Donald Trumps national security adviser is stoking tensions with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, in line with decades of taking the most hawkish position on any given issue
Read more Donald Trumps 70-year-old national security adviser has been a fixture in US foreign policy over the past four decades, and has spent that time, whether in or out of government, mostly arguing for the most hawkish position on any issue put in front of him.
He actually believes when America leads, the world is a safer and better place – not just for us but for the world, said Mark Groombridge, who worked for Bolton for more than 10 years.
Though most of her friends are liberals, she sometimes socializes with conservatives too. According to friends, she loves to spar not just to hear the sound of her own voice but because she might learn something. After listening to someone elses point of view, shes been known to do something amazing—change her mind. Given the current climate, in which everyone seems to be retreating to angry and angrier corners, those who meet her find this expansiveness refreshing. Jennifer Senior, an op-ed columnist for the Times, disagreed with some of Weisss political opinions (shes to the left of Weiss on Israel, for example) but was curious about this new co-worker, who was, as Senior puts it, steering the aircraft into a cloud of flak. So Senior introduced herself. She was so adorable! I wanted to wrap her up in tissue paper and take her home with me. Young writers, such as Tariro Mzezewa, whove worked under Weiss in her capacity as editor, attest that shes consistently enthusiastic about ideas she may disagree with, even nurturing. She was the first person to put in my head that I could write an op-ed, says the Zimbabwe-born writer. Today, Senior says, I always marvel at the huge gulf between the Bari whos this Twitter bogeyman and Bari the actual person. She is the subject of more unexamined hatred in our profession than almost anyone I can think of. Shes the target of so much snark. The irony, and what almost breaks my heart, is that she has almost no snark in her. Shes super-generous and loving.
In the Obama era, Boltons bristling walrus moustache was a near constant presence on television, almost always Fox News, from where he would vent scorn and spleen on the Democratic administration.
The Trump administration isnt aiming for war with Iran — but that doesnt mean we should relax
These days, Bolton looks considerably more cheerful, having reached the peak of the policymaking establishment that had once seemed out of his reach.
Read more Bolton seems to have played a key role in the collapse of the second Trump summit with Kim Jong-un in February, when he appeared to have drafted a maximalist list of demands for all-or-nothing disarmament that was presented to the North Korean dictator in Hanoi. A year of diplomacy ground to a halt, and Kim, who had been expecting a more gradualist approach, has now started goading the US with a return to missile tests.
In the standoff in Venezuela, Bolton was again centre stage, making himself the lead US voice for a failed effort at regime change in Venezuela in late April, producing a personal video appeal calling – in vain – on Nicolás Maduros top aides to defect. Behind the scenes he has urged a reluctant US Southern Command to come up with ever more aggressive solutions to Maduros hold on power.
In April 2017, Weiss got an offer to work as both a staff editor and writer for the Timess opinion section, under James Bennet, who was looking to expand the spectrum of ideas. As an editor, she assigned (Vanity Fair contributor) Monica Lewinsky a piece about Roger Ailes and Fox Newss toxic environment, and she commissioned a piece by Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse Olympics gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. While those articles fit comfortably into the Timess progressive zone, her own did not. In Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader, she took on the babe.net story in which an anonymous woman accused Aziz Ansari of sexual misconduct because he didnt respond to her nonverbal cues during their date. Weiss charged that Grace had every opportunity to walk out, and that her story denied women agency. Some feminists werent pleased with Weisss take. Gabriella Kamran, an editor at U.C.L.A.s feminist news magazine, FEM, tweeted, Hey Bari, please do feminism and the entire profession of journalism a favor and stop writing. But Weiss had hit a nerve, including among Times readers. To them—and to some prominent feminist writers—Weiss was expressing a valid and growing fear about the movements overreach, a fear some were reluctant to state in public.
And in the fast-moving escalation of tensions with Iran, it is Bolton who has seized the initiative, spun military deployments in the Gulf that were already in the pipeline as confrontational steps against Tehran, and reportedly irritated some in the Pentagon and intelligence agencies by putting a sensationalist spin on intelligence about Iranian military movements.
Bolton is reported to have convened a deeply unusual meeting on Iran on 29 April, not in the White House, but at CIA headquarters. It was an echo of the buildup to the Iraq war, when Dick Cheney, George W Bushs vice-president, did the same thing.
It now appears likely that Iranian military preparations that the intelligence appeared to suggest, may have been contingencies in anticipation of a US attack – not an unrealistic expectation in view of Boltons record. In 2015, he savaged Obamas diplomatic efforts and penned a now infamous commentary titled To Stop Irans Bomb, Bomb Iran.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest John Bolton in typically pugnacious mood, inveighing against Iran while US ambassador to the United Nations in 2006. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA Bolton grew up in a working-class Republican family in Baltimore, and his first political experience was as a volunteer in the doomed 1964 campaign of Barry Goldwater, a staunch conservative from Arizona.
Bolton, who saw Goldwater as having been caricatured by the mainstream media, deepened his dislike of liberal eastern elites at Yale University, where he arrived in 1966 on a scholarship. Unlike many of his fellow students, he fiercely supported the war effort in Vietnam, but not to the point of taking part himself. He avoided the draft by joining the Maryland national guard.
Speaking to about 100 ambassadors from across the globe at Blair House on Wednesday, Kushner urged the group to keep an open mind about his plan, which could be unveiled in June. We will all have to look for reasonable compromises that will make peace achievable, Kushner said, according to Reuters. You might forgive the assembled diplomats for not being super jazzed about what Kushners got in store. During a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, King Abdullah II of Jordan—which borders the West Bank and has a majority-Palestinian population—reportedly told lawmakers that hed been given zero visibility into the most fraught part of the plan, i.e., how it proposes to divide Israeli and Palestinian territory. (You know, minor details.) According to two sources who spoke with Axios, the king seemed dissatisfied with the level of consultation and was pessimistic about the plans prospects, having privately told people he is frustrated by the fact that despite having numerous meetings with senior Trump administration officials, hes never been given any detail about the core political issues, in which Jordan has a huge interest.
He put his law degree to use as a counsel in the Reagan administration, and in 2000 Bolton was one of the Republican lawyers flown into Florida to help tilt the deadlocked election in Bushs favour.
In Bushs state department, Bolton went to work dismantling US diplomatic efforts. He gleefully described taking a hammer to the 1994 Agreed Framework deal with North Korea. It was already fraying but it had at least kept Pyongyangs plutonium production in check for seven years. The Bush team ruled out talks with the rogue regime, but, argued Christopher Hill, a former US lead negotiator, it had no workable alternative.
You would think John Bolton wanted to invade North Korea, Hill said. I never saw him put on a helmet, pick up a gun, so Im not sure what he had in mind with that.
This is someone who does not have an interactive mind. He has his perspective, his position, and thats the end of it, Hill added.
This man is different from anyone I have met in my life. He doesnt allow for a dialogue. Its just brute force
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In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Bolton was serving as under-secretary for arms control in the state department. He was not making the policy, but he was enforcing it.
In one telling episode, he was dispatched to The Hague to get rid of the director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a Brazilian diplomat called José Bustani, who had convinced Libya and Iraq to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention. That would have undermined the case for war with Saddam Hussein, and Washington was furious, insisting Bustani had exceeded his mandate. Bolton arrived in the Netherlands in February 2002 with an ultimatum.
He came to my office and said: You have 24 hours to quit, and this is the instruction from Mr Dick Cheney, Bustani recalls. Bustani refused, pointing out he had only recently been elected for a second term with US support. And then Bolton said: you better think it over, because we know where your kids are.
Bustanis two sons were working in New York at the time. Bustani was stunned and held his ground, but to no avail. The Bush administration convened a special conference of member states and ultimately forced Bustani out.
It was a very unhappy experience, Bustani said. This man is different from anyone I have met in my life. He doesnt allow for a dialogue. You dont discuss anything with him. Its just brute force, thats all.
Boltons management style came back to haunt him when he applied for his next job, as US ambassador to the UN, in 2005. The Senate refused to confirm him, and Bush had to bypass Congress altogether, putting him in the post with a temporary appointment that ended in 2006.
He spent his years outside government in high-paying jobs at the American Enterprise Institute, the premier conservative intellectual hub in Washington, as a Fox News pundit, and most notably a paid speaker for the cult-like Iranian opposition group, the Peoples Mojahedin Organisation (MeK), which was for many years categorised as a terrorist group by the US and EU.
Trump has joked with other officials and foreign leaders that Bolton wanted to get him into a war. I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing, the president told reporters last Thursday.
But there have been reports that the joke may be wearing thin and that Trump is growing concerned about the direction Bolton is leading him.
John played Trump like a Stradivarius, Groombridge, Boltons former aide, said. John understands and knows the president very well … He knows to keep it very simple.
[But] I think his influence has waned in the last month or so because he was, unfortunately, in my opinion, factually wrong about the strength of opposition in Venezuela. And now youve got a number of people squabbling … about whats going on with respect to Iran.
Groombridge added: The problem is that we have a president who is so mercurial that you know he could wake up at four in the morning and just randomly tweet: John is gone.
President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on reporters Friday, saying unnamed sources were bulls**t in a story describing White House infighting about Iran policy.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Trumps decisions about whether to take military action against Tehran following a series of aggressive provocations hung in the balance until he told his acting Pentagon chief that he didnt want to wage war.
Times reporters also wrote that Trump sees National Security Advisor John Bolton as a saber-rattler who would march the U.S. to war in the Middle East without a countervailing force to balance his hawkish tendencies.
The story was based on unnamed sources who the Times said were present during a meeting in the White Houses ultra-secure Situation Room.
You know, they say, “Confidential sources.” Did you ever notice, they never write the names of people anymore? Trump asked during a Washington, D.C. speech to the National Association of Realtors.
Everything is, “A source says–” There is no source, he said. The person doesnt exist. The persons not alive.
President Donald Trump is steamed at The New York Times over a report that he told top military aides he doesnt want open war with Iran; on Friday he called the use of anonymous sources in the article bulls**t