Who Is John Bolton, and will He Repeat His Iraq Mismanagement in Iran?
Donald Trump plans to nominate John Bolton to the second highest position at the State Department. This is disturbing for many reasons.
Who is John Bolton?
- He served in several Republican administrations. Bolton served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 as a recess appointee by President George W. Bush. The Democrats banded together to block his long-term appointment.
- Bolton is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank whose vice president has previously described Trump as “an idiot.”. He open appears as a Fox News Channel commentator.He is involved with a number of politically conservative think tanks and policy institutes.
- Bolton is arguably one of the most disliked foreign policy operators on the world stage, making this potential appointment particularly aggressive for a Trump administration.
- He argues, maybe China or North Korea and not Russia hacked the Democratic Party Headquarters.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 13. Dezember 2016
Here’s the truth about what I said regarding alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. Election: https://t.co/kNbzLRqFMP
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 12. Dezember 2016
2. John Bolton is the biggest proponent of real war with Iran.
He is not simply just against the Iran deal or in favour of sanctions; he explicitly wants a war with Iran and has not been shy about saying so for the past 10 years.
He sees inaction in India, Pakistan and North Korea as the West being guilty of oversight and allowing nuclear proliferation, and does not want the same to happen with Iran. He believes Obama’s actions have “brought a bad situation to the brink of catastrophe”.
“Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure. The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”
Some senior Republicans are already vocally against him:
I am a no on John Bolton for ANY position in the State Departement and will work to defeat his nomination to any post.
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 11, 2016
Bolton has for a long time acted as one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisors. “He’s, you know, a tough cookie, knows what he’s talking about,” Trump said.
“To stop Iran’s bomb, bomb Iran”.
Frightening logic which he called “straightforward”.
Bolton wants Trump to cancel the Iran deal immediately, and then wants the U.S. to announce a policy of regime change in Iran and back the MEK (Mojaheddin e Khalq).
This would not be Bolton’s first foray into war starting. He was deeply involved in the Bush administration’s policy setting when it invaded Iraq, and he told Israeli officials at the time that once the U.S. was successful in Iraq, it must target Iran next.
Bolton said in 2015, “I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct. I think decisions made after that decision were wrong, although I think the worst decision made after that was the 2011 decision to withdraw U.S. and coalition forces.”
It is safe to say that if he is nominated to such a high post, he will inevitably push for war with Iran. In order for this to be stopped, Bolton must first go before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he will face questions on his views on Iran, and if the Committee do not block his nomination, it is up to the Senate where all 48 Democrats and at least 3 Republicans need to vote no in order to block the nomination.
His nomination would be a defining moment for the Trump presidency, potentially shaping foreign policy for decades to come if such a war took place. It is a scary direction.
3. He wants to cut the $3 billion support for the United Nations
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 14. Dezember 2016
4. Bolton thinks the Bush administration and he himself did everything OK in Iraq and the only problem is the withdrawal from the country ordered by president Obama in 2011.
He wrote in The Telegraph July 6, 2016:
“Iraq today suffers not from the 2003 invasion, but from the 2011 withdrawal of all US combat forces.”
This is complete nonsense, as he and his Bush administration paved the way not only for the dominance of Iran in Iraq but the rise of ISIS as well, including these main mistakes:
- No regional concept for the different groups of Sunnis and Kurds, but a central Shia government.The Muslim population of Iraq is approximately Shia 60%-65% and Sunni 32%-37%.
- Pushed oil-rich Shia dominated Iraq into the hands of the Iranian Mullahs, now the central government in Baghdad is Tehran’s best friend.
- The release of all Baath party member and all soldiers, many of them joining the insurgents and ISIS later.
- Not giving the important Kurdish oil city Kirkuk back to the brave pro American Kurds, but leave it open as a bleeding wound and conflict with the Shia.
- Not having an audited wealth funds like in Singapore for the oil income and split the billions fair between the regions.
- No reconciliation plan.
- Bolton and the Bush administration had no concept, no imagination, and no will for the day after the invasion in 2003.
- He and his people mismanaged almost everything after 2003.
- Bolton and his people are responsible for ISIS, the disaster in Iraq and the rise of influence of Iran in this country.
Why was he so wrong, and looks to not to be qualified as deputy of the State Department in 2017?
Some of his descriptions of world problems are valid. Bolton is not a bad character, but the wrong man for the task. The problems arise when you ask him what to do and he must manage.
He seems to be too naive, too simple-minded and too ignorant. He is missing an ‘inner musicality’ needed for a good diplomat (Fritz Kraemer). He is always right and all others wrong, missing any self-criticism. He prefers the hammer and for him each problem is a nail. Bolton cultivates a narrow tunnel-view of the world from Washington not based on local needs in a world of 7,2 billion different people. He misses imagination, creativity, a balanced analysis, just ignores facts he does not like, does not understand that always double strategy of power and diplomacy are needed to be successful (like Harmel 1967, NATOs Two Track Decision 1979). Bolton is fixed on simple war-models and most of all misses management skills and clever master plans of 500 pages for each conflict. He is more a doomsday dreamer, not a maker and no good manager.
We all have to avoid “Provocative Weaknesses” (Fritz Kraemer) and need credible deterrence and defense capabilities to contain the radicals wherever, whenever. Word 3.0 is based on the classical foreign policy of Realpolitik Word 1.0.
But this one important pillar of peace is never enough. We need a second pillar of reconciliation. We need both at the same time: hawk and dove, power and diplomacy.
And we need creative smart master plans.
Meanwhile, the internet laughs at this:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) December 12, 2016