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24/06/2020 | US - Opinion: Bolton's temper tantrum

Caroline Glick

John Bolton's conduct, both during his White House tenure and since his departure, shows that he has failed to accept the fact that he was an adviser, not a decision-maker.

 

Former US national security adviser John Bolton's critics routinely refer to him as a neoconservative. But they are wrong. Bolton was never part of the neoconservative clique of Bush administration officials.

Neoconservatives are messianists and American imperialism is their replacement theology.

Neoconservatives view America as the Promised Land and Americans as the Chosen People. From their perspective, the Torah was superseded by the Declaration of Independence. The Torah will not go forth from Zion, but from Washington, and the world will reach a redemptive state – what Jews refer to as "Tikkun Olam" not when the nations of the world accept God's reign, but when the American empire brings democracy to all corners of the world.

Bolton, like President Donald Trump, disdains messianism. Like President Trump, his view of foreign policy is cut and dry. America is the good guy. It has enemies and allies. It is supposed to be good to its allies and bad to its enemies so that the people will want to be its allies and won't want to be its enemies.

This worldview stands at the base of Bolton's longstanding and firm support for Israel. Rightly, he views Israel as the US's only loyal ally in the Middle East. He recognizes that the stronger Israel is, the stronger the US is. For this reason, Bolton opposed the peace process with the PLO and Israel's unilateral withdrawals from its security zone in southern Lebanon and Gaza Strip. He rightly recognized that all of these moves weakened Israel and empowered its enemies, which are also America's enemies.

When Bolton ran a quixotic campaign in the Republican presidential primaries in 2012, many of his supporters hoped that at a minimum his run would help to position him as the Republican Party's national security standard-bearer. And when President Trump appointed Bolton to serve as his national security adviser in 2018, many were certain that working together, the two men would take America's superpower stature to new heights.

Alas, the two men's common sense of the general thrust of US national security policy did not translate into a good working relationship. And truth be told, the person most responsible for their inability to work together was Bolton, not Trump.

It gives me no pleasure to say this. I have known John Bolton for 15 years. Like Vice President Mike Pence, Bolton was kind enough to write a recommendation on the back cover of my book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East when it was published in 2014.

I met with Bolton during his tenure at the White House when he came to Jerusalem. And no less than the excerpts from his angry memoir of service in the White House, those meetings drove home the point that a common foreign policy vantage point is insufficient to form a basis for joint efforts. As he does in his book, which is due to be released this week, in our meetings Bolton complained that Trump has no foreign policy strategy.

But this is simply not true. The consistency of Trump's foreign policies across the board make clear that the President has a clear and well thought out strategic vision and operational perspective.

Trump's strategic goal is to make America stronger – first and foremost at home. Trump ventures into the world not to deter enemies or embrace allies per se. He goes out into the world to rebuild America's industrial base by bringing back the factories and firms that decamped to China and Mexico and other foreign lands over the past 30 years and taken millions of American jobs with them. Trump doesn't care about arms races for their own sakes. He cares about them because he wants America to be number one and because he wants more defense industries hiring more Americans in America. This "America First" perspective in turn has achieved the goals of deterrence and weakened America's enemies more quickly and effectively than military-based deterrence strategies that seek deterrence for its own sake.

This then brings us to Trump's operational perspective. Trump's preferred tool for advancing his foreign policy agenda is economic power, not military might. The 45th president has wielded economic sanctions and offensive economic policies to bolster America's global posture and advance its national interests more effectively and won greater success with them than anyone ever dreamed possible.

Bolton never understood what Trump was doing. And rather respect the businessman who came out of his gilded tower in Manhattan to run for the presidency and won, rather than try to understand and align his thinking with his boss, Bolton belittled Trump and his achievements. Towards the end of his tenure at the White House, Bolton seemed to reject Trump's very right to see the world in his own way.

The big break for Bolton, it seems, came on June 20, 2019. That day Iran's Revolutionary Guards shot down a US drone over the Straits of Hormuz.

Initially, Trump heeded the counsel of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Bolton and ordered a retaliatory strike against Iran. But at the last moment, Trump changed his mind and canceled the strike. When Bolton arrived in Israel several days later, he was beside himself with rage.

In his fury then and now, Bolton overlooked two simple facts. First, Trump is a politician. As such, he has considerations that unelected advisers do not have. As a former presidential candidate, Bolton might have been expected to understand that. But as national security adviser, Bolton clearly disregarded the importance politicians generally and Trump specifically places in maintaining loyalty to his voters.

Second, Bolton refused to see the forest from the trees. True, Trump refused to launch a direct retaliatory strike over the drone attack, and from a tit-for-tat perspective, his inaction may have looked like a sign of weakness. But it is inarguable that by June 2019, Trump's policy towards Iran was lightyears away from his predecessors' policies.

George W. Bush gave Iran a free pass for masterminding the deaths of hundreds of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Barack Obama legitimized Iran's nuclear weapons program and transferred billions to the ayatollahs.

Trump abandoned Obama's nuclear deal and instituted the harshest economic sanctions on Iran ever while supporting Israel's actions against Iran's clients in Syria.

At base, Bolton's conduct, both during his White House tenure and since his departure, is the behavior of a man who was unable to accept that he was an adviser to the president, not the president.

Rather than embrace the opportunity Trump gave him to have a seat at the table of the world's most powerful leader, Bolton begrudged Trump's position at the head of the table. Since leaving office, Bolton has dedicated himself to undermining the president whose only sin was failing to see the world through John Bolton's eyes.

https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/boltons-temper-tantrum/

 

**** Caroline B. Glick is a senior columnist at Breitbart News and the senior contributing and chief columnist for The Jerusalem Post. She is also a senior columnist for Maariv. She is the author of The Israeli Solution: A One State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, (Crown 2014) and of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad (Gefen 2008). The Israeli Solution was endorsed by leading US policymakers including Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz and National Security Advisor John Bolton. Shackled Warrior was endorsed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former CIA director James Woolsey.

Glick is the adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and directs the Israeli Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. She travels frequently throughout the world to brief policymakers on issues related to Israel’s strategic environment and other related topics. She lectures widely on strategic and political issues affecting global security, Israel and the Jewish people, US-Israel relations, Israel-Diaspora affairs and Israel’s changing strategic landscape.

In 2008 Glick founded Latma, the Hebrew language satirical media criticism website. She served as editor in chief of the site until it ceased operations in 2015.

Latma changed the face of Israel’s social media and revolutionized the Israeli entertainment industry by bringing an alternative voice to the popular culture. Latma launched “Hakol Shafit,” a primetime, half hour satirical newscast on Israel television Channel 1. Glick served as the editor in chief of the program.

Glick was born in Houston, TX and grew up in Chicago, IL. She moved to Israel in 1991, two weeks after receiving her BA in Political Science from Columbia University. She joined the Israel Defense Forces that summer and served as an officer for five and a half years.

From 1994-1996, as an IDF captain, Ms. Glick served in the Defense Ministry as a core member of Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians.

In 1997 and 1998 Ms. Glick served as Assistant Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

From 1998-2000 Ms. Glick studied at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and received a Master’s in Public Policy in June 2000.

In the summer of 2000 Ms. Glick returned to Israel and began writing at Makor Rishon newspaper, (Hebrew). She served as chief diplomatic commentator for Makor Rishon until January 2008.

In March 2002, Ms. Glick joined The Jerusalem Post as the newspaper’s Deputy Managing Editor and senior columnist. Today, as Senior Contributing Editor, Ms. Glick is the paper’s most widely read columnist. She began writing a weekly Hebrew language column for Maariv in 2014. She began writing at Breitbart in January 2018.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Ms. Glick covered the US-led invasion of Iraq as an embedded journalist with the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. Reporting for the Post, Maariv, Israel TV’s Channel 2 and the Chicago Sun Times, Ms. Glick was one of the only female journalists on the front lines with the US forces and the first Israeli journalist to report from liberated Baghdad.

Ms. Glick’s writings have also been published in leading newspapers and journals including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Review, the Journal of International Security Affairs, and Commentary. Glick blogs at her website www.carolineglick.com and on her Facebook author page.

Glick has received numerous awards for her commentary. Among others, she received the Ben Hecht award for Middle East reporting from the Zionist Organization of America, the Abramowitz Prize for Media Criticism by Israel Media Watch, the Guardian of Zion award by Bar Ilan University and the Courage of Zion Prize for Zionist pioneering by the Moskowitz Foundation.

The mother of sons and owner of two dogs, Ms. Glick lives in Efrat, in Gush Etzion.

Israel Hayom (Israel)

 



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