A number of years ago, John Bolton was the keynote speaker at the Yom Yerushalayim program at the Young Israel of Hillcrest sponsored by then Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Queens Jewish Community Council. The shul was packed. He was well-received because even then it was well-known that he was a strong supporter of Israel and tough on her enemies.
Bolton was the traditional neo-conservative with a hardline foreign policy toward adversaries such as Russia, Iran, the Taliban, and North Korea. Bolton was dismissed on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Those on the left were happy to see him leave. This was to be expected. What was more disconcerting is the lack of outrage by hardline Jewish groups and individuals who supported John Bolton and his views on Israel and Iran. They have been strong supporters of the president.
His abrupt departure should send shockwaves within the Jewish community. It was not only that he was ousted by Trump, but the circumstances that led to his departure.
Bolton was fired right after Trump had to abruptly cancel his secret meeting with the Taliban to be held at Camp David on or about September 11. Trump wanted to do his Neville Chamberlain imitation and make a deal affecting Afghanistan without the Afghan government being part of the negotiations. We see how well that worked in 1938 in Munich when British Prime Minister Chamberlin made a deal with Hitler concerning Czechoslovakia. Only when the deal was made did he bring the Czech government into the room to sign the deal. It was done to avoid war and instead emboldened Hitler to seek more territory.
The reported deal was that the United States would reduce about 5,000 troops in Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban agreeing to sever its ties with Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda was the group that attacked America on September 11, 2001. In 2001, the Taliban was in control of Afghanistan before they were ousted by American-led forces.
To have the Taliban, a terrorist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, come to Camp David on or about September 11 was a slap in the face to those who were killed or otherwise affected by the 9/11 attacks.
Bolton was against the president’s crazy idea. Bolton was right. No one makes the president look bad and survive in his position. So Bolton had to go.
The second area of disagreement related to dealing with Iran. Bolton was always a hawk in dealing with Iran and was against the Iran deal.
Trump, as he has done with North Korea, wants to have a face-to-face meeting with the leader of Iran. Since the Iranian Revolution, no American president has met with a leader of Iran.
Iran is causing trouble throughout the Middle East against Israel and others. They have seized ships and shot down an American drone. On Saturday it was reported that they were involved in the drone attack on Saudi Arabian oilfields. Trump’s response has been to beg for a meeting with the Iranian prime minister.
Also, it was reported that the president has supported the French plan to give 15 billion dollars to Iran so they stay in the Iran deal – the same deal he pulled the United States out of.
Bolton was the man of reason who was willing to stand up to the Trump appeasement strategy toward dictatorships. Now he is gone. Who knows what disasters Trump will lead us into?