On May 13, the New York Times, citing unnamed administration officials, reported that four days earlier, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that included the possible deployment of 120,000 U.S. troops in the Middle East, should Iran attack U.S. forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.
The Times reported that the revised plans were ordered by “hard-liners” led by John R. Bolton, President Trump’s national security advisor, who has long pushed for regime change in Iran. However, the plans do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said. The Times report observed that since Bolton became the national security advisor in April 2018, he has “intensified the Trump administration’s policy of isolating and pressuring Iran.”
Bolton is a member of the stridently interventionist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), whose domination of our State Department has helped direct the United States into multiple wars over the past 78 years.
On May 13, when asked if he was seeking regime change in Iran, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”
The Times reported, “The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.”
Bush may have disregarded Bolton’s recommendation concerning Iran, but unfortunately, he did not do so when it came to the invasion of Iraq. In 2017, former Representative Ron Paul — a noted noninterventionist on foreign policy — wrote, “Unfortunately Iran is one of the few areas where the president has been very consistent [in his foreign policy]. And consistently wrong.” Commenting on a speech that Trump delivered the previous week, Paul wrote: “Nearly every assertion in the president’s speech was embarrassingly incorrect…. There are too many other false statements in the president’s speech to mention.”
Paul attributed the president’s incorrect statements on Iran to the fact that his number one advisor on Iran was his ambassador to the UN at the time, Nikki Haley. Of Haley, Paul noted: “She has no prior foreign policy experience, but her closest mentor is John Bolton — the neocon who lied us into the Iraq war.”
The Washington Post ran an article on May 15 headlined, “The White House builds a path to war with Iran.” The report stated that last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned a group of four men who, in Zarif’s opinion, were steering the United States toward war with Iran. Among the four was John Bolton.
The Post article noted, “For some analysts, the lessons of the 2003 invasion of Iraq — which saw Bolton and other U.S. officials twist intelligence to justify war — have gone unheeded.”
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