In case you were wondering how Fox News was going to use the missing Malaysian airplane mystery against President Obama, Fox’s John Bolton shot what I believe was the first salvo of exploitation yesterday. According to Bolton, Obama should toss aside international protocol and muscle his way in, diplomatic relations be damned. Why the U.S. ought to do that was much less clear.
The segment, on yesterday’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, began with host Jeanine Pirro framing the discussion as, “Should the United States be taking the lead on this missing airliner?”
Considering Bolton’s record, you could guess what would be coming. Bolton is a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, he overtly disdains diplomacy as a sign of weakness and routinely blames foreign policy problems on President Obama’s “weakness” or lack of “seriousness.” But neither Bolton’s presidential ambitions nor his biases were presented to the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers.
After introducing Bolton, Pirro handed him his opportunity to attack Obama with her first question: “You just heard Congressman Peter King saying that America needs to be more involved in this (investigation) …But is there an international protocol that allows us to go in?
Bolton seized the moment:
No, there’s not. And that’s really why it requires leadership out of Washington. We’re in the 10th day now of this, this mystery. No trace of the plane at all. And yet, at top levels of the U.S. government we’ve approached this in a very laid-back fashion. I think at the working level, they’ve probably got a lot of information and thoughts. But if we’re not, sort of, putting our foot in the door in Malaysia and elsewhere, we’re not gonna be able to bring to bear the capabilities we have.
This isn’t necessarily gonna make us friends in Malaysia or China or other countries but if we don’t find a way to get more heavily involved, I’m afraid a lot of this data is simply never gonna be recovered.
Pirro claimed she didn’t want to get into “the politics of what’s going on in this country, with the president and how the world looks at us now.” But, she asked, “As Americans go, travel more and more around the world, can they actually feel safe? …Isn’t this an example of America not getting involved unless we’re invited?”
Once again, Bolton grabbed at a chance to politically grandstand:
I think that’s a real problem and I think this is one of these cases where you don’t wait for the phone call but you show up at the various points where we need to be involved and just stand outside the door until it opens and then walk in and say, “We’re here to help.”
We’ve got to look at what the different governments involved have at stake here because their interests are not – as we would see it in the United States – simply to find out what happened as soon as possible.
As he spoke a banner on the screen read, “DID INTERNATIONAL POLITICS SLOW DOWN MISSING FLIGHT INVESTIGATION?”
So what vital interest is at stake that should motivate the U.S. to violate international protocol, bully and antagonize other countries smack dab in the middle of an international crisis where we’re complaining about Russia violating Ukraine's sovereignty?
Well, Pirro never asked. But Bolton suggested we should do so on behalf of corporate interests:
Until they get this cleared up and can point the finger at somebody else, a lot of foreigners are going to find ways to avoid flying on Malaysian airlines. So if there were problems with these pilots, both Malaysian airlines and the government are not gonna be in a hurry to share that information. …The Malaysian government has a lot to answer for here and Boeing and other private sector that have an interest because it’s a Boeing plane are not gonna be able to shoehorn the Malaysian government the way – really, only the U.S. government can.