10 September 2019   Leave a comment

National Security Adviser John Bolton has left the Trump Administration. You can choose to think that he was fired or simply resigned because there are competing stories. Dexter Filkins of The New Yorker wrote a very interesting piece on Bolton last April if you want to read a fairly long backgrounder on his policies. I have no doubt that we will be learning more about the dismissal over the next few days–Bolton is not someone who will go quietly into the night. But his departure is not at all surprising (and I am am absolutely delighted that he is gone). The New York Times describes his legacy:

“Instead, Mr. Bolton decided to break the interagency system that had served as the heart of American foreign policy for over seven decades. Driven by confidence in his own ideas about what government should do and how it should run, he had in mind something closer to Roosevelt’s juggling: The president in a room with the national security adviser and a few aides making decisions about most important issues in the world. To realize that plan, Mr. Bolton included fewer people in meetings, made council sessions far less regular, and raced to always be by Mr. Trump’s side. There was no longer a National Security Council, in effect, just a national security adviser.

“Mr. Bolton broke government and then it broke him. As the national security adviser, he pushed for a hard line on North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Afghanistan. But without a structure behind him, Mr. Bolton was increasingly alone trying sell positions that were a hard sell to Mr. Trump, who is much less an ideologue and much harder to pin down. Eventually, Mr. Trump split with Mr. Bolton and began consulting with outsiders like the Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. When Mr. Bolton fell out with the president, the ad hoc system collapsed right along with him, as reports over the messy decision-making on the proposed Afghanistan peace deal and talks demonstrate.”

President Trump will now have to pick his fourth National Security Adviser in 3 years. US allies no longer know who to talk to or who is in charge, other than President Trump himself. Nor does the US have anyone who’s only job is to coordinate the huge intelligence apparatus of the state.

Israeli Prime Minister made an election promise to annex the Jordan Valley if elected. The election is scheduled for 17 September and the polls indicate that the election is very much up in the air. The annexation would divide the West Bank in ways that would render a two-state solution impossible, however improbable it seems at this point.

“Annexing the Jordan Valley at this particular moment is not a response to an urgent security threat. Rather, it a dagger blow to the idea of a two-state solution, amounting to a declaration that Israel is not interested in creating a Palestinian state but rather simply taking the land that it wants for itself.

“’Annexation — taking land while continuing to subjugate the Palestinians on that land — is apartheid and should face the same consequences,’ says Diana Buttu, a Ramallah-based political analyst and former adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“This unilateral land grab of a huge chunk of the West Bank would shrink the remaining Palestinian territory to such an extent that most observers believe it would render the very idea of a two-state solution impossible.”

The US only responded by saying that its Middle East policy has not changed, which raises a profound ambiguity. Since 1967 the US has supported a two state solution. But since President Trump’s election the US has backed off considerably from that goal. Meanwhile, the plight of the Palestinian people continues to worsen dramatically.

Posted September 10, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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