A Madman On The National Security Council?

Monday, March 26, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Matt Purple via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Sun, 03/25/2018

John Bolton is that most ludicrous of creatures: the unreconstructed Bush-era foreign policy thinker

Would that John Bolton were only a clown. The mustachioed alleged diplomat, briefly of the Bush administration – and initially criticized as too controversial even for that team – has now been appointed national security advisor. That position will give him the president’s ear on matters of foreign policy, as well as control over which other administration principals enjoy such access. Donald Trump pledged that if elected he would be a different kind of Republican president, and he’s delivered: under the last GOP administration, Bolton occupied a slightly lower-ranking position than he does now.

Bolton is indeed no circus act: he’s one of the sharpest and most dangerous national security operatives in Washington. To take just one example, last summer, Trump made it known that he was considering pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, a campaign promise he wanted fulfilled but that had been discouraged by his then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Sensing an opportunity, Bolton wrote an essay for National Review explaining in breezy (i.e. Trump-digestible) terms just how to abrogate the agreement. The piece is chockablock with nonsense: at one point it claims sans any evidence that the Obama administration believed the JCPOA was “disadvantageous to the United States.” It also offers scant evidence to underpin its claim that Iran was in violation of the deal, an assertion that’s been repeatedly repudiated by the authorities at the IAEA. But the truth wasn’t the point: the piece was meant to water a seed in the president’s mind, to lend expert opinion to Trump’s burning preference that the JCPOA be reversed.

That Bolton did this shouldn’t surprise anyone because this is how Bolton works: shrewdly and always towards the goal of more war. As Gareth Porter detailed in a rigorously reported piece for TAC, during his tenure under Bush, Bolton maneuvered behind the scenes to pump up a pretext for conflict between the United States and Iran. Among his methods was to pretend that satellite images of a military base at Parchin demonstrated Iranian nuclear experimentation. That supposed smoking gun is cited to this day by neocons as proof of Iran’s atomic dreams.

What makes Bolton unique among hawkish operators is that he doesn’t feel the need to hide any of these machinations.

The man wants to pulverize Tehran and he’s not afraid to say so. In 2015, Bolton wrote a piece for the New York Times subtly titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Never mind that the adverbial clause in that sentence had no definitive evidence in its favor; it was off to war because, as Bolton put it, “extensive progress in uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing reveal [Iran’s] ambitions” (imagine if that standard was applied universally). The coming operation, Bolton promised, would be akin to Operation Opera in 1981 when Israel destroyed a single Iraqi nuclear reactor, except that this one would take out multiple installations at Natanz and Fordow and Arak and Isfahan and…

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