What John Bolton’s Departure Might Signal

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I cannot claim to be one of those who is not concerned about what this week’s sudden departure of John Bolton from the White House might be signaling. Taken together with last week’s resignation of US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, this might be signaling the end of the Trump-Israel honeymoon.

(September 12, 2019 / JNS Press)

John Bolton has served the United States with distinction, in a great many capacities, as National Security Advisor under President Trump, as UN Ambassador under President George W. Bush and as Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan. He possesses a sober and realistic assessment as to who America’s friends and adversaries truly are, and a sophisticated, no-nonsense view of the multiple threats facing the United States and her allies.

Ambassador Bolton has projected the doctrine of “peace through strength”, not through appeasement. He was a strong supporter of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, or the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015, which as we now see, has only served to enrich, empower and embolden the Islamic Republic, as they continue to carve out a Shiite empire that extends through Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, through  the Mediterranean Coast and into Sana’a.

We are seeing the products of the Shiite Crescent’s works as Hezbollah has encroached closer and closer to Israel’s borders, and has as recently as September 2nd, fired several missiles into Israel, which the  IDF had successfully intercepted. The Iranians have been giving Hezbollah the means to convert their dummy rockets into precision guided missiles, whichthey have been working on in conversion factories in Lebanon’s Baka Valley.

It is the Jewish state’s greatest nightmare that these missiles will become precise enough to hit Israel’s military or civilian infrastructure. Hezbollah has one goal and one goal alone: to eliminate the existence of Israel.

This news also comes on the heels of Saturday’s announcement by the Islamic Republic that they are stepping up the level of enrichment of uranium.  They are now using the sophisticated, advanced centrifuges which can quickly get to the 20 per cent level of purity, making it quite easy to get from that threshold to the lethal 90 per cent purity level necessary for a nuclear bomb.

This is not a mere technical violation of the JCPOA—It is the entire reason why there was a JCPOA. There have been violations all along, including the refusal of allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors into their military sites. Remember how we had been promised by the Obama administration, “anytime, anywhere inspections?”

 This week, in an address before the Israeli people, Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed yet another nuclear site with vivid satellite images in the Iranian city of Abadan, which was operational as recently as three months ago, which they then totally destroyed and covered up. “It’s incredible”, said the Israeli Prime Minister, “as soon as we reveal they cover their tracks.”

Yet, President Trump has signaled a willingness to meet with the Iranian President Rouhani on the sidelines of the General Assembly when it convenes on September 23rd.  The fact that the President was willing to meet with the Taliban on American soil, and has been willing to negotiate with Kim Jung Un of North Korea does not auger well.

Is President Trump willing to follow French President Emmanuel Macron’s lead and cave to the $15 billion bribe to the Iranians just to have them come to the table?

The Iranian’s response of approval to Trump’s dismissal of Bolton should already warn us how dangerous this move is. On Wednesday, Iranian President Rouhani said, “Americans have to realize that warmongering and warmongers are not to their benefit. They should not only abandon warmongering but also their maximal pressure campaign.”

If we are to lay culpability anywhere, it should be at the Obama White House, who bequeathed us with the legacy of this horrible deal and an emboldened Iranian empire that future world leaders will have to deal with. President Obama promised us that Iran would not get a nuclear bomb, “on my watch”.

He never promised that Iran would not get a nuclear bomb, on another President’s watch.

Following a script that they had used in the beginning of the nuclear negotiations with Obama, the Iranians are now playing coy with Trump’s signals to negotiate.

The Iranians invented the Persian shouk. They know how to negotiate and to get most of the world to beg them for our money, just to have them come to the table.

One hopes that the author of “The Art of the Deal” understands the words commonly attributed to Carl von Clausewitz, “Diplomacy is warfare by other means”.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/what-john-boltons-departure-might-signal/

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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