While touring the Middle East, including election-free Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for the Venezuelan opposition and armed forces to overthrow the current government under its president Nicolas Maduro. According to Pompeo, a coup is necessary to “restore democracy” after elections failed to produce the desired US outcome. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
The Wall Street Journal reports on Bolton’s eagerness to attack Iran last year:
President Trump’s National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former U.S. officials said.
The request, which hasn’t been previously reported, came after militants fired three mortars into Baghdad’s sprawling diplomatic quarter, home to the US Embassy, on a warm night in early September. The shells – launched by a group aligned with Iran – landed in an open lot and harmed no one.
But they triggered unusual alarm in Washington, where Mr. Trump’s national security team led by John Bolton conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response, including what many saw as the unusual request for options to strike Iran.
“It definitely rattled people,” a former senior US administration official said of the request. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
Bolton and like-minded Iran hawks have had a cavalier attitude about attacking Iran for years, so it should come as no surprise that Bolton has brought that same aggressive recklessness into government now that he is National Security Advisor. This episode shows how determined Bolton and his allies have been to turn any incident into a pretext for a larger conflict with Iran. It also shows how willing Bolton is to endorse military action regardless of the situation. The New York Times reported on the same story, and described Bolton’s habit of shutting out dissenting voices from the policy debate:
As the president’s national security adviser, he has largely eliminated the internal policy debates that could air high-level disagreements.
With the killing of opposition journalist Khashoggi safely out of the headlines and with the House refusing to hold a vote on US involvement in the Yemen war, the Trump Administration is back to its Plan A: Sell more weapons to the Saudis as the Saudis annihilate Yemen. The latest is a $200 million missile “defense” deal. Will the Democrat-controlled House reverse former Speaker Ryan and hold a vote on US participation in the Yemen war? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton (along with the Secretary of State and other neocons) are openly defying the president’s stated policy of a rapid withdrawal of US troops from Syria. The president does not seem too bothered by this open insubordination. Will he cave in to the neocons? Does it really matter? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Bolton is not giving up on keeping our illegal war in Syria going one way or another:
Some U.S. troops could remain in southern Syria for an undetermined amount of time even as American forces withdraw in coming months from the northern part of the country, a senior administration official said Friday.
Bolton’s comments are another piece of evidence that the Syria withdrawal announced last month won’t be as swift or complete as originally advertised. If there are any US forces staying in Syria for an “undetermined amount of time,” that would be a discouraging sign of how hard it has become for the US to liquidate any position overseas. That would mean that our illegal military presence continues without Congressional authorization, US forces would still be exposed to unnecessary risk in a country where they have no business being, and those troops would be tasked with “countering” Iran with even smaller numbers and fewer resources than they have now. It has all the flaws of the previous policy. Reducing the number of troops in an illegal war doesn’t fix the real problem. None of them should be there, and anything less than a full withdrawal just leaves the door open to a troop “surge” in the months and years that follow.