John Bolton: Obama 'Living in a Dream World' If He Thinks We Are Stopping ISIL's Advance

By Susan Jones | January 21, 2015 | 7:22am EST

This file image posted on a militant Web site on Jan. 7, 2014, shows a convoy of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria vehicles and fighters. (AP Photo, File)

( - President Obama is "living in a dream world" if he believes the U.S. is "stopping ISIL's advance" in Iraq and Syria, says former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama said: "In Iraq and Syria, American leadership -- including our military power -- is stopping ISIL's advance.  Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism."

Obama said the effort "will take time" and "require focus."

"But we will succeed," Obama insisted. He then asked Congress to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force against ISIS/ISIL. "We need that authority," Obama added.

President Obama spoke on the same day that Islamic State terrorists released a video threatening to kill two Japanese hostages within 72 hours, unless Japan pays a $200 million ransom.

That just "shows how bad things are," Bolton told Fox News Tuesday night. "I think they have picked on Japan because of its dependence on Middle East oil, the belief they can split Japan off from the international coalition. And, I think, because they see no strategy by the United States to deal with them.

"I think the ISIS threat is growing," Bolton continued. "They have consolidated control over the territory. They have seized, going back a year now, a year since they took Fallujah, seven months since they took Mosul. And they see weakness on the American side. They think it's winning support among colleagues in the region."

Bolton disagreed with Obama's assertion that the U.S.-led coalition is stopping ISIL's advance with air strikes.

"No," he said. "The president is living in a dream world. The fact is, we have no effective way of containing ISIS."

Bolton said terrorist groups in North Africa, the Middle East, and as far away as Afghanistan and Pakistan are beginning to declare loyalty to ISIS.

"I think moderate Arab regimes in the region, the king of Jordan, the oil-producing monarchies of the Iranians Peninsula, are in fear of what ISIS will do. The president's notion that we have got opportunities is belied by the continued Iranian progress towards a deliverable nuclear weapons capability. The Middle East is descending into chaos and we are watching."

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told MSNBC on Wednesday morning that Obama "is living in a make-believe world when it comes to our national security."

Cotton, like Bolton, disagrees that the U.S.-led coalition is stopping ISIS/ISIL's advance: "That's simply not the case," Cotton told "Morning Joe." "We may have arrested their progress somewhat in Iraq, but you don't win the war on defense -- you win on offense."

Cotton also mentioned Yemen, cited by Obama just four months ago as an example of a successful counter-terrorism strategy. But Yemen's government is now dealing with an apparently successful coup attempt.

Cotton said the fight against ISIS requires more military might: There should be a lot more bombing runs being conducted; we need to have forward air controllers ont the ground to make this boming more effective; and if our generals or admirals say that we need special operations forces on the ground to supplement--

"So we should be at war right now?" host Mika Brzezinski interrupted.

"Well, the Islamic State has declared war on us...the choice is whether we win or we lose the war, and right now, we're losing the war, because we're stuck on defense," Cotton responded.

Speaking to Fox News Tuesday night, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said the U.S. needs "a better strategy" for dealing with ISIS/ISIL.

"I see a failed strategy now, if there is one. And I think by going to the Congress and asking for the authority to use force, instead of relying on the previous authority that has nothing to do with what's happening today. I think we can have that debate and discussion and we will end up with a better strategy.


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