CNN anchor Jim Sciutto parrots John Bolton’s talking points for a permanent U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan

CNN anchor and chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto demonstrated on Tuesday morning a top example of mainstream media’s reliance on former George W. Bush administration officials to comment on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Speaking to longtime warmonger John Bolton, Sciutto repeatedly backed up his guest’s talking points for a permanent U.S. military presence in Afghanistan — and even added a talking point of his own.

On Tuesday’s edition of CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, the co-anchor endorsed Bolton’s claim that a permanent occupation in Afghanistan would be similar to having U.S. troops stationed in Germany and Japan ever since the end of World War II and the start of the Cold War.

A crucial difference, however, is that the U.S. has stationed troops in such places as Germany, Japan, and South Korea in order to deter an attack by an enemy power from actually happening. By contrast, U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan had been engaged in an ongoing civil war for nearly 20 years.

The talking point came up in the context of discussing Bolton’s service as national security adviser under former President Donald Trump, during which time he opposed negotiations with the Taliban for the U.S. pullout.

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Citation From the August 17, 2021, edition of CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

JOHN BOLTON (FORMER BUSH AND TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL): Well, I think what we were pleading with [Trump] to do was not pull the Americans out, but I also think it’s part of the mistakes made over 20 years. People keep saying, “Just give us another year, just give us another two years.” I think the Americans have to understand we would be there for a long time. And properly explained, I think the American public would be ready for that. We stood in Germany and Japan for 45 years after the end of World War II, in order to defeat —


BOLTON: — the Soviet Union — 30 years, we're still there. So, I think the American people understand a long overseas presence can be in our national interest, if their leaders step up to it.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, I remember a conversation with Gen. [Stanley] McChrystal in Afghanistan years ago, who cited that very fact, that the U.S. is still in Germany, and that America can make a case to do the same in Afghanistan.

SCIUTTO: I got nervous about Taiwan, the moment I watched these events unfold in Afghanistan. Because of course, China, Russia, other countries watch what the U.S. does and say, “Hey, wait a second, what would they do if I did X?” Are you concerned that a country such as China says, “Well, if they’re going to pull out of Afghanistan, there's no way they're defending Taiwan?”

BOLTON: Well, I think it raises that question in a lot of minds with respect to Taiwan, with respect to Ukraine, what's happening in Belarus right now, in many countries around the world. I think in Moscow and Beijing, they're saying to themselves, “This is a huge opportunity for us.” I think in Iran, in North Korea, they're saying, “We just can't wait to negotiate with the Biden administration.”

Sciutto’s concern for Taiwan, which he had expressed earlier in a tweet on Tuesday morning, was also similar to comments by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) in a Fox News Radio interview on Monday.

“How do you think people in Taiwan feel?” said Cheney, a former State Department official in the Bush administration, during which her father was also vice president. “How do you think people in Ukraine feel watching these scenes thinking, well, can we count on America?

Also, in a now-deleted tweet from Monday night, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claimed that there were currently 30,000 American troops stationed in Taiwan — something that has not been true for over 40 years. (An official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party published a bellicose editorial in response to Cornyn’s tweet, threatening to “destroy and expel US troops in Taiwan by military means, and at the same time realize reunification by force.”)

Following his interview on Tuesday, Sciutto also tweeted quotes from Bolton opposing the pullout, with all capital letters for emphasis:

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