Given the vastly more dangerous world that he has inherited, I would suspect that most of us who study national security issues would concur with the proposition that Trump should appoint, or create a post, for John Bolton so that he can occupy a special position within the President’s inner circle.
Bolton came to national prominence when, on March 7, 2005, President George W. Bush nominated him to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Due to a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, he was recess-appointed to the post on August 1, 2005. Among many of his grandiloquent pronouncements, he famously stated,
“There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that’s the United States, when it suits our interests, and when we can get others to go along.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
How to Take Down ISIS
As I write this article, ISIS has been nearly eradicated from Mosul and holds less and less ground inside Iraq. In a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, America Needs a Post-ISIS Strategy, Bolton proposes, in what could be read as a letter to the Trump Administration, a way-forward after the defeat of ISIS. While his recommendations are fraught with peril, they are, in my opinion, irrefutably correct.
1. America Abandons Iraq
First, he recommends that America abandon or at least substantially reduce military support for Iraq. And this is because Iraq has been lost to what I call the new “Axis of Evil,” China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Bolton goes on to make a fascinating corollary, comparing Iraq to those Eastern European countries who found themselves behind the Iron Curtain in the late 1940’s.
Because Iran now has dominion over a crippled Iraq, if we continue to aid it in extending its power into areas retaken from ISIS, our sworn enemy, Iran, is the benefactor. Iraqi forces are now controlled by Tehran.
This tragic legacy of Barack Obama seems irreversible for the foreseeable future. Now we need damage control.
2. Add More Troops Against ISIS
Second, this is the moment, when North Korea presents us with a new “Cuban Missile Crisis,” when we should demand that Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf monarchies add more troops into the fight against ISIS inside Syria.
As Bolton puts it, we’ve carried the burden of fighting Sunni terrorist consortiums for far too long. Moreover, our allies in the fight against ISIS in Syria are not without terrorist elements. The American public does not want to read one more tragic story where members of our supposed allies turn their American-supplied weapons on our soldiers their as they have done numerous times in Afghanistan.
Enough is enough. Let the Sunni nations finish the destruction of ISIS and root out their own terrorist elements.
3. Recognize Russia Is Not An Ally
Third, wake up from the Obama pipe dream and recognize that Russia is not our ally. The duplicitous Putin regime is propping up the genocidal Assad regime while supplying Iran with military assistance both defensive and offensive.
The Trump Administration must find ways push back against Russia’s gains in the region. Russia’s gains empower, among many terrorist groups, Hezbollah, whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel. Russia now operates an air base in in Latakia, Syria and issues ultimatums to the US as to where American warplanes can and cannot fly.
This is the very critical beginning of a trend whereby very evil enemies gain control over vast portions of the Middle East’s petroleum wealth with unimaginably dire consequences for the West.
As Bolton points out, “For all the allegations about Trump and Russia, the president truly in thrall to Moscow seems to have been Mr. Obama.”