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Tag Archives: John Bolton

Bolton Bashes Trump

Not very classy. Even if you’re fired, you served the country and the president, at his pleasure.

It’s just this kind of self-regard that got John Bolton fired as national security advisor in the first place.

From the Washington Examiner:

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton slammed President Trump in front of a private audience, roughly eight days since being ousted from the White House.

Appearing in New York City at a conservative think tank lunch event on Wednesday, Bolton took shots at his former boss’s foreign policy decisions.

He said Trump’s invitation to Taliban leaders to meet at Camp David days before before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks sent a “terrible signal” and was “disrespectful” to the victims because the group provided sanctuary to al Qaeda, according to Politico.

That meeting was canceled and Trump declared negotiations over an American withdrawal from Afghanistan “dead” after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a bombing in Kabul killed an American soldier and others.

Bolton brought up Iran and North Korea, saying any attempts to negotiate with them were “doomed to failure.” He also complained that a scrapped military response to Iran after it shot down a U.S. drone in June emboldened Tehran to go through with weekend drone attacks on the Saudi oil industry.

Trump Says He Has Fired John Bolton

President Trump today said he had fired National Security Advisor John Bolton. By the tone of Trump’s tweet, this was not a happy parting. I imagine Bolton, who is a hothead, probably went too far.

Bolton had a slightly different take on how it went down.

Trump Wary of Being Dragged Into a War

President Trump has some aides, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, who are hawkish. He has others, including many in the Pentagon, who favor diplomacy.

This gets described negatively in the press as a “divide within the administration.” What it actually amounts to is having a range of opinions in your administration and then making a decision.

If this were Obama, the press would be appreciatively calling it, “Team of Rivals.”

Anyway, Trump is wary of the hawks. Which is a good idea. The policy of putting the economic screws on Iran but trying to avoid war is a good one, because we have to find a way to get rid of their nuclear program. It may take war, eventually. But we should not overreact when they, naturally, respond to the economic pain and the threat to their regime.

According to the Washington Post:

The Trump administration has been on high alert in response to what military and intelligence officials have deemed specific and credible threats from Iran against U.S. personnel in the Middle East.

But President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran’s leaders.

Disagreements over assessing and responding to the recent intelligence — which includes a directive from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that some American officials interpret as a threat to U.S. personnel in the Middle East — are also fraying alliances with foreign allies, according to multiple officials in the United States and Europe.

Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking, said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations Trump had regarding national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed,” the official said. “There was a scramble for Bolton and Pompeo and others to get on the same page.”

Bolton, who advocated regime change in Iran before joining the White House last year, is “just in a different place” from Trump, although the president has been a fierce critic of Iran since long before he hired Bolton. Trump “wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal” and is open to negotiation with the Iranian government, the official said.

Trump Says He Would Send Many More Than 200K Troops to Confront Iran

I’m pretty sure National Security Advisor John Bolton wants to have a war with someone. I’m just not sure yet if it’s with Iran, North Korea, or Venezuela. Or a country to be names later.

According to the Washington Examiner:

President Trump acknowledged on Tuesday that he would consider sending 120,000 troops, or more, to the Middle East to deal with Iran, even as he called the report “fake news.”

“Would I do that? Absolutely,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we would send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”

The president also blasted the New York Times, which revealed that the White House was considering such a move and that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan unveiled a plan last week which would send the 120,000 troops to the Middle East.

“I think it’s just – where was that story, in the New York Times? Well the New York Times is fake news,” Trump said. The move would come as a response to a possible attack by Iran on U.S. forces, or an acceleration of Iran’s nuclear weapons development.

Trump Gets Frustrated with John Bolton’s Interventionism

Seems like maybe President Trump is not going to let himself get dragged by Neocons into a war in Venezuela.

According to the Washington Post:

President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.

The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.

Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war” — a comment that he has made in jest in the past but that now betrays his more serious concerns, one senior administration official said.

The administration’s policy is officially unchanged in the wake of a fizzled power play last week by U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó. But U.S. officials have since been more cautious in their predictions of Maduro’s swift exit, while reassessing what one official described as the likelihood of a diplomatic “long haul.”

Bolton Threatening to Go to War With Two Countries Now

Is National Security Advisor Josh Bolton itching to have a grand war of some kind?

He’s saber rattling Venezuela, which is a big mistake, because China and Russia are just salivating at the chance to keep us tied down there for years should we attack.

Last night in a statement, Bolton threatened war with Iran too. Of course, by saying he wasn’t threatening war:

The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.

I’m not sure what this is based on. Maybe there is valid reason for concern. And Bolton is refreshingly hard headed about certain threats, including that from North Korea.

But I just wonder if this Neocon isn’t eager for some kind of conflict and is getting set to drag President Trump into one.

Bad Idea Developing: Trump Administration Vows Military Action to Help Guaido

So this Venezuela thing is starting to move toward a point of no return as President Trump’s own advisors seek to box him in and force military action in Venezuela.

Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton made statements Wednesday that put U.S. credibility on the line, saying military force would be used if necessary. They both went beyond the “all options are on the table” formulation they previously have been using.

According to the Washington Post:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that a peaceful resolution was still desired but that “military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do,” he told Fox Business Network.

Asked if the U.S. military would be used to protect Guaidó, White House national security adviser John Bolton told MSNBC that President Trump “has been clear and concise on this point: All options are open. We want a peaceful transfer of power. But we are not going to see Guaidó mistreated by this regime.”

This is what’s known in technical, foreign policy language as a BAD IDEA. Venezuela is a problem, but the U.S. military is already over-extended with obligations and the need to be ready to face true enemies like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and various Islamists. WE HAVE TO CHOOSE OUR FIGHTS. Great nations of the past have fallen when they tried to do too much.

The military, and Trump, are unconvinced they we need to send in troops. But they are being dragged into a conflict, and Trump needs to rein in Pompeo and Bolton if he doesn’t want to invade Venezuela.

Top Pentagon officials emphasized nonmilitary options and said they had not been given orders to pre-position troops or prepare for conflict. “We’re obviously watching the situation very closely in Venezuela. The president’s made it clear that all options are on the table,” Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in congressional testimony. “To date, most of our actions have been diplomatic and economic.”

Trump has shown little willingness to plunge into Venezuela, according to current and former aides, although he has already imposed sanctions on Cuba — which the administration has accused of controlling the Venezuelan military — and threatened more. Russia, the White House said in a statement late Wednesday, “must leave” Venezuela “and renounce their support of the Maduro regime.”

The president has occasionally mused to others that Bolton wants to get him into wars. Two advisers who have discussed Venezuela with him said Trump often brings up Florida politics, and his golf club in Doral, when talking about the subject. Both said Trump was unlikely to authorize any sort of long-term military action there.

At the same time, however, aides said he has given Bolton wide purview over Venezuela.

As he has pushed for a more aggressive policy, Bolton has angered some within and outside the White House. Even before Tuesday’s events, his staff clashed with Gen. Paul Selva, Dunford’s vice chairman, during a meeting to address the ongoing Venezuelan crisis, according to several officials with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump has to make some decisions. Once we get into Venezuela, the extent to which we will have to escalate is completely unpredictable. China and Russia will be all too happy to bog us down there.

The situation is tragic, but we cannot save everyone. The Venezuelans chose the people who now oppress them. Socialism has repeatedly been shown to lead to tragedy, despite what some leading Democratic presidential hopefuls are telling you.

Of course, still, the Venezuelans don’t deserve this fate. But we, and our brave young men and women, don’t deserve to be pulled into it either.

Bolton and Kelly Get in Profanity-Laced Shouting Match Over Immigration

Both CNN and Bloomberg are reporting that National Security Advisor John Bolton and White House Cheif of Staff John Kelly got into a verbal brawl over the continued influx of illegal immigrants into the country.

According to CNN:

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match Thursday, two sources familiar with the argument told CNN.

The exchange lay bare a bitter disagreement that has existed between two of President Donald Trump’s top aides for weeks now.

Trump, who was incensed about the rising levels of migrants and threatened to shut down the southern border on Twitter earlier that morning, took Bolton’s side during the argument. Bolton favors a harder line approach to the issue and criticized Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the argument, a source said. Nielsen used to serve as Kelly’s deputy when he ran DHS. Bolton reportedly said Nielsen needed to start doing her job, which incensed Kelly.

The President, who sources say was present for the beginning of the shouting match, later denied knowledge of it.

“I’ve not heard about it. No,” Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One to fly to Montana on Thursday afternoon.

There was some concern within the White House, according to Bloomberg, that one of the two might resign.

That would more likely be Kelly, who has a long list of grievances. I would imagine Kelly will be gone by the end of the year in any case.

Trump on Kim Meeting: “I Don’t Think I Have to Prepare Very Much”

Rut Roh. “I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much.” Politico is reporting that President Trump is already sick of National Security Advisor John Bolton, at least about half the time, and that they are not holding the kind of interagency meetings that would normally proceed such a… Continue Reading

John Bolton Replaces H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor

In a momentous decision that will steer President Trump’s foreign policy toward a much harder line versus our enemies, Trump today said he is replacing National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with George W. Bush-era UN Ambassador John Bolton. Trump announced the move via Twitter. I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be… Continue Reading