AHS Event with Ambassador John Bolton

We were honored to host a conversation with Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Ambassador John Bolton on October 31, 2018. Before becoming National Security Advisor, Ambassador Bolton served on the Alexander Hamilton Society’s Board of Advisors.

In an expansive conversation with AHS co-founder Daniel Blumenthal of the American Enterprise Institute, Ambassador Bolton addressed national security initiatives ranging from the Trump administration’s cyber security strategy to its withdrawal from the INF treaty, as well as our nation’s relationships with allies and adversaries alike. Throughout the discussion, Ambassador Bolton heartily affirmed his commitment to AHS’ guiding principles, extolling America’s devotion to peace through strength and its championing of freedom around the world. When asked by Dr. Blumenthal on what advice he would give students aspiring to serve in foreign and defense policy, Ambassador Bolton stated: “I think American business is so international that you have a much better opportunity to have a variety of career choices” and that “from the perspective of dealing with all kinds of international issues, the opportunities today are much broader for younger people”.

We greatly appreciate Ambassador Bolton’s commitment to both AHS and to principled American global leadership. AHS student leaders demonstrated that same commitment through their enthusiastic participation in the event. By conversing with distinguished scholars and public servants in the audience, volunteering to assist our staff, and asking perceptive questions of the Ambassador, AHS students helped make this event a major success.

Images and video are courtesy of Tracey Attlee LLC at www.AttleePhotography.com.

In addition to being live streamed by C-SPAN, the event made national and international news with several mentions of the Alexander Hamilton Society.

Please read more about the event and Ambassador Bolton’s remarks below:

National News:

“Trump cuts red tape for launching offensive cyberattacks”

Associated Press | Deb Riechmann | October 31, 2018

“’I think that's critical, because I think that if our adversaries can take steps against us in cyberspace and feel no consequences, feel no pain, bear no costs, they have no incentive to stop attacking us in cyberspace,’ Bolton said at an event in Washington hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society.”

“Bolton Calls National Debt ‘Economic Threat’ to U.S.”

Bloomberg | Toluse Olorunnipa | October 31, 2018

“Bolton, speaking Wednesday at an event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington, said he expects U.S. defense spending “to flatten out” in the near term. He said he didn’t anticipate major cuts to entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security.”

“U.S. Debt Sales Top Crisis-Era Levels as Fiscal Bump Spurs Growth”

Bloomberg | Saleha Mohsin and Liz McCormick | October 31, 2018

“U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton called the national debt a “threat to the society” that requires significant cuts to the government’s discretionary spending. Bolton, speaking Wednesday at an event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington, said he expects U.S. defense spending “to flatten out” in the near term. He said he didn’t anticipate major cuts to entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security.”

“Bolton says ‘excessive’ ethics checks discourage outsiders from joining government”

CNN | Nicole Gaouette | October 31, 2018

“A day after CNN reported that the Justice Department is investigating whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has broken the law by using his office to personally enrich himself, national security adviser John Bolton told the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington that ethics rules make it hard for people outside of the government to serve. Bolton said "things have gotten more bureaucratic, harder to get things done" since he served under President George H.W. Bush in the 1990s and blamed the difficulty, in part, on the "excessive nature of the so-called ethics checks."

“Bolton confirms offensive cyber-operations conducted to protect midterms”

CyberScoop | Greg Otto | November 1, 2018

“’We are right now undertaking offensive cyber-operations in connection with defending the integrity of our electoral process,’ Bolton said at an event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society.”

“Bolton: national debt ‘threat to the society,’ forcing DoD spending to ‘flatten out’”

Defense News | Joe Gould | November 2, 2018

“Bolton, speaking at the Alexander Hamilton Society on Wednesday, said he expects significant cuts to discretionary spending, but not entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security. The comments came as the country’s deficit rose to $779 billion, its highest level in six years, fueled by revenue-sapping tax cuts.”

“Oil tumbles after fears of tighter supply recede”

Financial Times | Myles McCormick and David Sheppard | November 1, 2018

“On top of this, John Bolton, the US president’s national security adviser, appeared in comments to have struck a more conciliatory tone regarding US goals of reducing Iranian oil exports to zero. Mr. Bolton indicated he did not want US allies that are dependent on Iranian crude exports to be hurt by sanctions. 'We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,' Mr. Bolton told the Hamilton Society on Wednesday, adding that some countries 'may not be able to go all the way . . . to zero immediately.'”

“As Deficit Soars, Trump Advisors Focus on Discretionary Spending”

The Fiscal Times | Yuval Rosenberg | November 1, 2018

“National Security Adviser John Bolton, speaking Wednesday at an event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington, warned that the national debt is a societal threat with security implications, but he said that cuts to discretionary spending — the spending determined by Congress each year, which now represents about a third of federal outlays — would be sufficient to address the deficit in the near term.”

“Bolton: ‘Excessive nature of the so-called ethics checks’ discourage people from joining government”

The Hill | Michael Burke | November 1, 2018

“Bolton told the Hamilton Society that it is "harder to get things done" than it was when he served in the administration of George H.W. Bush in the 1990s, something he partially blamed on the "excessive nature of the so-called ethics checks," according to CNN”

“Trump Won’t Punish Allies for Buying Iranian Oil Despite Sanctions”

Jewish Insider | Laura Kelly | October 31, 2018

“'We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either and we’re working our way through that,' Bolton said, addressing a Washington D.C. event hosted by a non-profit society for students focusing on foreign policy and diplomacy ... Bolton made his remarks during a Q&A hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society, which was billed as a reflection on the administration’s national security strategy."

“White House Hints At Easing Of Iran Sanctions For ‘Friends And Allies’”

RadioFreeEurope | November 1, 2018

"We want to achieve maximum pressure, but we don't want to harm friends and allies either," Bolton told the Hamilton Society in Washington on October 31, signaling a possible softening of the White House's demand that all countries reduce their Iranian oil imports to "zero."

“U.S. doesn’t want to harm friends, allies with Iran sanctions: Bolton”

Reuters | Steve Holland | October 31, 2018

“We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,” Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society.”

“Has the U.S. Done Enough to Stop Foreign Election Meddling?”

Time | W.J. Henningan | November 5, 2018

“Trump has also loosened the reins on hackers in the military and intelligence community to pursue adversaries in cyberspace, according to National Security Advisor John Bolton. “We are right now undertaking offensive cyber-operations in connection with defending the integrity of our electoral process,” he said Wednesday at a Washington event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society. He acknowledged it was still “too soon to tell” whether it was having the desired deterrent effect.”

“Bolton Rejects Criticism of Decision to Leave the INF, Says Russia Has Violated Deal for Six Years”

Washington Free Beacon | Natalie Johnson | October 31, 2018

“Speaking at an event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington, Bolton echoed President Trump's assertion that due to Russia's repeated violations the only country bound by the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, is the United States. While considered a critical step in diffusing the Cold War at the time of its signing, Bolton accused Russia and adversaries like China of taking advantage of the deal.”

“Bolton says U.S. is conducting ‘offensive cyber’ action to thwart would-be election disrupters”

The Washington Post | Ellen Nakashima and Paul Sonne | October 31, 2018

“The offensive cyber actions were aimed at “defending the integrity of our electoral process . . . and our adversaries [had] better know that and better understand that,” said Bolton, speaking in Washington at an event sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Society.”

“Bolton: U.S. Formally Withdrawing from Nuclear Treaty in ‘Due Course’”

The Weekly Standard | Jenna Lifhits | October 31, 2018

“In due course here we will give formal notice of withdrawal and material breach, and then we’d be in a position not to comply with the treaty,” Bolton said Wednesday during an event hosted by the Alexander Hamilton Society. “It is beyond question—a view shared by every NATO ally—that Russia is in serious breach.”

International News:

“Rouhani Tells Iranians to Brace for Hard Times”

Asharq Al-Awsat | November 1, 2018

“U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday the Trump administration wants sanctions on Iran's crude exports to strain Tehran, but does not want to harm countries that depend on the oil. "We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don't want to harm friends and allies either," Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society.”

“US Eyes Limited Waivers for Iran Crude Buyers”

Bourse & Bazaar | November 1, 2018

“We understand, obviously, that a number of countries, some immediately surrounding Iran, and others that have been purchasing oil, may not be able to go all the way to zero," Bolton said at a forum hosted by the Washington-based Alexander Hamilton Society. "We want to achieve maximum pressure, but we do not want to harm friends and allies either. We are working our way through that.”

“Iran Accuses Mossad of Trying to Kill Nuclear Deal”

Haaretz | November 1, 2018

“’We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,’ Bolton said Wednesday in a talk at the Hamilton Society.”

“China engaging in behavior that is troubling Japan, India and others: Bolton”

India Times | November 2, 2018

“’China's current policies, like in the South China Sea, are nearly belligerent in many respects. It is also engaging in a behaviour that is troubling to Japan, Taiwan, India and the Central Asian Republics,’ Bolton said in response to a question at the Alexander Hamilton Society on Wednesday.”