KER Politics – Mon 20 May, 2019

Here is an editorial that answers my question posted at the end of Dr. Ullman’s weekly column. A very good editorial, by the way!

John Bolton is exactly what Trump needs in Iran

BY ELI LAKE Bloomberg News

If there’s one thing Democrats and ayatollahs agree on these days, it’s that John Bolton is trying to start a war with Iran. President Donald Trump has said that he is open to negotiations and does not want a war, but his mustachioed national security adviser will not abide.

Popular as it may be in Washington, this theory has it backwards. Bolton’s antipathy toward Iran is well-known and longstanding, but the current administration strategy is not aimed at starting a war with Iran. It’s designed to avoid one.

Nevertheless, the anti-Bolton theme has been the centerpiece of a public diplomacy campaign for Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. He consistently derides what he calls the “B-team,” referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan and, of course, John Bolton. Zarif’s strategy is transparent: Blame Bolton to take the focus off Iran’s own escalations.

Many leading Democrats are on the same page. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, last week urged Trump to disregard Bolton’s counsel unless he wants “to stumble into a new and devastating military conflict.” Senator Bernie Sanders was even more alarmist, saying this week that Bolton wants to lie America into a war with Iran, just like he did with Iraq.

None of this is new. The Iranian regime, like the North Koreans and Venezuelans, has hated Bolton for years. As recently as 2015, Bolton openly advocated bombing Iran’s nuclear program, and before he joined the Trump administration he accepted paid speaking gigs for an Iranian opposition group that has attacked regime targets. Democrats’ enmity toward Bolton also has deep roots, dating to 2005, when they derailed his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations over accusations of hyping intelligence and being mean to subordinates.

For his part, Bolton seems to enjoy all the loathing. When he was undersecretary of state for arms control in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton displayed in his office the framed front page of Iranian newspaper denouncing him.

But now he works for the Trump administration, whose current Iran strategy is to bring a combination of crippling sanctions and diplomatic pressure to force the regime to dismantle its nuclear program and end its regional predations. Two senior State Department officials on Thursday told a small group of columnists there were no plans for an Iraq-style invasion. And they’re right. If there were, the White House would be working with Congress on a war resolution and establishing a casus belli.

So what explains the recent flurry of public statements and military deployment? They are best seen as tools of deterrence, not aggression. This is the message Secretary of State Mike Pompeo communicated to America’s European allies this week, when he asked them to use their channels to Tehran to urge the regime de-escalate.

Iran has historically attacked U.S. targets with its proxies when it assesses it will not face direct military reprisals. Iran used proxy forces to lay roadside bombs during the U.S. war in Iraq, for example, because its judgment at the time was that Bush lacked the support, in Congress or with the public, to respond with a strike inside Iranian territory. (In retrospect, this assessment was correct.) When Iran believes the U.S. will use force, however, it backs off. Iran has not mined the Persian Gulf, despite occasional threats to do so, because the U.S demonstrated three decades ago that it will destroy the Iranian navy if it tries.

This is where Bolton comes in: He’s kind of a one-man psychological warfare operation. If Iran’s leaders believe Trump’s advisers are trying to constrain him, they may assess they can get away with a proxy attack on U.S. positions. If they think Trump is trying to constrain his national security adviser, they may decide not to.

Bolton himself seems to understand this. I am told he deliberately brought a yellow pad to the White House podium earlier this year during a briefing on Venezuela that said “5,000 troops to Colombia.” The idea was to persuade Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro not to imprison or attack the opposition. So far, that bet has worked. Bolton may be following a similar strategy with Iran, with recent reports that he had ordered the Pentagon to provide war plans if Iran restarted its drive for a nuclear bomb.

Of course, this strategy is fraught. As tensions rise, so does the risk of miscalculation. And while the older generation of Iranian officers remembers when the U.S. sunk its navy, says Michael Rubin, an Iran expert at the American Enterprise Institute, the younger generation “knows only American weakness.”

It’s fair to point out the risks. It’s irresponsible to allege some kind of conspiracy to trick the U.S. into a war. It’s understandable why Zarif would push this nonsense; less so is why any Democrat would.

Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI

  1. On May 20, 2019 at 1:18 pm,
    larry says:

    But why here and now is Iran such a problem?….Timing a blow up to blam the market correction…This is a tactical war for Trump….A war Trump agrees with if the timing of the conflict promotes the market recovery by mid 2020…..A war of covienience….A war to rally the market to new highs and to proclaim Americas military is Back!….As long as the win is overwhelming, which we assume is the outcome…

    • On May 20, 2019 at 1:45 pm,
      Al B Korelin says:

      Logical, of course, Larry. But then again that is assuming that the President is really without scruples.
      I am going out for about a forty five minute walk to clear my head. After that I will be back to this forum.

  2. On May 20, 2019 at 1:19 pm,
    Silverdollar says:

    Bolton is in the same neo-con camp as Cheney, Wolfowitz, and others who delighted in convincing ‘George the minor’ taking us into Iraq; the greatest strategic blunder since Vietnam. Why is it that the war mongers never participate? Some on this page didn’t care for McCain but at least he put his body on the line, unlike many others whom I refer to as chicken hawks. Bolton’s guidance in Venezuela hasn’t worked out too well and neither will a war with Iran.

    • On May 20, 2019 at 1:49 pm,
      Al B Korelin says:

      Your comment about “life and the line” is one of my big complaints within the context of what is going on right now.

      I agree that Bolton’s guidance in Venezuela hasn’t worked out too well up until now and that the same will probably be true for Iran unless he is simply being used as a scare tactic. We shall see.

      Back in about 45 minutes as I mentioned above.

  3. On May 20, 2019 at 2:55 pm,
    cfs says:

    In my opinion the U.S. cannot win an on-the-ground war, against China.
    And as long as China and Russia are allies, that also means the U.S. cannot win a conventional war against Russia.

    Russia realizes that it (unlike the Soviet Union) cannot spend unlimited amounts on arms.
    The U.S. is still spending substantially unlimited amounts on arms to stay ahead technologically of its enemies. This is a drag on the U.S. economy.
    If Russia, via the Skolkolof project and bribery, or the Chinese by direct spying are allowed to gain U.S. technology, then the U.S. is going to drain itself into a slow collapse.
    It is only by superior technology and KEEPING itself ahead that the U.S. can remain the World’s number one superpower. I think Trump understands this. He has attempted to gest NATO members to contribute more. Trump has tried to reduce military action in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, but at the same time is aware that he cannot leave a vacuum.
    I remain of the opinion action in and around Iran is solely for the purpose of keeping the Strait of Hormuz open.

    • On May 20, 2019 at 8:36 pm,
      Al Korelin says:

      Technologically, I suppose that America is still the number one “super power”. I do have to wonder just how long that will last. Remember that the Russians and the Chinese are not stupid races. With the current strengthening of the Progressives, the balance could easily shift, don’t you think?

      I way this because I think that the Progressives are much more interested in equal rights for gays and other societal issues than in maintaining the strength of America. They seem to disregard that we continue to be in the sights of many of the world’s large powers. Those folks could easily beat us psychologically as I think they are currently doing so it may not come to a “shooting war”. This is one of the reasons that I think that the upcoming election is so important. I could go on and on writing about my philosophy on this point, but I know that you get my drift.

      • On May 20, 2019 at 10:03 pm,
        cfs says:

        Military research is very expensive, working on the very frontier of technology.
        One has first to do the pure research, going down many dead ends, even with the best intentions, before breakthoughs are achieved.
        I have no doubt that intellectually Chinese and Russians are a match for Americans, but do they have the individualism necessary to explore the unknown; for it is often the mistakes made that lead to purely new discoveries and it is freedom to make mistakes that is absent in a “controlled” society.

        • On May 21, 2019 at 10:00 am,
          Al Korelin says:

          I never realized that the “freedom to make mistakes” was absent in a controlled society. How can serious research exist without it?

      • On May 21, 2019 at 6:03 am,
        larry says:

        I agree AL…The relentless focus of education on social issues, sex identification, social warriors etc………Well that is the opposite of focusing on education as in mathematics, engineering biochemistry….America has a special visa program to keep the foreign students here following their high tech training……Apparently america could never raise a sufficiently healthy army ever again as in world war two……Some how liberqals have been smart enough to control education and other key positions and it is working along with welfare illegals…They can swing the votes….

        • On May 21, 2019 at 10:02 am,
          Al Korelin says:

          As always, you make a valid point, Larry.

  4. On May 20, 2019 at 3:07 pm,
    cfs says:

    The two more missile attacks today from Yemen against Saudi Pipelines, are dangerous.
    Luckily they were shot down, but Iran may well prompt a retaliatory attack, since most know Iran is the source of missiles given to the Houthi rebels.

  5. On May 20, 2019 at 3:45 pm,
    Al B Korelin says:

    I hope, as silly as this sounds, that there is retaliation. Iran deserves it for sure.

    • On May 20, 2019 at 5:47 pm,
      b says:
    • On May 20, 2019 at 5:52 pm,
      b says:
      • On May 20, 2019 at 8:41 pm,
        Al Korelin says:

        b, of course this is tragic as are many other really sad even currently occurring. We can legally demonstrate against our involvement in these events. I think that you know where I stand being the bleeding heart that I am! Collateral damage is a tremendous tragedy. My question to you is, “who is really at fault in the death of these kids?

        • On May 21, 2019 at 8:45 am,
          b says:

          Albright and our great heroin Hillary tell us, killing children is worth it.

          I have no idea who is at fault.

          • On May 21, 2019 at 10:05 am,
            Al Korelin says:

            I can’t believe that anyone could ever say something like that!

          • On May 21, 2019 at 10:17 am,
            Al Korelin says:


    • On May 20, 2019 at 5:58 pm,
      b says:

      US-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombs Yemen School, Killing Mostly Children

      • On May 20, 2019 at 10:18 pm,
        cfs says:

        Houthi terrorist attack against Aramco’s two pumping stations was ordered by the Iranian regime (May 16), with no regard to Yemen and international efforts aiming to find a political solution.
        Did the Iranians not expect the Saudis to strike back?
        War is Hell.

        • On May 21, 2019 at 8:54 am,
          b says:

          US supplied bomb that killed 40 children on Yemen school bus | World …

          Just think of all the friends we will have in 20 years.

  6. On May 20, 2019 at 3:46 pm,
    Al B Korelin says:

    Back in front of my computer and ready for comments.

  7. On May 20, 2019 at 4:04 pm,
    cfs says:

    The Democrats appear to be seeking records back even further than the I.R.S. demands records be kept!

    No charge filed against Trump…..just looking!

    • On May 20, 2019 at 4:09 pm,
      OOTB Jerry says:

      Really a SICK GROUP OF MORONS………..

      • On May 20, 2019 at 8:44 pm,
        Al Korelin says:

        You know where I stand on this issue (sick morans) Jerry.

    • On May 20, 2019 at 4:15 pm,
      cfs says:

      My memory is long…..
      Johnny Chung?
      Charlie Chi?
      or how about the Lippo Group and the millions of FOREIGN dollars filtered to the Clinton campaign?

      • On May 20, 2019 at 4:24 pm,
        OOTB Jerry says:

        Those names , do ring a bell………Clintons , what a group….

        • On May 20, 2019 at 4:26 pm,
          OOTB Jerry says:

          Really sad, the American people have been conned for such a long time……

          • On May 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            Chicago’s new Mayor…… a sight to be hold…….even the mafia gave up……lol

      • On May 20, 2019 at 5:20 pm,
        cfs says:

        It’s not just film stars wearing shades!

      • On May 20, 2019 at 8:48 pm,
        Al Korelin says:

        Remember prior to the 2016 election I asked the question, “We will now find out just how strong the Clinton family is.” Well, we did not find out then; however now it is becoming obvious. They are pretty darn strong. I am looking forward to seeing the movie.

  8. On May 20, 2019 at 4:09 pm,
    cfs says:
  9. On May 20, 2019 at 4:31 pm,
    cfs says:

    My biggest concern (China’s Trump Card) is an export ban on rare earths…

    • On May 20, 2019 at 8:50 pm,
      Al Korelin says:

      My opinion? That will happen sooner rather than later. As I have said many times, the Chinese are far from stupid.

    • On May 20, 2019 at 4:57 pm,
      OOTB Jerry says:

      It is not up to Trump nor Kushner , to FILE THE REPORT……IT is the BANK’s problem…..

      • On May 21, 2019 at 1:23 pm,
        OOTB Jerry says:

        Trump and Kushner ,just working for the Zionist……

    • On May 20, 2019 at 8:53 pm,
      Al Korelin says:

      We discussed the concept of 5g networks at a Book Club Meeting, as I mentioned earlier, and the health issues resulting from the number of towers needed could be staggering. I would bet however; that these issues will be solved before they become serious.

  10. On May 20, 2019 at 4:50 pm,
    cfs says:

    I have sold all my bank-related stock holdings:

    • On May 20, 2019 at 5:31 pm,
      larry says:

      /Es the market may chop around this week…Sort of trade lower into this Friday into the long weekend….Markets change character after long weekends……Then the C to D leg up since this recent trading cycle low…… Up after the long holiday next into fund buying at the end of the month…..Then sell that D point in the expected gartley sell…Then see what happens …all of this is subject to change…..Buuut this could be a top of significance in the making…..Who knows and Who is out fishing…..

      • On May 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm,
        Al Korelin says:

        I am definitely not out fishing, Larry. We recently changed the complexion of our entire financial holdings.

  11. On May 20, 2019 at 5:28 pm,
    cfs says:

    So Durham is getting all of Huber’s investigations!

  12. On May 20, 2019 at 6:04 pm,
    George says:

    Gitmo will be renamed “Comey Island”.

  13. On May 20, 2019 at 6:06 pm,
    cfs says:
  14. On May 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm,
    larry says:

    Not good enough probability of success in the next presidential elections

  15. On May 20, 2019 at 8:34 pm,
    cfs says:
    • On May 20, 2019 at 9:00 pm,
      Al Korelin says:

      That committee has not been formed yet and it probably never will!

      • On May 20, 2019 at 9:14 pm,
        cfs says:

        Au Contaire, Big One.

        Lynch testimony contradicts Comey’s testimony regarding HRC Emails investigation.
        Loretta Lynch specifically denies telling Comey to call it a “matter”.

        • On May 20, 2019 at 9:16 pm,
          cfs says:

          oops…….contraire not contaire…..typing too fast.

          • On May 21, 2019 at 5:08 am,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            A Con Air Flight …. for Hilly Billy and Lynch… Gitmo would be the best thing for the country …. 🙂

          • On May 21, 2019 at 10:29 am,
            Al Korelin says:

            You are typing too fast and I am, at times, not thinking fast enough. i am forgetting fast enough though!

  16. On May 20, 2019 at 8:43 pm,
    Chartster says:

    This is how it’s probably going to roll.

  17. On May 20, 2019 at 8:57 pm,
    cfs says:
  18. On May 20, 2019 at 9:08 pm,
    cfs says:
  19. On May 20, 2019 at 10:33 pm,
    cfs says:

    Kereport beats Hannity by a couple of hours in News info!

  20. On May 21, 2019 at 4:53 am,
    cfs says:
  21. On May 21, 2019 at 5:17 am,
    cfs says:

    Here comes the hammer back:

  22. On May 21, 2019 at 9:42 am,
    OOTB Jerry says:

    Dipping into the HONEY POT………….Eli Cummings …and Wife…….need an AUDIT.. 🙂
    How about coughing up the TAX RETURNs….
    An ethics watchdog has filed a complaint with the IRS accusing Rep. Elijah Cummings’ wife, Maya Rockeymoore, of potentially using a charity to derive “illegal private benefit” for the couple, according to the Washington Examiner.

    • On May 21, 2019 at 9:44 am,
      OOTB Jerry says:

      Dang this guy gets around……..
      The couple married in 2008. Cummings was once heavily in debt — in part due to hefty child support payments to his first wife and two other women he had children with — but his financial situation has improved considerably over the past decade. -Washington Examiner

      • On May 21, 2019 at 9:46 am,
        OOTB Jerry says:

        GPS was awarded over $6.2 million in grants between 2013 and 2016 according to tax filings, while the nonprofit CGPS received backing from the likes of Google, JP Morgan and Prudential – which have business before the House Oversight Committee – currently chaired by Elijah Cummings.
        I think he got the idea …….from Hilly and Billy…….lol

        • On May 21, 2019 at 9:49 am,
          OOTB Jerry says:

          And Old Eli , wants Trump’s tax returns…………….

          • On May 21, 2019 at 1:25 pm,
            OOTB Jerry says:

            If, Old Eli gets hold of Trump’s tax return…..more than Trump will be going to jail….
            will show all the big con games going on in NY zionist parties…

  23. On May 21, 2019 at 1:21 pm,
    OOTB Jerry says:

    Nothing is going to happen……It is just a BIG CON GAME…….

    • On May 21, 2019 at 1:55 pm,
      b says:

      Did you happen to look at those versus in kjv I mentioned the other day?
      About the start of david.

      I was interested in your opinion.