration's still convinced that some combination of sanctions or diplomacy can bring Iran around. I think that's delusional, but that is the policy that the administration is still pursuing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador Bolton, thank you, sir.
BOLTON: Thank you.
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