The Bell Tolls for Bolton the Ideologue vs. POTUS the Dealmaker
The Bell Tolls for Bolton the Ideologue vs. POTUS the Dealmaker byfor Crush the Street
For a long time, the POTUS has repeated that regime change and war are not necessarily the appropriate end-game well before he campaigned for president, and he has been consistent in his views and policies while in office, rather than submitting to neoconservative hawks.
It has certainly been a tumultuous 18 months for former National Security Advisor John Bolton, and it was no secret that his relationship with the White House and POTUS was treading on thin ice. His resistance to a diplomatic solution in Afghanistan to bring the troops home, an ambitious resolution to nuclear tensions with North Korea, potential engagement with the Iranian regimeover the JCPOA nuclear deal failure, and efforts to resolve the political and humanitarian stalemate in Venezuela all increasingly left Bolton on the sidelines.
“Bolton, who has long advocated an expansive military presence around the world, has become a staunch internal foe of an emerging peace deal aimed at ending America’s longest war, the officials said. His opposition to the diplomatic effort in Afghanistan has irritated President Trump, these officials said, and led aides to leave the National Security Council out of sensitive discussions about the agreement. The sidelining of Bolton has raised questions about his influence in an administration that is seeking a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as an ambitious nuclear deal with North Korea and potential engagement with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Bolton, U.S. officials said, stands in opposition to those efforts, but he does so increasingly from the periphery. ‘It’s messed up on so many levels that the national security adviser isn’t involved, but trust is a real issue,’ said a senior U.S. official, one of a half-dozen who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.” – Washington Post, Aug. 30
Another issue that was reported after the planned “secret” meeting with Taliban leadership was canceled by the POTUS is that Bolton allegedly resorted to media leaks due to his sidelined status.
“People familiar with the issue said Trump grew frustrated over time with news stories about divisions in the administration that he was convinced were peddled by Bolton and his media surrogates. Over the weekend, as reports in The New York Times and other outlets laid out the back-and-forth within the administration over whether to invite the Taliban to Camp David, Trump — as well as other officials like Pompeo — grew upset at what they were sure were leaks from Bolton and his aides. ‘When the New York Times story came out, it was pretty clear that Bolton or his people had his fingerprints all over it, that it wasn’t his idea to meet with the Taliban, that it was Pompeo’s. That was the end of business. It was petty and stupid,’ said a Trump confidante familiar with the president’s thinking. A second person confirmed that explanation, saying that it was part of a pattern of leaks believed to have come from Bolton’s camp that highlighted dissent in the president’s inner circle. ‘The fundamental problem here is the president had a national security adviser who was unwilling to accept the decisions made by the president,’ this person said. ‘When they contradicted his opinion, he worked to undermine them.’” – Politico, Sep. 10