Former national security adviser John Bolton, who was terminated from his position in the Trump cabinet a few weeks ago is apparently ready to publicly voice his disagreements with the president on foreign policy as it pertains to North Korea.
Edited by: Fern Sidman
According to a report in the Washington Examiner, Bolton addressed an audience on Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; a Washington, DC think tank. He explicated that he is speaking in the capacity of a private citizen now and as such is able to put forth his own personal opinions about the trajectory of North Korea. Saying that he would “speak in unvarnished terms” Bolton called North Korea a “grave and growing threat.” The report in the Washington Examiner indicated that the ousted national security advisor warned that North Korea has not made a strategic decision to relinquish its nuclear weapons despite Trump’s attempt to forge a relationship with dictator Kim Jong Un.
CNN reported that Trump has made repeated attempts to cultivate Kim as a friend in order to convince him to abrogate his nuclear program.
“Under current circumstances he will never give up the nuclear weapons voluntarily,” Bolton said.
“In fact, I think the contrary is true,” Bolton said. “I think the strategic decision that Kim Jong Un is operating through is that he will do whatever he can to keep a deliverable nuclear weapons capability.”
Bolton was proven prescient once again when on Wednesday it was reported that North Korea fired a ballistic missile from an underwater launch platform, according to a United States official who told CNN. The missile launch came only a day after Pyongyang and Washington agreed to resume nuclear talks, according to CNN.
CNN reported that the US assessed that the missile was not fired from a submarine although the tested missile is designed to function as a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the US official, who was familiar with the situation, said.
The missile was launched toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, Wednesday morning, South Korea’s military said. While North Korea has launched from an underwater platform before, it is the first time it has done so since talks with President Trump, according to the CNN report.
“Currently, our forces are maintaining readiness posture while watching related movements in preparation against additional launches,” South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement Wednesday.
Bolton’s recent statements on North Korea are in sharp contrast to Trump’s public statements indicating that previous talks with Kim have been highly productive in terms of the North Korean leader considering a reduction of his nuclear arsenal.
Trump has asserted that Kim has “kept his word” when it comes to nuclear and missile testing. North Korea, however, has given little indication that it is ready to denuclearize, according to the report in the Washington Examiner.
Bolton dismissed the view that was cited by Trump that his strategy with Kim is working because North Korea has not conducted nuclear and long-range missile testing as of late. Such testing had at one time been a fairly regular practice. According to a CNN report, Bolton said that the reason that Pyongyang has ceased these testing practices is that the technology is already in place.
“I am delighted to be here today. I’m also sure the leadership of North Korea is delighted I am here today in a private capacity, at least that’s what I’ve read,” Bolton said to his audience at the DC based think tank. “Perhaps they’ll be a little less delighted now that I can speak in unvarnished terms about the grave and growing threat that the north Korean nuclear weapons program poses to international peace and security.”
Earlier this month, Trump fired Bolton through a Tweet. Bolton, however, said that he offered the president his resignation the night before he learned of his firing.
A veritable panoply of political pundits had opined that the sudden but not totally unexpected termination of Bolton would be interpreted as a gift of sorts to such rogue nations as Iran. Iran is an example of a nation that consistently viewed Bolton as a military hawk in the Trump administration and someone who had no problem advising the president to possibly initiate a military strike on them or even the imposition of harsher sanctions if Iran became way too bellicose in its posture towards America and the Western world.
Bolton also raised the so-called “Libya model” for denuclearization again. When Bolton first mentioned it last year this model enraged Trump since the commander in chief believed that such a statement seemed to place a dark shadow on his diplomatic efforts with Kim.
Describing the current situation with North Korea as a “classic standoff,” Bolton said the country’s leaders “want a piece of something that we should not be prepared to give them,” according to a CNN report.
While Bolton voiced his foreign policy perspectives in a public fashion on Monday his comments were subdued when compared to those he uttered at a private event hosted by the Gatestone Institute in New York City earlier this month. The former US ambassador to the United Nations did not hold back on offering sharp criticism to the strategic approach Trump was taking to Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.
CNN reported that one attendee commented that, “Bolton didn’t have anything positive to say about Trump.”
Bolton said the now defunct idea of inviting the Taliban to Camp David was “disrespectful” to the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but did not mention Trump by name, according to the attendee.
As CNN previously reported, Bolton and Trump got into a heated argument over the President’s plan to host the Taliban leaders in the days before the 18th anniversary of the attacks, and Bolton did not acquiesce, according to two people who are familiar with what occurred said.
One senior official confirmed this argument happened in the Oval Office and at the end of the meeting, the President asked Bolton for his resignation, according to the CNN report.
On Wednesday, World Israel News reported that Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were on the verge of direct communication, but Rouhani pulled out at the last minute, according to a report by POLITICO, citing French sources.
According to the American news outlet, French President Emmanuel Macron, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly gathering in New York last week, succeeded in getting Trump and Rouhani to agree on a four-point document designed to bring Iran and the U.S. back to the negotiating table, as was reported by World Israel News.
The four points in the document reportedly included that Iran would “fully comply with its nuclear obligations and commitments and will accept a negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear activities.”
World Israel News reported that both parties were to “refrain from any aggression and will seek genuine peace and respect in the region through negotiations,” as was detailed in the report.
The agreement was also to include that the U.S. lift would “lift all the sanctions re-imposed since 2017,” said POLITICO, and that Iran would have the “full ability to export its oil and freely use its revenues.”
However, ultimately the Iranian and U.S. presidents did not meet because Rouhani insisted that Trump first declare that he would lift the U.S. sanctions, according to the officials cited by POLITICO.
As an alternative, Macron tried to arrange a phone call between the two leaders. The time reportedly had even been set: 9 p.m last Tuesday.
However, POLITICO reports, Rouhani refused to participate even in the phone conversation.
For its part, Tehran is blaming Trump for the failure of the French diplomatic effort, according to the World Israel News article.
“By maintaining sanctions, Trump showed he is not determined to hold talks,” maintained Ali Rabiei, an Iranian government spokesman, cited by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).
“The U.S. is directly responsible that the dialogue was not held…Washington should mend our distrust caused by its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But such an attempt is not witnessed in U.S. behavior,” the spokesman added.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the official name of the Iran nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Tehran and six world powers including the U.S. Obama administration. Trump announced in May 2018 that Washington was withdrawing from the pact.
In a related development, World Israel News reported last week that Abbas Nilforoushan, deputy commander of operations of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has said that Israel is not in a position to threaten Iran, and nothing will be left of Israel if they tried to launch an attack.
“Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides. Nothing will be left of Israel,” he said in an interview with Tasnim news agency.
“If Israel makes a strategic mistake, it has to collect bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea,” he added.
Nilforoushan asserted in the interview that no country can stand up to the Islamic Republic.
“Tehran’s enemies know that the they will not be in control of ending a war they might start against Iran,” he said.”If the enemies could have started a war against Iran, they would have done it.”
The IRGC commander also claims that Israel is incapable of entering a full-blown war because of its lack of strategic depth and internal divisions. (World Israel News)
Read more at: worldisraelnews.com