R. James Woolsey served in the US Government under two Republican and two Democratic administrations. His accomplishments include serving as the Director of the CIA, Ambassador and Chief Negotiator for the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty in Vienna, and Under Secretary of the Navy. He has served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards.
Currently he speaks publicly and contributes articles to newspapers and other periodicals on such issues as national security, energy, foreign affairs and intelligence.
NewsRealBlog interviewed him for his opinions on these issues.
NewsRealBlog: Do you think we should have the same policy against Iran as we did during the Cold War?
R. James Woolsey: I wish I thought that containment, deterrence, and occasional arms control were a reasonable path but I am afraid it is not. Over the course of the next several months we will have to make extremely difficult choices.
NRB: I read taking out Iran’s nuclear facility would be very difficult. Do you concur?
Woolsey: It will not be the same as when Israel took out the Iraq or Syria nuclear facility. The technology of putting things underground is getting better all the time.
NRB: Do you think Iran is a serious threat?
Woolsey: They have already orbited two satellites. Once you can go into orbit you can come pretty close to hitting something halfway around the world. Iran could be crazy enough to think it’s fine to have a nuclear war.
NRB: So do you think America should have a missile defense program?
Woolsey: The START treaty tilts against a missile defense system. People need to understand there are real threats from not just Russia and the US. Russia feels that by being able to pull out from the treaty they can lean on us. They don’t care if it weakens us against Iran. I think the administration is taking the wrong tact by shutting down the missile defense program in Eastern Europe. I think it is a very dangerous direction.
NRB: Do you agree that we are at war with Islamic extremists?
Woolsey: We are at war with Islamic fanaticism. Whatever department or agency the “office of euphemism” is residing in, that decides we should call terrorism “man caused disasters” or calls terrorists “anger management challenged candidates.” We have a real reluctance to mention the religion of Islam. However, there are parts of the Muslim tradition that have an openness and tolerance about it.