John Bolton has been consistently and spectacularly wrong about virtually everything, which explains his success in Washington. From Martin Sieff at strategic-culture.org:
John Bolton was only national security adviser of the United States for less than18 months but it felt as if he had been there forever. And we are not – alas – done with him yet.
The first thing to be said about Bolton’s fall is that it was entirely consistent with his lifelong pattern. He went reluctantly and departed with all the grace of a cockroach. He showed no loyalty or even courtesy to the president who raised him from being an aged, deserved has-been to briefly being one of the most powerful men on the planet. He could never be graceful or grateful, never be a gentleman. He could never simply shut up.
John Bolton was never a genius: Though like all his neoconservative friends he imagined himself to be. It was always the childish fantasy of a creepy little psychopath who never grew up, always a lie.
For decades, the cockroaches and spiders in the most obscure recesses of all the conservative, libertarian and liberal-progressive think tanks sprinkled across Washington like smallpox scabs spoke with awe of Bolton’s brilliant brain, his remorseless work ethic and his capacious memory. They were only exposing their own even greater mediocrity.
For Bolton always lacked any form of judgment, wisdom, discernment or restraint. He had a simplistic rigid mind that never learned any anything good that was new and never forget everything that was old and vile.
The UK has managed to ensnare itself in US neocons attempts to incite a war with Iran. Will there be war? From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
The UK got a taste of its own medicine this week as Iran seized a British tanker, the Stena Impero, just two weeks after UK Royal Marines seized a tanker near Gibraltar carrying two million barrels of Iranian oil. As could be predicted, the US and UK media are reporting Iran’s seizure of the Stena Impero as if it were something out of the blue, pushing the war propaganda that “we” have been attacked and must retaliate. Media criticism of the UK is limited to claims that it has not put enough military into the Persian Gulf, not that it should never have seized the Iranian ship in the first place.
The truth is, the UK seizure of the Iranian ship was calculated to force Iran to retaliate and thus provide the pretext the neocons need to get their war.
As usual, Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton is in the thick of this operation. Bolton Tweeted that he was so surprised – but pleased – by the UK move against the Iranian tanker. However it is becoming clearer that Bolton was playing a role behind the scenes pushing London to lure Iran into making a move that might trigger the war he’s long been yearning for.
The ramping up of tanker wars comes just as the Pentagon has announced that it will send 500 US troops to Saudi Arabia – the first such US deployment since the US withdrew its troops in 2003. At that time, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz hailed the move out of Saudi Arabia as denying al-Qaeda one of its prime recruiting tools – US troops in their holy land. What will 500 troops do in Saudi Arabia? Some say they will help prepare the Prince Sultan military air base for a possible US air squadron deployment.
Can Bolton and Israel get Trump to go to war with Iran? From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
President Trump might be his own man, but not when it comes to John Bolton and Israel. Trump is their man and is again being manipulated into starting a fisticuffs with Iran.
Someone in Washington, most likely Ziocon warmonger Bolton, got the UK to commit an act of piracy on the high seas and seize an Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1, on the grounds that Iran intended to deliver the oil to Syria in violation of US sanctions.
Iran’s leader, Khamenei, denounced Washington’s British stooge for “maritime banditry” and said there would be consequences. Today there were. Iran detained two British tankers.
This is what Bolton and Netanyahu wanted. They used it to wind up Trump’s fulminations against Iran. The trouble that the idiot British started with Iran is no concern of ours, but Trump’s threats are nevertheless issuing at a rapid pace.
The British call Iran’s response to their banditry “an escalation” that requires “further protection for merchant vessels . . . to ensure enhanced security to guarantee free flow of trade in the region.” Of course, the British did not think their act of banditry caused a need for “enhanced security to guarantee free flow of trade in the region.” It is quite alright for Britain to seize ships but not for Iran.
The British Foreign Secretary offered Iran the release of Grace 1 if Iran guaranteed it would not breach Washington’s sanctions on Syria by delivering oil. Washington’s sanctions, of course, are totally illegal and devoid of any basis in international law, as is the British enforcement of Washington’s illegal sanctions. One wonders why Russia doesn’t stop this escalation by taking over the delivery of oil supplies to Syria.
Is Trump ready to shed his neoconservative advisors and their idiotic policies and listen to his own instincts? From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Donald Trump’s surprise visit to North Korea last week was impressive. It was a bold first step in repairing a foreign policy in tatters after more than a year of assaults by his neoconservative boobsie-twins Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Trump took Kim at his word who said after talks broke down thanks to Bolton and Pompeo in Hanoi that no dialogue would be possible if Bolton was involved.
So, Trump sent Bolton to Mongolia. Then he went to Korea and did the one thing he had to do to begin unraveling the mess he’d gotten himself into.
Last week I asked where does Trump go after his confrontation with Iran? Trump answered that question in dramatic fashion. And he deserves a lot of credit for it.
But what does this mean in the wider context? It’s a good first step but we’ve seen this game from him before, making bold moves only to be reined in by his staff.
I would say that the optics of sending Bolton to Mongolia are pretty clear. Bolton’s time in the White House is nearly over. This is also a strong signal to Iran that Trump trying to back down without actually saying that.
The drone incident was intended to box Trump into a path to war with Iran after the tanker attack in the Gulf of Oman two weeks prior. That was likely not the Iranians but the Saudis and/or MEK, again trying to get Trump to fly off the handle, since he’s easily manipulated into emotional acts.
Is Trump really boxed in? From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
President Trump did the smart thing last week by calling off a US airstrike on Iran over the downing of an American spy drone near or within Iranian territorial waters. According to press reports, the president over-ruled virtually all his top advisors – Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel – who all wanted another undeclared and unauthorized US war in the Middle East.
Is Iran really the aggressive one? When you unilaterally pull out of an agreement that was reducing tensions and boosting trade; when you begin applying sanctions designed to completely destroy another country’s economy; when you position military assets right offshore of that country; when you threaten to destroy that country on a regular basis, calling it a campaign of “maximum pressure,” to me it seems a stretch to play the victim when that country retaliates by shooting a spy plane that is likely looking for the best way to attack.
Even if the US spy plane was not in Iranian airspace – but it increasingly looks like it was – it was just another part of an already-existing US war on Iran. Yes, sanctions are a form of war, not a substitute for war.
The media are also a big part of the problem. The same media that praised Trump as “presidential” when he fired rockets into Syria on what turned out to be false claims that Assad gassed his own people, has been attacking Trump for not bombing Iran. From Left to Right – with one important exception – the major media is all braying for war. Why? They can afford to cheer death and destruction because they will not suffer the agony of war. Networks will benefit by capturing big ratings and big money and new media stars will be born.
If John Bolton really controls the administration and Trump, we’re doomed. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
Jeff Bezos’ blog, the Washington Post, has some bits on the discussion and infighting in the Trump administration about the march towards war on Iran. The piece opens with news of a new redline the Trump administration set out:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has privately delivered warnings intended for Iranian leaders that any attack by Tehran or its proxies resulting in the death of even one American service member will generate a military counterattack, U.S. officials said.
While such attacks were common during the Iraq War, Pompeo told Iraqi leaders in a message he knew would be relayed to Tehran that a single American fatality would prompt the United States to hit back.
That warning was sent in May when Pompeo visited Baghdad. The issue may soon become critical. Throughout the last days there were rocket attacks in Iraq against targets where U.S. personnel is present. The AFP correspondent in Baghdad lists six of them:
Maya Gebeily – @GebeilyM – 10:20 UTC – 19 Jun 2019Timeline of attacks on US interests in #Iraq
Fri: Mortars hit Balad base, where US troops based
Sun: Projectiles hit #Baghdad mil airport
Mon: Rockets on Taji, where coalition forces based
Tues: Mortars on #Mosul ops HQ
Wed: Rockets on housing/ops center used by IOCs near #Basra
#IRAQ: @AFP learns there were at least *two* attacks near US oil interests in #Basra in last 24 hours – ExxonMobil + Baker Hughes, a GE Company Their senior staff are being evacuated.
At least some of these attacks came from areas where Islamic State underground groups are still active. The weapons used were improvised and imprecise.
That shows how stupid the red line is that Pompeo set out. He would attack Iran if an errant ISIS rocket by chance kills some U.S. soldier? That is nuts.