John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, expressed his belief this week that defense spending should be insulated from the likely wave of budget cuts spurred by a new era of GOP leadership next Congress.
"I think you've got to be just as much on the outlook for waste and fraud in defense spending as anywhere else, but the fact is we're entering a very uncertain period in the world. We've got a lot of threats out there that we're not ready for. Not just nuclear proliferation, but chemical and biological weapons," Bolton said on Fox Business, before explaining a variety of threats that he considered pertinent. "This is not the time to cut back. I understand there's a lot of pressure to get deficits down. I'm all in favor of it. But national security comes first, pure and simple, as far as I'm concerned."
While it is a commonly held belief amongst Republicans that "runaway spending" in Washington needs to be addressed, many have hesitated to call for this new focus to be extended toward the Pentagon. Last month, however, many conservatives announced that everything, including defense, should be on the table when it comes to seeking a smaller budget.
GOP senators such as Tom Coburn have also argued that the "sacred cow" of defense spending can no longer be seen as an untouchable budget area, much to the chagrin of his Senate colleague John McCain.
Senate newcomer Rand Paul has also said that the GOP must be willing to consider military spending cuts.
While many potential Republican presidential candidates haven't yet staked a position on the issue of draining funds from particularly contentious areas of the budget, Bolton already appears to have company in Sarah Palin when it comes to the view that defense spending should be sacrosanct.
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