Wall Street Journal article
By former ambassador John Bolton
Mr. Bolton served in the Justice Department and the Agency for International Development under President Reagan and in the State Department under both Presidents Bush.
With America's future at stake in November, I decided to support Mitt Romney for three reasons: his Reaganaut philosophy, executive experience and general-election campaign strengths.
Our country's political focus on economic recovery has allowed President Obama to escape responsibility for his failures in the area of national security. Mr. Obama clearly doesn't recognize that lasting prosperity is impossible without robust foreign and defense policies and capabilities—and, conversely, that the requisite political, military and intelligence resources are not sustainable without a strong economy. Today's textbook example: the president's rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
Mr. Romney fully understands the inextricable prosperity-security linkage, and that America's global adversaries aren't waiting around graciously for our economic recovery. Instead, they see Mr. Obama's weaknesses and are vigorously exploiting them.
The Navy has only 285 ships today, the fewest since World War I, and it is straining to uphold its unique global responsibilities. Our Air Force has only 39 fighter squadrons, fewer than half the number it had two decades ago. And yet the military's missions remain, and the threats grow.
Mr. Romney also fully understands the proliferation threat of ballistic missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. He has taken strong stands on Iran and North Korea, today's two gravest risks, both badly mishandled by Mr. Obama.
And because of global proliferation, Mr. Romney's signature issue has been to build multilayered, national ballistic-missile defenses to protect us—a truly Reaganesque objective. This would constitute another major reversal of Mr. Obama's dangerous worldview, which rests on outdated strategic doctrines and inattention to the grave perils that weapons of mass destructions pose as instruments of terrorism.
Then there's Mr. Romney's executive experience in government and the private sector. The president is CEO of the federal government's executive branch, no small task. And many Republican presidents have seen their agendas broken or impaired by their failures to make the executive departments implement the policy objectives for which they campaigned.
Inert, uncooperative and sometimes openly hostile bureaucracies, plus political appointees who are philosophically sound but all thumbs managerially, only begin the list of hurdles for a president to overcome. One who sees himself responsible only for the White House staff (or not even that) rather than the entire executive branch will soon find himself increasingly irrelevant.
Avoiding such failure requires sustained attention, steadiness, persistence, discipline and especially resolve. These are undramatic attributes, but they are powerfully consequential when well-used and central to a successful presidency. George H.W. Bush had them, especially in national-security matters. Mr. Obama obviously does not.
Mr. Obama's manifold failings underscore the final issue: electability. Competitors and politicos are already endlessly analyzing this question, so I'll make only three brief points.
First, there is an infinitesimally small chance that Mr. Romney will self-destruct in September or October. "No-drama Obama," meet your match. Second, Mr. Romney has the overwhelming lead in endorsements from Republican senators and representatives—the most aware, self-interested community, bar none, regarding our nominee's electability. No propensity there to grandiosity or suicide. Third, Mr. Romney shares one of Reagan's most important and attractive characteristics: being critical without being angry or scornful.
The late uber-Conservative Bill Buckley bequeathed us the right test: Pick the most conservative candidate capable of winning. That is clearly Mitt Romney.