So maybe Trump and John Bolton aren’t so far apart on Iran after all – Washington Examiner
Last week, we saw a spate of articles, tweets, and opinion pieces making the case that national security adviser John Bolton was manipulating President Trump into a war with Iran.
The arguments were basically that Bolton was eager for war, which Trump opposed, but Bolton is pushing him into making decisions that are escalating tensions and that could then lead to war.
The narrative of a split between Trump and Bolton — and all the stories about “President Bolton” wielding the real power — portrayed a president unwittingly being pushed into policy decisions that cut against what he actually wants.
But it’s hard to reconcile that view with Trump’s latest tweet on Iran:
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
May 19, 2019
Trump certainly hasn’t gone far enough in dismantling the Iran deal as many hawks, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, would like. But he did exit the deal, reimpose many sanctions, and designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group. The groundwork for many of these decisions was laid before Bolton joined the administration. Bolton’s views toward Iran were not exactly a secret when he was tapped by Trump, and he isn’t exactly the person you’d pick in a key national security role if your goal is detente with Iran.
This isn’t to say there is no daylight between the two, but it isn’t as if Bolton is running some sort of rogue foreign policy operation.
All of this said, there are many stages between where we are now and war, which is still more unlikely than likely.