Trump’s Bolton appointment sends ‘thundering message to the world’

According to Israeli analysts, Trump reasserted the US’ right to unilateral military action by appointing former UN Ambassador John Bolton to the post of National Security Adviser.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News and AP

US President Donald Trump’s pick of John Bolton for his next national security adviser stirred up the same burning question in Washington as in anxious foreign capitals: Just how much will his hawkish, confrontational approach rub off on Trump? As he confronts matters of war and peace with North Korea and Iran, Trump is bringing in an adviser likely to magnify many of his own instinctive qualities: hard-hitting, fiercely nationalistic and eager to confront US adversaries.

Bolton’s pick rounds out a team that in Trump’s second year will be compromised almost entirely of hawks whose public views on national security veer decidedly to the right. The appointment of Bolton sent shockwaves through the diplomatic and military communities, and on social media, fueling speculation that the prospects for global confrontation are increasing. Two State Department officials and two Western diplomats in Washington said Friday that their offices are now operating under the assumption that Trump will almost surely pull out of the Iran deal. Bolton has tweeted that withdrawal should be “a top priority” and that US policy should be “aimed at regime change in Tehran.”

Deputy Minister and former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren said, “Bolton’s appointment sends an unequivocal message to Iran that the days of the terrible nuclear agreement are coming to an end.”

A White House official told the Haaretz daily Friday that Bolton, who has in the past spoken against a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, would not change the Trump administration’s policy there.

‘Potent and robust US foreign policy’

Mark Zell, head of Republicans in Israel, told World Israel News (WIN), “The appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser underscores the administration’s commitment to creating a potent and robust US foreign policy particularly vis-a-vis foreign actors determined to breach the international consensus against use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Veteran Israeli diplomat Ambassador Yoram Ettinger told WIN, “The appointment of Bolton serves as a thundering message to the world that the US is serious about overhauling and upgrading its posture of deterrence which was severely eroded during Bush’s second term and during the eight years of the Obama presidency. The message is that aggressors must take into consideration that the US reserves the right of unilateral military action rather than waiting for multi-lateral military actions. The US will no longer push the military option to the corner but rather will keep it as a realistic option. This is a departure from the policy of concessions made to aggressors, upholding the common sense policy that concessions add petrol to the fire.”

Regarding relations with Israel, Ettinger said, “The appointment of Bolton reaffirms the message that Israel is a very special national security ally and a strategic outpost in a critical area for US national security. Bolton recognizes that the Palestinian issue should be in the remote back seat and that the primary threats to US interests are the Ayatollahs and terror groups.”

Questioning the very notion of ‘Palestine’

In a 2014 column in the Washington Times, Bolton questioned the very notion of “Palestine” and suggested the territories its people occupy be handed to Egypt and Jordan.

“The only logic underlying the demand for a Palestinian state is the political imperative of Israel’s opponents to weaken and encircle the Jewish state, thereby minimizing its potential to establish secure and defensible borders,” Bolton wrote. “As long as Washington’s diplomatic objective is the ‘two-state solution’ – Israel and “Palestine” – the fundamental contradiction between this aspiration and the reality on the ground will ensure it never comes into being.”

Dan Diker from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs told WIN, “Bolton has stood out among US diplomats and officials for decades as a man who truly understands the acute strategic danger of the Iranian race for regional supremacy. He is also a security pioneer in warning the world about North Korea’s capabilities and criminal behavior. Bolton has expressed outstanding sensitivity toward the existential dangers facing Israel from Iran. He has also consistently said that Israeli security and diplomatic assessments have been on target.”