Donald Trump disappointed John Bolton las tyear by refusing to strike Iranian bases in response to Iran destroying an American drone, because the strike would likely kill 150. “Disproportionate… Too many body bags,” Trump said. Bolton writes, “This was the most irrational thing I ever witnessed any president do,” and says he nearly resigned. The author doesn’t understand how frightening this story is, about Bolton himself.
Bolton’s index cites “Iran” 240 times, and his tone throughout this long book will remind classics scholars of Cato the Elder’s famous calls for Rome to exterminate its rival across the Mediterranean, Carthage, in 151 B.C. “Carthago delenda est — Carthage must be destroyed.”
The media can’t talk about Sheldon Adelson when discussing the US confrontation with Iran over nukes, though he’s only Trump’s biggest donor, and John Bolton’s protector, and he was at White House officials’ side when they took part in a settlers’ bash in occupied Jerusalem.
Neither the US political establishment nor the people want a war with Iran, and Donald Trump knows it’s a political disaster. But 9 years ago Obama was seen as untrustworthy on Iran, and the lead reporter on the Middle East Jeffrey Goldberg goaded him to attack Iran with a report that Israel was going to attack Iran, a report that proved false.
By threatening Iran with war, Donald Trump is proving to be the “perfect little puppet,” as he once put it of his largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, who is close to Netanyahu and once called on Obama to nuke Iran. Too bad the media can’t talk about it.
Hawks in the White House, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, see a war aimed at eliminating Iran’s clerical leadership as a potentially big win for Washington. Many top officials in the U.S. military, however, see the matter quite differently. These days, the Pentagon is increasingly obsessed with preparations for another type of war in another locale entirely: a high-intensity conflict with China, possibly in the South China Sea.
U.S. intelligence on alleged Iranian attacks is reminiscent of the faulty intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, and three mainstream sources have said that Israel is behind some of that questionable intelligence– the New York Times, Israel’s Channel 13, and Newsweek. But Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson’s influence on the president ought to be a scandal.
In ’56 the British overreached tragically in Suez, the U.S. punished the pound, a Prime Minister fell, and an Empire ended. John Bolton is exhibiting the same hubris about regime change in Iran, and using economic leverage to do so, but the gambit may not work out well for the American empire, Helena Cobban writes.
As a US carrier steams toward Iran, Trump risks another disastrous neoconservative war in the Middle East. The pundits and pols who supported the Iraq war, from Joe Biden to Jeffrey Goldberg to Roger Cohen, still have not accounted for that tragic error; and they could clear their account nobly today by coming out against any war with Iran based on sad experience.