US: Who is John Bolton?

From Israel-Palestine to North Korea, here's where the newly appointed national security adviser stands on key issues.

    John Bolton, the newly appointed US national security adviser, has been a force in Republican foreign policy circles for decades.

    Regarded as the most divisive US ambassador to the UN, Bolton has served in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush and George W Bush.

    Here is a track record of his strong statements on key issues that the White House is currently dealing with:

    Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

    Bolton has praised US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the US embassy to the city.

    He wrote on Twitter on December 14: "The Middle East peace process has long needed clarity and an injection of reality, and Trump has provided it by making the decision to move the US embassy in #Israel to #Jerusalem."

    After former President Barack Obama allowed passage of a UN Security Council resolution in December 2016 that condemned Israeli settlements, Bolton said Obama "stabbed Israel in the front" and that the measure was "clearly intended to tip the peace process toward the Palestinians".

    Bolton will start his new job on April 9 [File: Reuters]

    He further scolded Obama's secretary of state, John Kerry, for his speech laying out principles for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, in which Kerry warned a two-state future was slipping away as Israel continued to accelerate its occupied West Bank settlement presence.

    "Just as a matter of empirical reality, the two-state solution is dead," Bolton told far-right Breitbart News Radio at the time. "That's about the only thing John Kerry came close to getting right."

    In a 2014 Op-Ed in the Washington Times titled "A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace," Bolton argued that Gaza should be given back to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan.

    "The only logic underlying the demand for a Palestinian state is the political imperative of Israel's opponents to weaken and encircle the Jewish state, thereby minimising its potential to establish secure and defensible borders," he wrote.

    "As long as Washington's diplomatic objective is the 'two-state solution' - Israel and 'Palestine' - the fundamental contradiction between this aspiration and the reality on the ground will ensure it never comes into being."

    China:

    Bolton has said Beijing needed to be called out on what he characterised as systematic cheating on global trade while enjoying the benefits of an open US market.

    In an interview on Thursday with Fox Business News, Bolton accused China of stealing US intellectual property and pursuing "mercantilist policies in what is supposed to be a free-trade environment".

    "I don't buy it. I am a free trader, but I don't think that means just getting pounded into the ground when another country doesn't abide by the commitments it's made," he said.

    Bolton said China cheats by providing subsidies to exports and discriminating against foreign entities, including through the legal system, while enjoying the benefits of World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership. Chinese government subsidies allow Americans to buy goods cheaper to the detriment of the Chinese worker, he said.

    "The reality is, China just doesn't have the same concern for its citizen's welfare that we do in this country," Bolton said. "And even beyond that, there's simply no excuse for the stealing of intellectual property, forced technology transfers it's sometimes called."

    Speaking to the Washington Free Beacon newspaper in February 2017, Bolton criticised Washington's "One-China" policy, under which it does not recognise Taiwan as an independent nation, and called for increased arms sales to the island.

    "The One-China policy is inherently ambiguous," Bolton said. "China thinks it means one thing, we think it means another."

    North Korea:

    Bolton's approach to North Korea appears to be everything China has warned against, including supporting the possibility of a pre-emptive military attack and dismissing direct negotiations that Beijing says are vital to jump-starting the denuclearisation process.

    He wrote on Twitter on February 13 that "talking to North Korea would be fruitless".

    Bolton had described Trump's plan to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "diplomatic shock and awe" and said it would be an opportunity to deliver a threat of military action.

    He told Washington's WMAL radio station: "I think this session between the two leaders could well be a fairly brief session where Trump says: 'Tell me you have begun total denuclearisation, because we're not going to have protracted negotiations. You can tell me right now or we'll start thinking of something else.'"

    He warned on Twitter on January 11 that "we have a very limited amount of time left before #NorthKorea gains deliverable nuclear weapons. We've got to look at the very unattractive choice of using military force to deny them that capability".

    Russia:

    While dismissing allegations that Trump's campaign colluded with the Kremlin, Bolton has been outspoken about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

    When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced new nuclear weapons on March 1, he wrote on Twitter on March 2: "There needs to be a strategic response to Russia's new nuclear missiles to show our allies in Europe that we will not let #Russia push the U.S. or its allies around."

    Earlier, he has said that "the US must strengthen its allies in Central and Eastern Europe through NATO and ensure that there are effective countermeasures to the cyber war that Russia is engaging".

    He also called for curbing Russia's "adventurism in the Middle East" and "a very strong response" to the poisoning of a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK.

    Iran:

    Bolton has encouraged the use of force against Iran, advocating for Israel to bomb Iran to curtail its nuclear ambitions.

    "Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed," he wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times in May 2015. "Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran's opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran."

    On January 29 this year, he wrote on Twitter: "The #Irannucleardeal was a strategic mistake in 2015. This deal needs to be abrogated and America must craft a new reality that reflects the actions of the Iranian regime."

    "If the Iranian opposition is prepared to take outside support, the US should provide it to them," he tweeted on January 5.

    Links to anti-Islam individuals:

    Bolton has been especially criticised by the Muslim community who accuse the diplomat of being tied to anti-Islam groups and individuals. 

    He wrote the foreword to a book by Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, who the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes as "one of the most flamboyant anti-Muslim activists in the United States". 

    Bolton also spoke at a 2016 American Freedom Alliance titled "Can Islam and the West Coexist?". The American Freedom Alliance is considered a "hate group" by the SPLC. In his speech, he joked that then President Obama was Muslim. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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