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Title: John Bolton Gets The Axe
Source: NY Times
URL Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/ ... al-security-adviser-trump.html
Published: Sep 10, 2019
Author: Peter Baker
Post Date: 2019-09-10 13:01:04 by Willie Green
Keywords: None
Views: 349
Comments: 13

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Tuesday that he had fired John R. Bolton, his third national security adviser, on Tuesday amid fundamental disagreements over how to handle major foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and most recently Afghanistan.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service.”

Mr. Bolton offered a different version of how the end came in his own message on Twitter shortly afterward. “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,’” Mr. Bolton wrote, without elaborating.

Responding to a question from The New York Times via text message, Mr. Bolton said it was his initiative. “Offered last night without his asking,” he wrote. “Slept on it and gave it to him this morning.”

Mr. Trump named no successor but said he would appoint someone “next week,” setting off a process that should reveal where the president wants to take his foreign policy in the remaining time before next year’s election.

The national security adviser’s dismissal came so abruptly that it was announced barely an hour after the White House scheduled a briefing for 2:30 p.m. where Mr. Bolton was supposed to appear alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. But Mr. Bolton is reported to have now left the White House.

Mr. Bolton’s departure comes as Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomatic openings with some of the United States’ most intractable enemies, efforts that have troubled hard-liners in the administration, like Mr. Bolton, who view North Korea and Iran as profoundly untrustworthy.

He spent much of the last week waging a last-minute battle to prevent Mr. Trump from signing off on a peace agreement with the Taliban militant organization, which he viewed as anathema — a deal that the president was preparing to finalize by inviting the Taliban leaders to Camp David.

Mr. Bolton urged Mr. Trump to reject the agreement, arguing that the president could still withdraw troops from Afghanistan to fulfill his campaign promise without getting in bed with an organization responsible for killing thousands of Americans over the last 18 years.

Mr. Trump ultimately did scrap plans for the Camp David meeting and said on Monday that talks with the Taliban were now “dead.” But he was irritated by Mr. Bolton, who was feuding with Mr. Pompeo for months.

Mr. Bolton saw his job as stopping Mr. Trump from making unwise agreements with America’s enemies. “While John Bolton was national security adviser for the last 17 months, there have been no bad deals,” a person close to Mr. Bolton said minutes after the president’s announcement on Tuesday, reflecting the ousted adviser’s view.

To Mr. Bolton’s aggravation, the president has continued to court Kim Jong-un, the repressive leader of North Korea, despite Mr. Kim’s refusal to surrender his nuclear program and despite repeated short-range missile tests by the North that have rattled its neighbors. In recent days, Mr. Trump has expressed a willingness to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran under the right circumstances, and even to extend short-term financing to Tehran, although the offer has so far been rebuffed.

The rift between the president and his national security adviser owed as much to personality as to policy. The president never warmed to him, a dynamic that is often fatal in this White House.

At its core, the schism reflected a deep-seated philosophical difference that has characterized the Trump presidency. While given to bellicose language, Mr. Trump came to office deeply skeptical of overseas military adventures and promising negotiations to resolve volatile conflicts. Mr. Bolton, however, has been one of Washington’s most outspoken hawks and unapologetic advocates of American power to defend the country’s interests.

To his admirers, Mr. Bolton was supposed to be a check on what they feared would be naïve diplomacy, a cleareyed realist who would keep a president without prior experience in foreign affairs from giving away the store to wily adversaries. But Mr. Trump has long complained privately that Mr. Bolton was too willing to get the United States into another war.

The tension between the men was aggravated in recent months by the president’s decisions to call off a planned airstrike on Iran in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone and to meet with Mr. Kim at the Demilitarized Zone and cross over into North Korea.

Mr. Bolton favored the strike on Iran and publicly criticized recent North Korean missile tests that Mr. Trump brushed off. After the president arranged the DMZ meeting with Mr. Kim via a last-minute Twitter message, Mr. Bolton opted not to accompany him and instead proceeded on a previously scheduled trip to Mongolia.

A former under secretary of state and ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Mr. Bolton, 70, never fully subscribed to Mr. Trump’s courtship of Mr. Kim and privately expressed frustration that the president was unwilling to take more meaningful action to transform the Middle East in the service of American interests.

Mr. Bolton was hamstrung in his ability to steer Mr. Trump in what he saw as the right direction. He also clashed with officials at the Defense Department. At one point, military officials expressed alarm at Mr. Bolton’s requests for contingency war plans.

While in office, Mr. Bolton sought to minimize his differences with the president in public. After Mr. Trump said he would be open to meeting with Mr. Rouhani and even to extending a line of credit to help Tehran get through its financial difficulties while talks proceeded, Mr. Bolton insisted that did not reflect a concession by the president.

“He’ll meet with anybody to talk,” Mr. Bolton told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “He is a negotiator. He is a deal maker. But talking with them does not imply — for President Trump, does not imply changing your position.”

Appointed in spring 2018, Mr. Bolton followed Michael T. Flynn — who stepped down as national security adviser after 24 days and later pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. — and his successor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who never forged a strong connection with the president and was forced out.

In choosing Mr. Bolton, Mr. Trump appreciated his outspoken performances on Fox News and wanted a contrast to the current and retired generals who were perceived as running his foreign policy team. Mr. Bolton also had the strong backing of Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican megadonor who is a key supporter of Mr. Trump.

Long before Mr. Trump popularized his “America First” slogan, Mr. Bolton termed himself an “Americanist” who prioritized a cold-eyed view of national interests and sovereignty over what they both saw as a fuzzy-headed fixation on democracy promotion and human rights. They shared a deep skepticism of globalism and multilateralism, a commonality that empowered Mr. Bolton to use his time in the White House to orchestrate the withdrawal of the United States from arms control treaties and other international agreements.

With Mr. Trump’s backing, Mr. Bolton likewise helped enact policies meant to pressure the Communist government in Cuba, reversing some but not all of the measures taken by President Barack Obama in a diplomatic opening to the island. Among other things, the Trump administration imposed limits on travel and remittances to Cuba and opened the door to lawsuits by Americans whose property was seized in the revolution in 1959.

But if Mr. Trump’s original national security team was seen as restraining a mercurial new commander in chief, the president found himself sometimes restraining Mr. Bolton. Behind the scenes, he joked about Mr. Bolton’s penchant for confrontation. “If it was up to John, we’d be in four wars now,” one senior official recalled the president saying.

Mr. Trump also grew disenchanted with Mr. Bolton over the failed effort to push out President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Rather than the easy victory he was led to anticipate, the president has found himself bogged down in a conflict over which he has less influence than he had assumed. The political opposition backed by the White House could not turn Venezuela’s military against Mr. Maduro and has been stuck in a stalemate for months.

The divergence between the two men was on display in May during the president’s first trip this year to Japan. After Mr. Bolton told reporters then that “there is no doubt” that North Korean short-range missile launches violated United Nations resolutions, Mr. Trump dismissed the concern, still eager to preserve his strained relationship with Mr. Kim.

“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know,” the president told reporters. “I view it differently.”

Mr. Trump likewise repudiated an idea of working to overthrow the government of Iran, a goal Mr. Bolton long advanced as a private citizen. “We’re not looking for regime change,” Mr. Trump said. “I just want to make that clear.”

After Iran was accused in June of damaging two tankers with explosives and then shot down the drone, Mr. Bolton favored a demonstration of force. He facilitated a recommendation by the national security team for an airstrike against Iranian radar and other facilities, which Mr. Trump initially accepted only to change his mind at the last minute out of what he said was concern over casualties that would result.

Mr. Bolton’s later absence from Mr. Trump’s trip to the DMZ and hourlong meeting with Mr. Kim seemed conspicuous. Mr. Bolton’s staff said he was only following through on his schedule by going to Mongolia, but right or wrong, it was taken as a sign that he was not fully on board with the president’s diplomatic overture to North Korea.

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#1. To: Willie Green (#0)

Curious development !

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." (Will Rogers)

"No one ever rescues an old dog. They lay in a cage until they die. PLEASE save one. None of us wants to die cold and alone... --Dennis Olson "

People that say money can't buy you happiness, have never paid an adoption fee

Stoner  posted on  2019-09-10   16:03:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Willie Green (#0)

You had to wonder how long he'd last. Bolton had increasingly been excluded from the direction that Trump/Pompeo want to go in diplomacy. This resignation is merely a formality.

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-09-10   16:19:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Willie Green (#0)

John Bolton and the traditional Republican party national security wing oppose cooperation with Russia and Cuba, peace with Iran, Syria and North Korea, and a trade war with China. They want regime change in Venezuela.

Donald Trump wants cooperation and friendship with Russia and Cuba, peace with Iran, Syria and North Korea, and a trade war with China for as long as it takes to force China to obey the necessary rules of intellectual property and international trade. He wants regime change in Venezuela.

Bolton and his group believe that under no circumstances can enemy nations be trusted to ever make and keep deals. That means, therefore, that the US will have to maintain its huge defense expenditures and aggressive defense posture in perpetuity for the foreseeable future.

Trump believes that, if we have permanent and lasting peace that we can have substantial permanent cuts in military expenditure, and that the we will be able to live in a world in which an aggressive defense posture will no longer be necessary.

Bolton et al believe that Trump's view is pollyanna-ish, naive, and represents a threat to long term American interests. by negotiating with evil actors.

Trump believes that the only way to have peace is to negotiate with evil actors and, thereby, find a non-military solution all sides can live with. He thinks that perpetual war is not ultimately a strategy for long term US security, but for US bankruptcy.

The two sides do not, and cannot see eye to eye. The Bolton side sees Trump's view as reckless and dangerous to national security. Trump is much more optimistic for a smooth landing and peace in the end.

Who is right?

I don't personally know. What I do know is that Trump's vision offers hope for a better world, while Bolton's and the traditional cold warriors offer nothing but the promise of perpetual expenditures for perpetual warfare.

My own view, then, is that we should try Trump's way. If he's right, and he is able to make a better relationship with Russia, in particular, that that alone will bring Syria and Iran into the fold, and make a positive outcome in Korea and Cuba, and Venezuela, far easier to achieve. And if the US and Russia are friends, China is really isolated and will have to pull in its horns.

I think we should do it Trump's way.

As a practical matter, Trump was elected President, while Bolton's side of the argument lost. Therefore, Trump has the power and the right to impose HIS approach, over the objections, however sincere, of the Boltons of the world that it is "irresponsible" and "dangerous" and "negotiating with terrorists" and all the rest. Yes, it IS negotiating with killers and terrorists. And that is the prerogative of the President if he thinks it is the best policy.

If Bolton would not carry out that policy, he needed to go, and he has.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-09-10   17:27:38 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: Willie Green, Mitt is POd (#0)

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) defended outgoing national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday, calling his firing a “huge loss.”

"His view was not always the same as everybody else in the room. That’s why you wanted him there. The fact that he was a contrarian from time to time is an asset not a liability,” Romney told reporters Tuesday after the president tweeted that Bolton had been fired.

“I’m very very unhappy to hear that he’s leaving. It is a huge loss for the administration in my opinion and for the nation,” Romney added.

Senator Mittens has got the sadz.

Ron Paul - Lake Jackson Texas Values

Hondo68  posted on  2019-09-10   21:46:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Vicomte13, *Neo-Lib Chickenhawk Wars* (#3)

Sen. Rand Paul is happy to see Bolton go, me too.

Ron Paul - Lake Jackson Texas Values

Hondo68  posted on  2019-09-10   22:06:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: Willie Green (#0)

Come on, you pussy liberal. Give Trump props for kicking this war mongers ass out of Washington. You hypocritical scumbag leftest, can’t give praise to the opposition, because you fuckers have evolved into mentally WEAK sheeple that can’t tolerate ANYTHING, that could cause you the need for a safe space.

If it makes you feel any better, the scumbag kook Paultards are just as bad as you snowflakes... even Hondope lacked the fucking balls to type a true compliment.

GrandIsland  posted on  2019-09-10   23:24:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#7. To: Stoner (#1)

Curious development !

About time Trump fired this blood-thirsty war monger!

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-09-11   6:32:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: Deckard (#7)

Curious development !

About time Trump fired this blood-thirsty war monger!

Does this lead me to believe that you personally may not like John Bolton and
that you possibly disagree with some of his polices?

Curious development !

Hand Salute,

Gatlin  posted on  2019-09-11   6:53:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: Gatlin (#8)

Does this lead me to believe that you personally may not like John Bolton and that you possibly disagree with some of his polices?

I've not been shy about my opinions of Bolton.

Yeah - I pretty much disagree with all of his policies.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-09-11   8:20:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: Vicomte13 (#3)

Trump believes

No you are saying what Vic believes and projecting it onto Trump.

You are simply wrong on many of your thoughts.

A K A Stone  posted on  2019-09-11   8:23:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#11. To: Deckard (#9)

Got it ...

Gatlin  posted on  2019-09-11   8:44:45 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: A K A Stone (#10)

Well, Trump just fired Bolton for not being on the same page with him. And that's what I wrote of.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-09-11   13:24:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#13. To: Gatlin (#8) (Edited)

Hand Salute,

As opposed to the infamous Gatlin of Wall-Marx, Penis Salute?

Ron Paul - Lake Jackson Texas Values

Hondo68  posted on  2019-09-11   17:04:09 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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