July 6, 2020

Oh, yeah... Bolton... nobody talks about Bolton anymore.

Except at Axios... they're trying to bring him back: "Bolton's hidden aftershocks/The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, 'The Room Where It Happened.'..."

You probably won't read that — because you've moved on, right? But there's stuff like "European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that."

64 comments:

doctrev said...

Textbooks will be written showing how Trump manipulates his enemies into continuing to do his work for him. In this case, the second term of Trump may end the face of post-Soviet NATO. Or make the European nations actually pay for their own "defense." I'm good either way.

Owen said...

That’s a riveting article. Right up there with “List of asteroids that never hit us.”

TreeJoe said...

Did he actually come that close or did he just use the threat of withdrawing from NATO to force HIS OWN PEOPLE - and those within NATO - to stop failing in their own commitments. Did he use such a serious threat as a provocation to restore focus on NATO's mission and individual state commitments?

Because where I'm sitting, Trump rightly saw NATO as having become a US+ foreign military presence with member states not taking their own military contributions seriously and relying upon the US to backstop them. Again.

tim in vermont said...

Weapons manufacturers need not worry. Biden has promised to keep good old Daddy Warbucks swimming in filthy lucre. You know who told Ukraine that the funds were held up? Defense contractors wondering why they hadn’t got their deals for killing machines closed. Trump was impeached over trying to reduce the number of weapons in the world. Kleptocrats like Biden don’t care about flooding weapons into troubled areas as long as the backsheesh flows freely.

gspencer said...

Notes from an ungrateful continent (1918,1945).

"But what have you done for us lately?

"European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO"

We've paid our price, Europe,

https://4rfnv3jdfte8qj2229aqgj4h-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/17089563_web1_Normandy-Drone1.jpg

John Marzan said...

China is the number one geopolitical enemy of the USA. But the EU (ie Germany and France) doesnt think China should be confronted.

DarkHelmet said...

Nobody talks about Bolton because he clearly has personal ax to grind. The Left always hated him, so it's a stretch for them to lionize him now. The moderate Right didn't like him either. Now the Trumpers don't like him. That leaves a very small group of people who are interested in what he has to say.

Mike Sylwester said...

Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that.

Trump has not done it yet, because the European governments belatedly raised their military budgets to the required levels.

Lance said...

We don't talk about Bolton because there's been no corroboration of his claims and accusations. Why should these foreign governments take him more seriously than the rest of us?

Smells like gamesmanship.

clint said...

It's fun to imagine that Bolton is actually working with the Trump administration and try to figure out what the convoluted motives would be in a conspiracy thriller.

Example: Bolton reveals that he's heard a third-hand rumor that President Trump gave the Chinese the go-ahead to open concentration camps for their muslim minorities.
Immediate fallout: Many anti-Trumpers in America and abroad hear for the first time about the Chinese concentration camps.
This week: NPR is reporting on a new report in Foreign Policy (definitely *not* a right-wing publication) characterizing China's treatment of the Uighur people as a genocide, as defined by the U.N.

This could be really helpful to President Trump's foreign policy goals, with respect to China.

Similarly, the NATO revelations will only add bite to President Trump's demands that European governments meet their treaty obligations and stop free-riding on us.

I don't actually believe any of this is intended. I think that Bolton really was surprised to discover that Trump wasn't ready to kill hundreds of foreign civilians as some kind of business-as-usual "proportional" tit-for-tat security theater. (Heck, even that revelation paints President Trump in a good light, doesn't it?) But it's interesting.

Howard said...

In todays world measured relative to the scale of the TikTok micro-news cycle, Bolton had a very long run.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

I hear Bolton's book is an ego-maniac's snooze.

Jamie said...

Gosh, an account of how Trump considered doing something he didn't do? Hair-raising indeed.

stevew said...

""European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that."

It is fascinating to me that so many supposedly professional people, aka: The Elite, are upset, outraged even, about things that Trump did not do. And they ignore or downplay the things he has done that have improved lives, the nation, and foreign relations.

Also interesting to note that John Bolton has been transformed for one that must be vilified and opposed to one that speaks important truths.

Dave Begley said...

Both the Left and the Right hate Bolton. He needs to go away. Like OJ went away.

Wince said...

Former national security adviser John Bolton told CBS News' "The Takeout" podcast" on Wednesday that he would have personally briefed President Trump if he saw intelligence that Russian officials offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops, but cautioned that Trump is simply not receptive to intelligence briefings.

Among the reasons to question the "Russian bounty intelligence" narrative is that, logically, it would be a sign of military and diplomatic success -- progress significant enough for the Russians to risk direct bi-polar conflict with the US.

Presuming the Taliban didn't have to be bribed into killing US soldiers, say, during the 8 years of the Obama-Biden presidency, why would the Russians have to bribe them now?

Wouldn't that indicate, absent the "outside influence" of those Russian bribes, military or political progress in Afghanistan such that the Taliban otherwise wouldn't be attacking US soldiers?

As with the collusion hoax, doesn't this sound like Russian disinformation and aren't the incentives aligned with Trump's enemies running with it?

Sally327 said...

Bolton is a snitch. He's ratting out the President for money and that makes his information suspect and the man himself even more of a toad than he was already.

That said, I remember when part of the pitch in 2004 to justify a John Kerry presidency was how George W. Bush had damaged the country's relationships with its allies over the Iraq war and how intractable his administration was in dealing with our "enemies". Kerry was going to fix all that. Alas, it was not to be, not until he got to be Secretary of State in the second Obama administration, completing all the healing work undertaken by his predecessor, Mrs. Clinton.

Biden can run on a repeat of the 2004 Kerry foreign policy agenda, that will fit him well, copying someone else's ideas.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Says a lot about one’s worldview, fretting about European concerns about the U.S. pulling our funding from NATO.

As a U.S. taxpayer paying for this shit and interested in protecting our interests first, last and always, I’m supposed to be alarmed by this?

This is why I stopped paying attention to these yahoos years ago, their interests are aligned 100% against mine.

Jersey Fled said...

More of the same. Fretting over things Trump might have done but didn't do.

This is so tiresome.

Leland said...

Tucker Carlton on the Rubin Report recounted a conversation he had off camera with Trump where Trump noted that the purpose of NATO was to prevent the Soviet Union from invading Western Europe. Trump asked Carlton, what's the purpose of NATO now?

It is interesting that when Trump talks about reducing are military adventures and spending in foreign countries, this is considered a bad thing now.

Dave Begley said...

And no one talks about Kanye West's entry into the Presidential race. And no one talks about how Obama framed Flynn with the help of Comey and Strzok.

It is all covid all the time.

iowan2 said...

I don't believe anything reported concerning President Trump. Quoting Bolton about Trump, devalues my base setting. Korea and NATO, both seem like things President Trump would 'leak' as messaging to those foreign nations. It's called leverage, or negotiating from a position of strength. President Trump always negotiates to get results. The State Dept finds this a strange and befuddling concept. All nations need the US. The US partners with Nations that will benefit the US. Again this is a new and befuddling concept.

Boltons book will be used more as we get closer to the election and the Dem candiated needs new talking points to distract from their own cluelessness.

Ice Nine said...

BFD.

European officials should be fretting about Trump's legitimate, even shrewd, threat to withdraw the U.S. from NATO if they don't start carrying their load. (Non-Democrat) Americans would love that and have wanted it for years.

Juan Guaidó is a nobody and a political loser. Not an ideal person to endorse and Trump's questioning of such a move was wise.

Expat(ish) said...

Hair raising for them, probably, but for the US? Maybe, maybe not. Japan isn't part of NATO and we have great military/economic coordination with them. Plus a mutual defense treaty. Like NATO without the overhead.

Plus Japan has a navy and an air force that, you know, can stand alone, at least for a little while.

-XC

Charlie said...

Nobody cares about NATO except swamp creatures.

narciso said...

I skimmed the volume, to see what wasn't in it, burisma, kolomoisky, zylochevsky firtash, there is one reference to deripaska sans context, he doesn't reference the conversation he has with zelensky about selling ukrainian tech to china

Ralph L said...

As if a President could do that on his own.

Mark O said...

One supposes the hair would raise on a total of 10 necks.

n.n said...

Is it Europeans or europeans? One bloc or two? thought that America would stand, while they kneeled, or that they would kneel together on precedent. As for JournoListic tales, per NYT style guide, they are wary of forming close association between violence and protests, between violence and immigration reform, between violence and progress, which is surely a double-edged scalpel for their diverse causes, special and peculiar interests.

Charlie Currie said...

He came close, but didn't. Well, as has been said, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades...and atomic bombs.

Nonapod said...

"European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that."

I suspect that many Americans who aren't afflicted with Trump derrangement would have no problem with Trump scaring some foreign officials about NATO.

bagoh20 said...

"European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that."

Perfect. We didn't do it, but they found out we could have and would have. That's something they should have been made aware of years earlier. It takes Trump to convince them that NATO is something they should care about and support. It's not there for us. Pay for your own damn protection. We're not your daddy.

Kevin said...

The half-life of Boltonium is not long.

Sebastian said...

"European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that"

So, Euros, tell us: why did your hair get raised? Why do you need us as part of NATO?

Is Putin a real threat? If so, why is Germany so eager to strike cozy energy deals with him? And why don't you upgrade your own defenses?

Is China a real threat? If so, why aren't you joining us in getting tough on China in trade and industry, for which NATO is irrelevant? Why is a North Atlantic club necessary to counter China militarily along the Pacific rim?

Is Islamism a real threat? If so, why are you welcoming more Muslims to Europe, without serious vetting? What could you and we possibly do in the Middle East that we aren't doing now? On the one issue that has mattered to us, namely Iran, you oppose us--if our "allies" thwart us, what good is the club?

traditionalguy said...

Bolton’s exposure as a phony tactician who only knew how to start wars is one of Trump’s best accomplishments. By setting up and then stiffing Bolton he sent a stronger message to the NATO free riders that it was over than any other way he could deliver that message.

Space Force anyone?

John Marzan said...

Case in point
https://twitter.com/n_roettgen/status/1280042267550588928?s=19

Drago said...

The left/LLR-left has been rolling out a new Michael Wolff type just about every 2 weeks for the last 3.5 years.

"(Insert Name Here) is going to bring Trump down!" is an evergreen media theme and that role has to be refilled often.

henge2243 said...

"are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that."

Its not that we've moved on from Bolton, that was done around the time that he wouldn't appear during the impeachment. What we have moved on from is the notion that Trump almost did something. A person either acts or doesn't. Whether the decision making process is intriguing prior to the action, if no action was subsequently taken, depends entirely on one's perception.

In the end, these people have got nothing. So, I'll not participate in their little anti-Trump round pound.

Bob Smith said...

Re: NATO. It’s been 75 years. The people who remember the US liberating them are almost all gone. It’s way past time to reconsider our commitments there. The only reason not to. The former members of the Eastern bloc who would fall under the Russian thumb again. It’s another Gourdian Knot.

Joe Smith said...

Their hair needed raising. The Euros have been bilking Uncle Sam for the last hundred years. Russia is no military threat to Europe, but rather an economic threat if they choose to shut off the gas spigot. The Euros put themselves over a barrel so they can deal with the consequences. We should get the hell out. But if we stay, we should be paid handsomely for it.

rcocean said...

Yeah, Trump came so CLOSE To doing all kinds of things. But didn't do them. Yeah.

Here's a clue, in order to negotiate a good deal, you have to make threats. They're not really serious threats, but you have to tell the other person you'll walk away from the table. If you start with "Hey no matter what you do, I'll continue to negotiate" you're sunk. Common Sense 101.

And you're right. Bolten is a bore at this point. He's been used to attack Trump, everyone yawned, and now the Liberals/Left/MSM/Democrat Blob has moved on to another attack.

rcocean said...

You can tell the left-wing media and the Democrats have nothing because they alternate screeching about how Trump is a madman who'll start a war or leave NATO or whatever, with he's a wimpy appeaser who doesn't want to fight Iran or Start a war with NK or Russia.

Trump has been 100% correct in foreign policy so far. He's been trying to: get our NATO allies to pay their fair share, get USA out of the middle east quagmires like Afghanistan and Syria, and get China to stop ripping us off on Trad. Further, he's got rid of the terrible Iran deal, and he's kept the peace with NK and Russia.

Hillary would've started at least two wars by now. And Biden will start one if he's elected.

Michael K said...

a conversation he had off camera with Trump where Trump noted that the purpose of NATO was to prevent the Soviet Union from invading Western Europe. Trump asked Carlton, what's the purpose of NATO now?

Exactly. Who expects Russians to come through the Fulda Gap with a tank army? Nobody.

NATO was of value 30 years ago. Every bureaucracy has its own survival instinct that continues long after its purpose is gone.

rcocean said...

To Globalists like Biden, Bush, Romney, and the dear departed McCain, the USA exists to help other countries. We (meaning the average American) is supposed to "pay any price, bear any burden" to help our NATO allies, our Asian allies, our middle east allies, etc. If they don't want to help themselves, we're supposed to step in and pick up the slack. Trump said to hell with that, the USA isn't "Uncle Sucker". And the globalists hate that. One reason that hate it, is all their kids have fake jobs in the Ukraine and China. Or they hired by foreigners to lobby the US Government.

Bay Area Guy said...

Book Deal Bolton -- made his political play, failed, and now fades into obscurity waiting for the next foreign war to foment.......

Gk1 said...

The other problem for the media is Bolton openly sneers at their Russian collusion narrative and that totally harshes their mellow. I think I saw him on NBC and made the interviewer look like an ass when he chuckled at their suggestion the russians have something on Trump and that is why he is being so hard on NATO.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Charlie,

"Nobody cares about NATO except swamp creatures."

Slight correction, if I may.

NATO was instrumental in our defeating the Soviet Union, so, Yes, we cared about it.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union around 1989, NATO lost its way and kept adding small countries up to the Russian doorstep, which was a mistake and served no purpose other than to provoke Russia.

So, Yes, it may be a good time to disband NATO, since it served its purpose. Or scale back its membership to the big boys.

MikeR said...

"a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that." Well, good. Bolton is still doing his job as the Bad Cop even after his forced retirement.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

"European officials, who have spent three and a half years fretting that Trump would withdraw the U.S. from NATO, are treated to a hair-raising account of just how close Trump came to announcing he would do just that."

Finding out about a threat after the fact when you're safe is thrilling, not frightening.

I imagine it would be like a teenager hearing how his parents almost cancelled their allowance but decided to give them a second chance when he straightened up his act.

Iman said...

Euros more concerned about Trump than living up to their end of the bargain. Sounds about right.

Iman said...

Oh and fuck John Bolton.

traditionalguy said...

FTR: Despite the Fake News to the contrary, President Trump is not withdrawing from NATO. He is re-positioning the US Armed Forces to new bases closer to Russia. That's a Trumpian twofer: we get to spend our money in an allied country that pays us named Poland rather than pouring cash into the old bases in Gauleighter Merkle's Fourth Reich that still takes all orders from the Obama/Soros Shadow Regime.

todd galle said...

Just keep the UK (I'm an Anglo-American historian by profession so need to travel from time to time), the rest can rot. NATO is a Cold War relic, and we could use the money we ship there to rebuild our Navy and focus on the South China Sea. The Krauts, Frogs, Eyeties, etc. can defend continental Europe, not our indaba any more. Though I would think helping Poland with defensive / offensive weaponry worthy of consideration given the Russian menace - the Poles would give the Ivan's what for I believe. Also India should be assisted given what the Chicoms have been up to along the border. And, as Iman suggested, Fuck John Bolton - the architect of much of our f-d up Middle East policy that has us still in places we should have left years ago. Let all those 'Stans rot in their medieval barbarism, pay for your own feudalism.

John henry said...

I'd not realized pdjt had been thinking of withdrawing from NATO.

good for him if true.

I've never been able to get anyone to explain why we are in NATO in the first place.

How many trillions have we given NATO over the years?

Both Woodrow Wilson and fdr ran for reelection explicitly promising to keep us out of European wars. A few months later we were neck deep in both.

Fuck Europe. Let them solve their own problems.

And let's get out of NATO.

John Henry

cubanbob said...

The Russians can't even fully defeat the Ukrainians and yet somehow they are going to take the Ukraine and Poland and march across the Fulda Gap with a phantom force of 170 divisions, ten thousand tanks and thousands of fighter bombers. OK. I believe. In the meantime if the Western Europeans really want us there, they should cover 100% of our costs incurred by being there. If we are going to rental security at least we shouldn't lose money doing so.

mtrobertslaw said...

I have said it before and I will say it again: Bolton's physical appearance prevents him from being taken seriously. Fortunately, he is not smart enough to know that.

Jim at said...

NATO is as vital to our interests today as the Warsaw Pact is to the Soviet Union.

Gahrie said...

Look, I was the biggest supported of NATO during the Cold War that there was. But what's the point now? Other than pouring American taxpayer money into European economies?

Nichevo said...


cubanbob said...
The Russians can't even fully defeat the Ukrainians and yet somehow they are going to take the Ukraine and Poland and march across the Fulda Gap with a phantom force of 170 divisions, ten thousand tanks and thousands of fighter bombers. OK. I believe. In the meantime if the Western Europeans really want us there, they should cover 100% of our costs incurred by being there. If we are going to rental security at least we shouldn't lose money doing so.

7/6/20, 1:39 PM



You want peace in Europe? Here's how you get peace in Europe. Here is my 7 word, not 7 point, 7 word peace plan for Europe.


Sell Poland 100 Improved Pershings, then withdraw.


Nobody goes East through Poland or bye, Berlin. Nobody goes West through Poland or bye, Moscow. If need be, goose the range until you can hit Paris and maybe Yamantau Mountain and the ME.

Germany and France, France and Spain, Spain and Belgium, can settle their own business.

Russia can have Belarus or whoever else wants to mug up with them. Anybody the Poles want to defend, not so much.

(The Baltics? Shrug, sell them four apiece.)

Oh and sell Taiwan forty improved Pershing missiles too. China will piss right off. Forty nuclear warheads on Beijing returns the buggers to the Warring States period.


So simple. Then they can use all those tanks for planters. They don't work anyway.


Naturally, PAL tech to ensure the nukes can't be used on us. Not sure whether or not it is to the point to reserve US veto power over strikes.

Martin said...

It's not as if the biggest European NATO players have actually, you know, DONE ANYTHING to address the US' concerns. If it is so important to them, and I doubt that it is to such as Germany and France and Benelux, they ought to show it.

mikee said...

Poland with Pershings? Have you ever read "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" all the way to the end?

Nichevo said...

No, though I dated a girl who had. Interesting background for getting her to Yes.

I guess you're saying is they might not wait till the ink is dry on the receipt before nuking Moscow and Berlin straight off? Understood. Hmm, I guess in theory that could be a problem. Maybe.

Like I said, don't know whether we should retain veto power over launches or targeting, or whether that makes us responsible.

Nichevo said...

Went and read it. Well, that can all be add-on sales, I guess. Poland should be a richer country with its resources and people, anyway. Important thing will be maintaining the relationship and not letting them go Left.

Kirk Parker said...

Iman @ 11:42am, todd galle @ 12:35pm:

"Thank you, no; I'm straight."

(Bonus points for the first one to recognize the quote.)


cubanbob,

Make that "100% of our costs plus a generous markup", ok?