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 		 [ Boltons leaving - by firing or resignation - ends his 17-months
as Trumps third national security advisor. During this time, he tried
to bring the U.S. into armed conflict with Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and
Korea.] [https://portside.org/] 

 JOHN BOLTON TRIED HIS BEST TO DRAW THE U.S. INTO A WAR. LUCKILY, HE
FAILED.  
[https://portside.org/2019-09-12/john-bolton-tried-his-best-draw-us-war-luckily-he-failed]


 

 Alex Emmons 
 September 10, 2019
The Intercept
[https://theintercept.com/2019/09/10/john-bolton-tried-his-best-to-draw-the-u-s-into-a-war-luckily-he-failed/]


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 _ Bolton's leaving - by firing or resignation - ends his 17-months as
Trump's third national security advisor. During this time, he tried to
bring the U.S. into armed conflict with Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and
Korea. _ 

 John Bolton, the recently ousted national security adviser, uses a
cellphone outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington,
D.C., on Sept. 10, 2019. , Photo: Tom Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty
Images // The Intercept 

 

President Donald Trump

parted ways with his hawkish national security adviser John Bolton on
Tuesday, ending a 17-month tenure that included additional troops
deployed
[https://www.vox.com/2019/6/18/18683337/us-iran-war-1000-troops] to
the Middle East, saw the U.S. repeatedly threaten “military
action”
[https://www.vox.com/world/2019/5/1/18525806/venezuela-pompeo-military-guaido-maduro-trump] against
the Venezuelan government, and brought the country within minutes
[https://www.foxnews.com/politics/us-called-off-retaliatory-strike-against-iran-in-last-minute-wsj] of
bombing Iran.

In May 2018, less than two months after Trump announced Bolton’s
appointment on Twitter
[https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/976948306927607810],
Bolton achieved part of his dream when the Trump administration pulled
out of the Iran nuclear deal and set U.S.-Iran relations on a path
toward escalation. According to a New Yorker profile
[https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/05/06/john-bolton-on-the-warpath],
Trump’s decision to abandon the agreement meant so much to Bolton
that he hung a framed copy of the executive order in his office.

The strategy that defined Bolton’s tenure was to torpedo the slow
work of diplomacy and position the U.S. as aggressively as possible,
no matter the results. U.S. adversaries would capitulate to the
demands. With Iran — a country Bolton has long recommended
[https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/opinion/to-stop-irans-bomb-bomb-iran.html] bombing
— experts say his efforts have backfired and pushed the country to
renuclearize.

Since the U.S. implemented sanctions designed to drive Iranian oil
exports to zero and cripple the economy, the Iranian government has
neither collapsed nor yielded to U.S. demands. After designating the
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, after new troop
and carrier deployments to the Middle East, after a U.S. cyberattack
against Iran, after the U.S. downed an Iranian drone, and even after
Trump tweeted that the U.S. had nearly bombed Iran, the Trump
administration’s aggressive posturing at Bolton’s behest has not
paid off.

Experts have said that Iran is no closer to denuclearization than it
was two years ago. Just two days ago, Iran announced
[https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-09-07/iran-breaks-more-nuclear-deal-commitments-raising-concern-that-the-agreement-is-on-verge-of-collapsing] that
it would speed up its already restarted uranium enrichment. And far
from being restrained, Iran has seized tankers, shot down a drone, and
continued its support for militias across the Middle East.

Bolton’s policy record is equally unimpressive on Venezuela, where
the Trump administration seeks the ouster of President Nicolas
Maduro’s regime and has thrown its support behind self-declared
“interim president” Juan Guaido. Bolton said the U.S. military
needed to be “ready to go
[https://www.newsweek.com/venezuela-us-war-military-options-john-bolton-1411407]”
in Venezuela. But since a planned May 1 uprising dubbed “Operation
Freedom” by Guaido fizzled
[https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/05/01/guaido-venezuela-coup-against-maduro-didnt-go-beyond-demonstrations/3637613002/] into
a series of street protests, Maduro’s position appears as strong as
ever.

An Axios report
[https://www.axios.com/trump-john-bolton-doctrine-iran-venezuela-war-427ca897-aaa1-4e10-a7c9-2a67c1d20354.html] in
July suggested that, from Trump’s perspective, Bolton’s aggression
was the main reason to keep him around. Trump is said to have joked
about Bolton’s bloodlust with foreign leaders, saying things like,
“John has never seen a war he doesn’t like.” Such lines signaled
that if people didn’t like Trump’s methods, they might have to
deal with bad cop Bolton.

Trump and Bolton reportedly parted 
[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/us/politics/john-bolton-national-security-adviser-trump.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur]over
policy disagreements on Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
Trump tweeted
[https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1171452880055746560] that
he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” It’s
difficult to predict where U.S. foreign policy will go next under
Trump. But it’s possible that Bolton’s most lasting impact will be
the fallout from his open contempt for international institutions.

Bolton’s recess appointment as United Nations ambassador in 2005 was
widely viewed as a sign of the George W. Bush administration’s
contempt for the institution. (Bolton had famously remarked that if
the U.N. headquarters “lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of
difference.”)

Bolton has been vocal about his disdain for the U.N. and international
law in general. In a 2018 speech
[https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-national-security-advisor-ambassador-john-r-bolton-trump-administrations-new-africa-strategy/] at
the Federalist Society, Bolton told the audience that “the largely
unspoken, but always central, aim” of the International Criminal
Court was “to constrain the United States,” and promised to let it
“die on its own.” During his time with the Trump administration,
the U.S. took the extraordinary step of denying visas to ICC
investigators and announced that it was withdrawing from the U.N.
Human Rights Council
[https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621435225/u-s-announces-its-withdrawal-from-u-n-s-human-rights-council].
The Trump administration has continued to look for ways to scale back
funding
[https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/02/trump-stealthily-seeks-to-choke-off-funding-to-un-programs/] for
U.N. aid programs.

When the ICC announced in April that it had rejected its lead
prosecutor’s request to investigate American war crimes in
Afghanistan, Bolton was jubilant. “This is a vindication of the
president’s support for American sovereignty and a rejection of the
idea that there can be accountability for American citizens by any
authority other than American constitutional institutions,” Bolton
said at a press conference.

Human Rights Watch called the decision “a devastating blow for
victims who have suffered grave crimes without redress.”

_[Alex Emmons is a reporter covering national security, foreign
affairs, human rights, and politics. Prior to joining The Intercept,
he worked for Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties
Union on their campaigns against targeted killing, mass surveillance,
and Guantánamo Bay.]_

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