Iran and North Korea are Trembling After Trump’s Latest Move
President Donald Trump made an expected but nonetheless abrupt move on Thursday when he announced the departure of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and the appointment of his successor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
While it has been no secret over the past year that Trump and McMaster are not on the best of terms, some viewed the appointment of Bolton as a surprise, given the latter’s hawkish views on Iran and North Korea, to say nothing of his support for the Iraq War. Criticism of that war was one of the things that set Trump well apart from his Republican competitors in the 2016 primaries.
Taken in context with the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the State Department, the switch from McMaster to Bolton signals a new, aggressive approach to foreign policy on the part of the president. It is not to be missed that these changes come only a few weeks ahead of Trump’s scheduled sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; they could give us a hint as to what Trump’s position will be when he arrives at that meeting. To be even more blunt, both Pompeo and Bolton have advocated regime change in that isolated nation; Bolton is even on the record advising the U.S. to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. That advice will undoubtedly be hanging in the air when these two leaders meet for this historic summit.
Bolton and Pompeo are also more or less on the same page when it comes to the Iran nuclear agreement. In this, they are right in line with the Trump Doctrine – the agreement was a terrible misstep on the part of the Obama administration, the deal’s guidelines do nothing (longterm) to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and there are not enough inspectors in place to ensure Iran’s cooperation with the pact. It would surprise us if the U.S. is still a signatory to the JCPOA by the beginning of summer. The deal is getting scrapped; now the only question is whether or not Iran’s leaders are willing to sit down and hammer out a new one.
In a statement, President Trump was complimentary of McMaster.
“H.R. McMaster has served his country with distinction for more than 30 years. He has won many battles and his bravery and toughness are legendary,” Trump said. “General McMaster’s leadership of the National Security Council staff has helped my administration accomplish great things to bolster America’s national security.”
McMaster’s last day is scheduled to be April 9.