The simple truth about John Bolton’s appointment to national security adviser is that the Republicans need Sheldon Adelson’s money in order to be competitive in the coming midterms, and John Bolton is a tool of Sheldon Adelson.
The appointment of course is a complete reversal of Donald Trump’s declaration during the campaign that the Iraq war – which Bolton pushed and still thinks is a great idea – was the biggest mistake ever, and he was against it from jump.
But Adelson was Trump’s biggest donor during the 2016 campaign, and Trump needs Sheldon Adelson’s money to keep Congress from flipping and cutting his throat.
It’s little wonder that any Republican with political ambition was quick to extol John Bolton. Politico reported in February that many of those “desperate” Republicans were trekking to Las Vegas and “gushing” over Adelson because they need him “more than ever” to try and hold on to the House this year.
Confronting the potential loss of one or both chambers of Congress in the midterms, and struggling to raise money against an energized Democratic base, the party is desperate for Adelson’s millions….
That Politico article mentioned Israel only once, to say Adelson couldn’t attend the shindig because he was in Israel. It never mentioned Iran, either.
But Israel is all that Adelson cares about. Yes he’s pro-choice and socially-liberal, but Adelson supports rightwing Republicans because he is an extremist on Israel. He has been pushing for One Jerusalem and an end to the peace process for 20 years– and Trump duly rewarded his biggest donor by moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Adelson has pushed for the U.S. to bomb Iran. Bolton has pushed for the U.S. to bomb Iran.
Michael Wolff said it was all coming back in December 2016. From a dinner party relayed in his book, Fire and Fury:
Bannon plunged on with the Trump agenda. “Day one we’re moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s all-in. Sheldon” — Adelson, the casino billionaire and far-right Israel defender — “is all-in. We know where we’re heading on this … Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying.”
That’s just what Bolton says too. Give the West Bank to Jordan, Gaza to Egypt.
The mainstream media have whitewashed Adelson’s agenda, and Bolton’s role as ventriloquist’s dummy. It’s not that they like Bolton, but they leave out the obvious connections to other powers.
This analysis of Bolton and Trump’s foreign policy, by David Sanger in the Times, says that it’s now inevitable that Trump will leave the Iran deal, but it says nothing about Adelson or Israel. MSNBC hosts also ignored the Adelson angle, in a long roundtable dsecribing Bolton as a fearful choice. Chris Hayes was strong against Bolton’s Islamophobia, but he will not touch the Israel lobby angle. On Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, Wendy Sherman warns about a possible “nuclear war” with Iran– and she then says the Bolton pick is an effort by Trump “to keep his base, to try to win reelection.” That’s pure disinformation. The base doesn’t want war, Adelson does.
Oh and Rachel Maddow wants to talk about Russia. Russia has corrupted John Bolton.
This article in the Times cites Senators Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham cheering the appointment, but it would never bring up the Israel lobby’s role in Rubio and Cotton’s political careers. Cotton only got into the Senate with help from Adelson, and $1 million from the Emergency Committee for Israel. Rubio’s career was boosted by Norman Braman, whose big worry is that Israel won’t be around in 50 years.
The only place you will hear about Trump’s placating Adelson with the Bolton pick are on Lobelog and the American Conservative and Democracy Now!
At Lobelog, Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton say bluntly, the choice satisfied Trump’s biggest donor. “Adelson, a huge supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, likely played a critical role in Bolton’s ascendancy.”
At The American Conservative, Gareth Porter says that Trump’s biggest donor scripted lines in his militaristic speech to the UN last October, using Bolton as a go-between.
More than anyone else inside or outside the Trump administration, Bolton has already influenced Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Bolton parlayed his connection with the primary financier behind both Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump himself—the militantly Zionist casino magnate Sheldon Adelson—to get Trump’s ear last October, just as the president was preparing to announce his policy on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He spoke with Trump by phone from Las Vegas after meeting with Adelson.
It was Bolton who persuaded Trump to commit to specific language pledging to pull out of the JCPOA if Congress and America’s European allies did not go along with demands for major changes that were clearly calculated to ensure the deal would fall apart….
There was a time when The New York Times was frank about the Adelson connection: when Bolton was under consideration for deputy secretary of state in December 2016.
[H]e enjoys a powerful ally in Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican megadonor who favors the kind of hard-nosed posture that Mr. Bolton would bring.
Mr. Adelson’s backing has gone an especially long way with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is expected to take on an important but still undetermined role in the new administration.
But only leftwing and realist sites want to connect the dots today. The question is Why? Why won’t you see Adelson exposed as a pro-choice Israel firster who has caused Trump to flipflop on his antiwar position of the campaign? Because unlike the NRA, which any liberal Democrat proudly runs against (New Jersey governor Murphy, Jan Schakowsky , John Yarmuth), the Israel lobby is still very bipartisan. Adelson is not so different from Haim Saban on the Democratic side. They both are ardent Zionists; they both hate the boycott movement. Only Adelson buys Republicans and Saban buys Democrats.
The liberal media can’t talk about Israel as a driver of our foreign policy because their own executives love Israel. David Cohen threw fundraisers for the Israeli army. Now he runs Comcast, which owns NBC. Gary Ginsberg wrote speeches for Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s a high executive at Time Warner. If these guys were working for Russians, just think of the outrage. But it’s Israel. So it’s considered impolite, or coarse, or prejudicial, to mention these connections. Though the evidence is staring us in the eyes, just 12 years after The Israel Lobby was published. Remember that Barack Obama was accused of anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs when in fighting for the Iran deal in 2015, he dared say that only one country in the world was against the Iran deal, Israel, but it would be an abrogation of his constitutional duty to think about Israel’s interest.
Now the deal is about to be rubbished by a party that is beholden to Sheldon Adelson, who has said he would rather have served in the Israeli army than the American one, and that influence can only be discussed in the margins.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Lobe and Clifton warn about a war with Iran.
Adelson got his wish to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but he still hasn’t succeeded in pushing the U.S. into a military confrontation with Iran. Trump and the GOP’s biggest donor may now have installed their man in what is perhaps the most powerful foreign-policy position in the U.S. government, besides the presidency itself. As a result, the likelihood of a new U.S. war of choice in the Middle East has risen dramatically.
Col. Larry Wilkerson, who regrets his role in paving the way for the Iraq war, warns that Israel and the neocons are trying to suck us into a war with Iran, and that analysis doesn’t get reported. Wilkerson is invited on to MSNBC, but not to talk about Israel’s influence.
When he was running, Trump was sharp about Adelson’s money’s influence. He said that he would make Marco Rubio into “his perfect little puppet.”
But Trump needs Adelson’s money, so who’s the puppet now?
P.S. The neoconservatives are all scrambling, trying to distance themselves from Bolton. David Brooks said he’s not a neoconservative, he’s an American nationalist. Josh Rogin says it. So does Bill Kristol, though he’s a friend of Bolton’s and has been publishing him for years. From a Krisrol podcast:
[Bolton is] less interested [than neoconservatives] in democracy promotion abroad. More of a national interest first kind of guy, a little closer to Trump in that respect… John believes in a strong foreign policy, an internationalist foreign policy to be fair, a strong believer in our alliances, a strong believer in our friendship with Israel….but a little less interested as I say in the moral side, or the human rights side of foreign policy and more in the Let’s be tough for America, let’s not let international law constrain us too much.
There are three reasons neocons are saying this. First, they are moving over to Democrats now, in opposition to Trump, whose nationalism scares them (as it does many Jews). They don’t need Adelson’s money to get ahead, they have other, less-crazed pro-Israel funders. Third, they know Bolton and he genuinely scares them. Even Kristol says Bolton makes him “nervous.” (But as Dylan Williams of J Street says, the difference between neocons and conservative hawks is “a distinction without a difference.”)