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On the brink of war!

Mar 26,2018 - Last updated at Mar 26,2018

John Bolton’s arrival in April as the new national security adviser sets off alarm bells among observers. His hawkish views could help set the stage for yet another bloody war for the United States in the Middle East. Unlike HR McMaster, who was seen by Defence Secretary James Mattis as junior in terms of military rank, Bolton is known as a man of action, who knows how to get things done. Therefore, Mattis will probably have hard time ignoring any request coming from Bolton. On more than one occasion, Mattis ignored requests made by McMaster asking for military options in dealing with Iran.

John Bolton will most likely win the mind of President Donald Trump, particularly when it comes to Iran. His support for a strike on Iran is well documented. He even went too far when he asked the then Israeli defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, to strike Iran. Earlier this month, Bolton argued that “our goal should be regime change in Iran.” He even encouraged the US administration to help the Iranian opposition.

The first test for Trump's new team will come to the fore in May as many expect President Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. The president will feel less restrained than even a week ago. With the sacking of both Rex Tillerson and McMaster, the only one left who may oppose such a reckless move is Mattis. While admitting the flaws of the nuclear deal, Mattis argues that it serves American national interests.

Casting aside the restraining role being played by Mattis, the appointment of Bolton triggers a different dynamics in the formulation of American foreign policy. Chances are high that the US will slide into another bloody confrontation in the Middle East. Undoubtedly, Bolton can draw upon a number of robust think tanks, which are populated with anti-Iran ideas.

Making matters worse, many observers and activists have nothing to say but doom and gloom. For instance, Trita Parsi, leader of the National Iranian American Council wrote, “People, let this be very clear: The appointment of Bolton is essentially a declaration of war with Iran. With Pompeo and Bolton, Trump is assembling a war Cabinet.”

A close look at the tenor of Bolton’s position on Iran reveals a fact that this man will encourage President Trump to do two things: first, to withdraw from the nuclear deal, and second to pursue a strategy of a regime change in Iran. If this is to materialise, then the theocracy in Iran will be left with no other option than to care about its survival. 

That is being said, it remains to be seen whether Bolton can follow through with his extremely anti-Iran views. He may soon come to realise that it would be easier said than done. The withdrawal from the nuclear deal will only reinforce an image in the making that the US is turning its back to multilateral and collective work. Needless to say, a war with Iran may create many other conflicts and may degenerate the Middle East into turmoil.

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