Bolton: US leadership must we're at war with terrorism, if the attack can happpen in Paris, it can happen in Washington and New York

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 7, 2015. 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. You are looking live at a police raid in northeastern France. There are unconfirmed reports that French police have found the terrorist suspects who carried out today's deadly, ugly, vicious attack in Paris. One suspect is reportedly dead. The other two in custody. We're going to bring you more information as we get it.

And today, French President Francois Hollande is vowing to win the fight against terrorists. And British Prime Minister David Cameron announcing his country stands united with France.

But is the world looking to the United States to take the lead on the war on terror?

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joins us. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly has hit France hard today. The loss of many lives. What should the United States be doing to try to fight this war?

BOLTON: I think, first, the leadership of the country has to acknowledge that we're in a war. I mean, let's just take a second and look at what happened here today this was a military style attack on innocent civilians in the capital city of a major Western country. This is a big, big event. If it can happen in Paris, it can happen in Washington and New York. You can count on it.

Either we come to the realization, which is everywhere for most people to see, that we are still engaged in a war on terrorism, or we are going to see it happen in this country sooner rather than later. And we can talk about all the different things our intelligence services and law enforcement can do. We can talk about what Congress can do. Unless the president of the United States understands that Western civilization is under attack here and responds accordingly, we will simply see this tragedy repeated endlessly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Boy, it seems to me you have got to start at the beginning. If you look at this, there's at least one report that Cherif, the 34-year-old, the oldest, had some connections to Syria. He had been in Syria some time ago. It seems to me that we need to focus at the beginning of this chain. It's not enough to, sort of, you know, look at it just in Paris, if it's starting some place else.

BOLTON: Well, I think it requires deciding whether we are at war with terrorism or if what happened today was just a more tragic version of knocking over the local grocery store. This is not a law enforcement question. It's a war. And if you want to protect your civilian population against this kind of terrorism, you have to go where the base camps of the enemy are. They are in places like North Africa, Yemen, and ISIS in Syria and Iraq, none of which our administration has shown any indication of doing. Whatever the French or the British or the other Europeans think, they simply don't have the capacity without American leadership to do it effectively. So I think the spotlight is where it should be, which is on that big chair in the Oval Office.

VAN SUSTEREN: You left out another big area, Boko Haram in Nigeria. This is -- that's another huge cancerous, you know, violent terrorist cell.

BOLTON: Exactly. I think the Middle East and North Africa generally are descending into chaos. And the United States has focused these last several years on what the administration thinks is the biggest threat to peace and security, namely, Israel building apartment buildings in east Jerusalem.

It's time to wake up and acknowledge we are still at war with terrorism and they are either going to kill more of us because we are not doing enough to destroy their capacity to do that, or we're just going to face this for as far as the eye can see. That's why, to me, this is such a major event, not just the tragedy of these 12 or perhaps more people being killed, but the assault on an institution of freedom in the West, in a major Western city. So, it's for all of us to wake up, but particularly the United States. We are the only ones who can lead this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, thank you, sir.

BOLTON: Thank you.