John Bolton is a nut job, and he’s a close adviser to a man who can pull the nuclear trigger. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:
John Bolton has been saying for years he wants the Iranian government overthrown, and now he’s made his move. But this time he may have gone too far, writes Joe Lauria.
I knew John Bolton and interacted with him on a nearly daily basis with my colleagues in the press corps at United Nations headquarters in New York when Bolton was the United States ambassador there from August 2005 to December 2006.
Most diplomats, officials, and journalists were shocked that Bolton (evading confirmation with a recess appointment) had actually become the U.S. representative, given his long, public disdain for the UN. But that turned out to be the point. It’s been the strategy of Republican administrations to appoint the fiercest critic to head an agency or institution in order to weaken it, perhaps even fatally.
Bolton’s most infamous quote about the UN followed him into the building. In 1994 he had said: “The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
But a more telling comment in that same 1994 conference was when he said that no matter what the UN decides the U.S. will do whatever it wants:
How will Trump and pals trick the US public into supporting a war on Iran? From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:
An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists – President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”
By midday, Trump had denied the Times report, branding it “fake news.” Keep them guessing, seems to be the name of the game.
Following the Iraq playbook, Bolton and Pompeo are conjuring up dubious intelligence from Israel to “justify” attacking – this time – Iran. (For belligerent Bolton, this was entirely predictable.) All this is clear.
What is not clear, to Americans and foreigners alike, is why Trump would allow Bolton and Pompeo to use the same specious charges – terrorism and nuclear weapons – to provoke war with a country that poses just as much strategic threat to the U.S. as Iraq did – that is to say, none. The corporate media, with a two-decade memory-loss and a distinct pro-Israel bias, offers little help toward understanding.
War with Iran would be an even bigger disaster for the US than war with Iraq has proven to be. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
Who do we think we are? Truly. The latest reports that the Trump administration is considering plans for deploying 120,000 troops to the Middle East – presumably to strike Iran – demonstrates how Washington’s foreign policy has finally gone off the rails. Crazier still, the impending war with Iran isn’t even the today’s biggest news story – what with all the nonsense, soap opera hullabaloo about the Mueller Report – on mainstream media outlets. What the proposed plan constitutes is nothing less than the most important, and disturbing, global issue of the day. This is how it should be reported by a truly adversarial media: The United States is preparing for an aggressive, illegal, and unwarranted war against another sovereign power thousands of miles from its shores. Again! All true citizens should be beyond appalled and screaming dissent from the rooftops.
The proposed plan comes on the heels of Iran’s decision – prompted by U.S. hostility – to withdraw from certain, though not all, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, better known as the Iran nuclear deal) requirements. This shouldn’t come as any surprise. In fact, it’s incredible that Iran stayed in compliance with the treaty as long as it did. After all, it was the United Statesthat unilaterally scuttled the deal – with which its own intelligence services admitted Iran had complied with – against the advice of its European allies and even Secretary of State Tillerson. By reimposing sanctions on a compliant Iran, the US acted aggressively and actually vindicated any Iranian counteraction. Indeed, President Rouhani had some justification for his claim that Tehran’s move didn’t violate the agreement, per say, but that actually the JCPOA permitted it since reimposition of sanctions was “grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”
Is the Trump administration painting itself into a corner on Iran? From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
Is the U.S. military, which lost its powerful positions in the White House, trying to get National Security Advisor John ‘Stache’ Bolton fired?
A ‘leak’ to the New York Times accuses Bolton of preparing for war on Iran:
At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. It does not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said.
The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.
If asked for ‘options’ the military typically lays out three scenarios. The first is very minor action unlikely to have any effect. The second is what the military sees as reasonable or wants. The third option is fantastically exaggerated. The 120,000 troop deployment is the third option. The number is too high for an attack by air and on sea and too low for an attack on land, i.e. an invasion of Iran. Releasing the third option number is likely designed to rally against such a move.
More than a half-dozen American national security officials who have been briefed on details of the updated plans agreed to discuss them with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.
Among those attending Thursday’s meeting were Mr. Shanahan; Mr. Bolton; General Dunford; Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director; and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.
In a possible quit pro quo the delivery of ‘options’ by the Defense Department happened on the same day that acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan was finally nominated for the permanent position. The previous Secretary of Defense James Mattis had ignored similar options requests from the White House. Trump fired Mattis at the end of last year.
The first sentence is the money sentence. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:
Trump destroyed his chance at being a successful president by the stupid appointments he has made. At the moment he is being set up by his national security advisor John Bolton and Israel for a war with Iran.
Using the same format of lies that was used against Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, Bolton has accused Iran of “troubling and escalatory indications” of a forthcoming Iranian attack on American forces in the Middle East. To help protect against the attack, Bolton has ordered Patriot missile batteries, an aircraft carrier strike group, and a bomber strike force to the region.
Even the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, pointed out that Bolton failed to identify the “troubling and escalatory” Iranian actions. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/u-s-sends-patriot-missiles-to-the-middle-east-to-counter-iranian-threats-1.7221997 No one else has seen any sign of them.
The reason for the Patriot missiles is not to deter Iran from an attack, but to prevent successful Iranian response to an attack on Iran.
Bolton is lying about intelligence to push the US into war. Where have we seen that before? From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:
John Bolton has gotten away with a dangerous deception. The national security adviser’s announcement Sunday that the Pentagon has deployed air and naval forces to the Middle East, which he combined with a threat to Iran, points to a new maneuver to prepare the ground for an incident that could justify a retaliatory attack against Iran.
Bolton presented his threat and the deployments as a response to alleged intelligence about a possible Iranian attack on U.S. targets in the Middle East. But what has emerged indicates that the alleged intelligence does not actually reflect any dramatic new information or analysis from the US intelligence community. Instead, it has all the hallmarks of a highly political case concocted by Bolton.
Further underscoring the deceptive character of Bolton’s maneuver is evidence that senior Israeli national security officials played a key role in creating the alleged intelligence rationale for the case.
The new initiative follows an audacious ruse carried out last fall by Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, detailed in Truthdig in February, to cast the firing of a few mortar rounds in the vicinity of the US Embassy and a consulate in Iraq as evidence of an effort by Tehran to harm US diplomats. Bolton exploited that opportunity to press Pentagon officials to provide retaliatory military options, which they did, reluctantly.
What have the malignant manatee, the Golden Tufted Cockatoo, and John Bolton been up to? From the Saker at unz.com:
It is sometimes helpful not to look at any one specific issue in detail, but rather make a survey of ongoing processes instead. The resulting picture is neither better nor worse, it is simply different. This is what I want to do today: to take a bird’s eye view of our suffering planet.
Putin trolls the Empire
It is all really simple: if the Ukrainians will give passports to Russian citizens, and we in Russia will be handing out passports to the Ukrainians, then sooner or later will will reach the expected result: everybody will have the same citizenship. This is something which we have to welcome.
It appears that the Kremlin is very slowly changing its approach to the Ukrainian issue and is now relying more on unilateral actions. The first two measures taken by the Russians are maybe not “too little too late”, but certainly “just the bare minimum and at that, rather late”. Still, I can only salute the Kremlin’s newly found determination. Specifically, the Kremlin has banned the export of energy products to the Ukraine (special exemptions can still be granted on a case by case basis) and the Russians have decided to distribute Russian passports to the people of Novorussia. Good.
Zelenskii’s reaction to this decision came as the first clear sign that the poor man has no idea what he is doing and no plan as to how to deal with the Russians. He decided to crack a joke, (which he is reportedly good at), and declare that the Ukrainian passport was much better than the Russian one and that the Ukraine will start delivering Ukrainian passports to Russian citizens. Putin immediately replied with one of his typical comebacks declaring that he supports Zelenskii and that he looks forward to the day when Russians and Ukrainians will have the same citizenship again. Zelenskii had nothing to say to that 🙂