"if Israel is going to use force, it's going to have to be sooner rather than later"

John Bolton last night on Greta Van Susteren’s On the Record:

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it almost looks to me — and I hate to be so grim about this — but that it’s a done deal on nuclear weapons for Iran for the simple reason that the country that is most interested in getting rid of those nuclear weapons capability is Israel. And now with this test today or test yesterday, is that if Israel attempts to take out those nuclear facilities, that Iran says that they will use these new missiles and go right back at Israel, and that just starts it — I mean, I — I don’t even need to — I mean, you (INAUDIBLE) imagination of what’s going to happen at that point.

BOLTON: Well, but I think from the perspective of Israel looking at this test, if you don’t like Iran having a ballistic missile capability that can deliver conventional weapons on targets in Israel, imagine how much worse is to have an Iran with nuclear weapons.

So I think this sharpens the decision point for the Israelis. I think it emphasizes that if they are going to use force against the Iran’s nuclear program, the window of time that they have to do that is decreasing dramatically. So I think if Israel is going to use force, it’s going to have to be sooner rather than later.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, if nothing is done, then is — it seems pretty plain Iran will have nuclear weapons, if nothing is done. If something is done — and I mean, I guess we can increase sanctions. That’s something else we could continue to try to do. But if something is done from military standpoint by Israel, that means that that engages everybody in the region, or certainly Iran. What do you foresee as sort of the likely — how is this going to play out, in your mind?

BOLTON: I think the most likely outcome is that Iran gets nuclear weapons. I think that’s the direction we’ve been pointed in not just in the Obama administration but in the Bush administration. These negotiations, which have now lasted close to seven years, have done nothing except given Iran seven more years to develop its weapons. And I think that is where we’re going to end up.

And I think what’s becoming more clear from the Obama administration is that people in the White House, people in the State Department are more and more reconciled to Iran having nuclear weapons. They don’t like that, but they don’t think it’ll be the end of the world. They think Iran can be contained and deterred from using the weapons, as we contained and deterred the Soviet Union.

I happen to think that calculation is badly wrong, among other reasons because it doesn’t stop with Iran. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, others will get nuclear weapons if they see Iran with that capability. But I think underlying a lot of this is the view in the administration that we can live with an Iran with nuclear weapons. As I say, I think that’s a mistake, but I think that’s really where they’re coming out, maybe not Secretary of State Clinton, but I think that’s where the weight of opinion seems to be going, and that’s bad news.

Crossposted(*).

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