The appointment of John Bolton to be Donald Trump’s national security adviser represents the neoconservative restoration, firmly ending the chapter in which Trump claimed to be a non-interventionist. Even Never-Trump neocons are happy today. The intemperate and Islamophobic Bolton is fiercely opposed to the Iran Deal, is militantly opposed to Russian influence in the Middle East, has called for declaring war against Iran and North Korea, and has pronounced the two-state solution dead.
Many today fear that Trump will give us another war. Senator Ed Markey:
John Bolton supports proactively bombing Iran and conducting a first strike on North Korea without provocation. Appointing him to be Nat Sec Advisor is a grave danger to the American people and a clear message from
@realDonaldTrump that he is gearing up for military conflict.
Bolton is surely realistic in stating the end of the two-state solution. Though his solution to the Israel Palestine conflict is not. It is for pieces of the West Bank to be deeded to Jordan and Gaza to be deeded to Egypt, on the theory that Palestine is “bits and pieces” of the former Ottoman Empire. Neither Egypt or Jordan has accepted such a proposal; and of course Palestinians have said such an outcome is out of the question.
He wrote in the Hill in January as part of his application process for this job:
Once it becomes clear the two-state solution is finally dead, Jordan should again be asked to exercise control over suitably delineated portions of the West Bank and have the monarchy’s religious role for holy sites like the Temple Mount reaffirmed. Accepting Jordan’s sovereignty would actually benefit Palestinians, as would Egyptian sovereignty over Gaza, by tying these areas into viable, functioning states, not to the illusion of “Palestine.”
Al Jazeera reports further on Bolton’s views of Israel and Palestine. Pro-Israel all the way.
After former president Barack Obama allowed passage of a UN Security Council resolution in December 2016 that condemned Israeli settlements, Bolton said Obama “stabbed Israel in the front” and that the measure was “clearly intended to tip the peace process toward the Palestinians”.
He said then that the two-state solution is over, per Al Jazeera.
“Just as a matter of empirical reality, the two-state solution is dead,” Bolton told far-right Breitbart News Radio at the time. “That’s about the only thing John Kerry came close to getting right.”
It is simply not realistic to insist on two states. For one thing, Israel cannot accept indefensible borders it would have with a Palestinian state alongside it:
“As long as Washington’s diplomatic objective is the ‘two-state solution’ – Israel and ‘Palestine’ – the fundamental contradiction between this aspiration and the reality on the ground will ensure it never comes into being.”
“Bolton is an unabashed advocate for the premature, unnecessary and reckless use of military force in the Middle East and around the globe. This appointment isn’t just unwise. It’s disastrous.”
Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, supporters of the Iran Deal, tweeted, “This is the moment the administration has officially gone off the rails.” Though he notes the broad opposition to Bolton (including from Richard Haass of Council on Foreign Relations).
“The most encouraging aspect of this dangerous moment is the broad, energized reaction. As Trump constructs his War Cabinet, the resistance emerges, unites.”
Senator Jeff Merkley:
John Bolton: Wanted war w Cuba, arguing wrongly that Cuba had WMD Wanted war w Iraq, arguing – wrong again – that Iraq had WMD Believes – wrongly – that Islamic law is taking over America If you’re always wrong on security, you’re the wrong person to be National Security Advisor
Lobelog republishes Greg Thielmann’s article detailing Bolton’s role as a “prime mover of the Iraq WMD fiasco.” The site notes that the appointment is a complete reversal of Donald Trump’s anti-war stance during his campaign.
[Bolton’s elevation enhances the] steadily increasing prospects for the U.S. becoming involved in yet another armed conflict in the Middle East or elsewhere.The president-elect who repeatedly taunted his Democratic opponent for supporting the Iraq invasion and whose transition team recently dismissed a CIA assessment by noting, “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” is reportedly considering John Bolton to be deputy secretary of state. Bolton is, of course, one of these “same people.” If Donald Trump chooses to nominate a prime mover of the Iraq WMD fiasco for a key State Department position, he will really outdo himself in converting the ironic into dark comedy
Matthew Waxman, a professor of law at Columbia who served in the White House, says that what makes Bolton “dangerous” is his gifts as a wily administrative player.
Yes, Bolton is militantly aggressive about wielding American military and economic power. But what I saw in him also was an operator who was relentlessly effective in implementing—or stymying—policy, at least in the short term.
Bolton’s record of Islamophobia is also undeniable. He is head of an “Institute” that just yesterday said that Great Britain has become an “Islamist colony” because of its alleged failures to take on Sharia law, and has said that American neighborhoods with Muslim majorities in major cities are closed to non-Muslims.
The Council on America-Islamic Relations blasts the appointment of “a notorious Islamophobe who as a history of ties to anti-Muslim extremists and organizations.”
“We urge Americans across the political spectrum to speak out against the appointment of John Bolton as White House National Security Adviser because of his ties to anti-Muslim bigots and his promotion of extremist views that will inevitably harm our nation and that could lead to unnecessary and counterproductive international conflicts,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Bolton is the last person who should be entrusted with this critically-important position, which requires sound judgment and a fact-based approach to national security matters.”
Bolton has long been associated with anti-Muslim extremists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. He’s pictured frolicking with Geller.
John Bolton is a senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a right-wing “pro-Israel” activist group that has been accused of fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment. A longtime national security hawk, Bolton is a former board member of the Project for the New American Century and a past adviser to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, and other right-wing media outlets…
Some more of the Israel advocacy, from Rightweb:
Bolton was mentioned in an April 2015 New York Times piece that examined why Republicans are “more fervently pro-Israel than ever.” The article linked such sentiment to being “partly a result of ideology, but also a product of a surge in donations and campaign spending on their behalf by a small group of wealthy donors.” The piece revealed how Bolton’s PAC is partly financed by “major pro-Israel donors” like Irving Moskowitz and that it “spent at least $825,000” to support the successful 2014 Senate bid of Tom Cotton (R-AL)….
In a March 2015 op-ed for The New York Times, published just before Iran and the P5+1 reached a political framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, Bolton explicitly called for military strikes against Iran. Titled, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” Bolton’s op-ed claimed that, “President Obama’s approach on Iran has brought a bad situation to the brink of catastrophe.”…
Bolton has fervently criticized the Obama administration for seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, Bolton has echoed the arguments of some Israeli nationalists that the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza—which he called “bits and pieces of the collapsed Ottoman Empire” with “no particular history either of national identity or of economic interdependence”—should be ceded respectively to Jordan and Egypt rather than incorporated into an independent Palestinian territory.
Bolton met with an Israeli prime minister before the Iraq invasion in 2003, when he was as an under secretary of state in the Bush administration, Rightweb reports.
Two months before the Iraq invasion, Bolton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to discuss strategies for “preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction,” focusing on the Bush administration’s disarmament targets following the planned invasion of Iraq. Shortly after the visit, Bolton said once regime change in Iraq is complete, “It will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran, and North Korea.”
He later became one of the most divisive UN ambassadors ever. Though Nikki Haley has given him a run for the money. Again, note the contacts with Israel:
During his first confirmation hearings, Bolton’s record as undersecretary of state came under intense criticism, particularly regarding his contacts with Israel. According to The Forward and other news sources, Bolton had met with officials of Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, without first seeking “country clearance” from the State Department.
Donald Johnson writes that the Bolton elevation should end the illusion that Trump is Vladimir Putin’s puppet, though he points out that neocons despair over Trump’s ability to sell war with such an extremist team.
The liberal claim that Trump is Putin’s puppet always seemed a bit unbalanced to me when you look at who has influence over him and how it affects what one might loosely call his policies. He is obviously in cahoots with the Saudis and the racist Israeli far right, but DC types don’t want to say that because you could say the same about a lot of them. Trump’s idiotic Jerusalem decision, for instance, got some applause from some Democrats. Putin didn’t force most Republicans and some Democrats to continue our support for Saudi crimes against humanity and he wasn’t twisting Obama’s arm back in 2015-2016. Trump’s unhinged fixation about Iran fits in perfectly with the warmongering crowd that dominates most of the Republican Party and some of the Democrats.As for Bolton, TPM’s claim casting doubt on his Russia hostility is unconvincing. Here is Bolton the Russia hawk, by the Weekly Standard. Bolton might tone down his belligerence in the case of Russia if he thinks it will make his boss happy. Or maybe the liberals who want Trump to get tougher will get their wish.
This is the second coming of the first Dubya term. I think the reason Trump is hated by people who should like his warmongering is simply that they don’t trust him to be able to reach even Bush levels of competence. They want Caesar and they have Caligula or maybe Caligula’s horse. If you want endless intervention to go over well with most Americans it used to be you needed to play the role of the modest hero reluctantly forced to resort to violence even if it was all horse manure. The pretense of virtue was necessary. But with Trump bellowing his approval of torture and appointing a torturer and saying something racist or bigoted or unbelievably childish almost every time he tweets it really makes our good intentions a tough sell except for the people who still like Trump.