Reaction to Bolton appointment shows how out of touch the left is in the US

David French:
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Bolton is not — as some in the media would have you believe — a mere flame-throwing Fox News “talking head.” He’s a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He’s on the board of trustees of the National Review Institute. He’s a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He’s a conservative hawk, yes, but he’s squarely in the mainstream of conservative foreign-policy thought.

He’s not extreme. The reaction against him, however, is. Moreover, the reaction betrays a sad reality: The foreign-policy Left still hasn’t learned the lessons of the recent past.

To put it simply, all too many people view the challenge of North Korea and Iran something like this: There is a clearly safer path, including engagement, talks, and continued fidelity to the Iran deal; and there is a clearly more dangerous path — saber-rattling, increased sanctions, public advocacy for regime change. All right-thinking people should seek more engagement with North Korea. All right-thinking people should support the Iran deal.

The “clearly safer” argument always has a short-term advantage. When choosing between less risk of war and greater risk of war, there is a proper default preference for less risk and a presumption in favor of making immediate moves toward peace. When dealing with jihadist regimes like Iran’s or evil regimes like North Korea’s, however, the problem is that every single path is perilous.

Miscalculate in favor of war, and you risk an unnecessary bloodbath — one that America would win, but at immense cost in blood and treasure. Miscalculate in favor of peace, and you risk — God forbid — American cities in flames, a genocidal nuclear exchange in the Middle East, or (perhaps most likely) future military confrontations with aggressive and hostile foreign powers that we can’t truly win because of their own nuclear shield. Remember the words of Krishnaswamy Sundarji, former chief of staff of the Indian army: “One principal lesson of the Gulf War is that, if a state intends to fight the United States, it should avoid doing so until and unless it possesses nuclear weapons.”

World history is littered with both kinds of mistakes, and our recent histories with both Iran and North Korea indicate that bipartisan policies of engagement, negotiation, and forbearance have not, in fact, moderated either regime. Iran continues to export jihad, work to kill Americans, and ally with our Russian rival to engineer a bloodbath in Syria — even as the Iran “deal” fails to deliver on Obama’s dream of somehow bringing Iran into the community of nations. North Korea is well on its way to developing a nuclear first-strike capability that threatens the mainland United States.
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Iran is a good example of the failure of the "safe" approach.  After Obama's appeasement, Iran continued to harass US shipping and endanger pilots landing on ships.  Both actions could have led to a bloody confrontation and a war.  Since Trump was elected and instigated more robust actions against ISIS and challenged the Iran deal Iran has stopped the dangerous tactics.  That is a real world result of being tough on aggressors as opposed to the Obama "safe" approach of just whining about the activity.

The approach of Bolton and other conservatives sets clear limits on what is acceptable as well as clear statements on what can be expected if they ignore our limits.

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