The departure of National Security Adviser John Bolton from the Trump administration left everyone with a number of questions. First and foremost, did he quit or was he fired? If you’re asked to resign, that’s a little bit of both, right? We’ll probably have to wait for the next series of tell-all books to come out to have a better idea.
But there’s one group of people who probably don’t care how it happened. They’re just glad to see him gone. No, I’m not talking about Tucker Carlson, who mysteriously claimed that Bolton was “fundamentally a man of the left” last night. Nor are we discussing the many Democrats who were setting off fireworks in celebration, simply grateful that Bolton hadn’t talked Trump into another war. No, I’m speaking of the leadership in Iran. No sooner had the news broken than they were out congratulating the President on this decision and calling for an end to the “warmongering” ways of the former UN Ambassador.
Iran’s president urged the U.S. on Wednesday to “put warmongers aside” as tensions roil the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between Washington and Tehran in the wake of the collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.
Hassan Rouhani’s remarks signaled approval of President Donald Trump’s abrupt dismissal of John Bolton as national security adviser. Bolton had been hawkish on Iran and other global challenges.
Rouhani’s website quoted him as further urging the U.S. to “abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy” on Iran. He spoke at a Cabinet meeting in Tehran.
I don’t know what Rouhani’s been smoking in his hookah lately, but I suspect they should be prepared for some serious disappointment. To think that all (or even most) of our policy toward Iran was coming from John Bolton whispering in the President’s ear is more than a bit of a stretch. Trump was planning to get tough on Iran before he was even elected and it was his plan to ditch the nuclear deal and apply sanctions if Iran didn’t show some progress on eliminating their secret nuclear program.
Granted, John Bolton certainly put a more militaristic spin on things than the President generally does. And I won’t deny that he probably wouldn’t have been terribly upset if we’d wound up in a shooting war over there, but that really hasn’t been Donald Trump’s style. Aside from some missile attacks in Syria, he’s generally been quite reluctant to expand our military adventures abroad.
I’m fairly sure that Donald Trump doesn’t want to go down in the history books as the President who started another war that couldn’t be finished before he left office. In fact, despite the criticism he had for Barack Obama over pulling out of Iraq, Trump has seemed more than determined to get us out of Afghanistan. Unfortunately for him, there just isn’t a clean way to do it.
Getting back to Iran, the rest of Rouhani’s complaints were centered on Trump’s policies of “maximum pressure” and sanctions designed to force that country into compliance and cooperation with the IAEA. And again, those were not policies that were cooked up solely by John Bolton. Expecting them to change drastically now that he’s gone simply seems unrealistic.