John Bolton for secretary of state
John Robert Bolton is the right person to take the helm of the State Department. Donald Trump himself has praised Bolton and suggested him for the post. Here I am going to tell you why his hunch was right, and why he must stay on that track.
Bolton is best for three reasons. First, he is well versed in security matters, and we live in volatile times when security issues have come to overwhelmingly dominate U.S. foreign affairs and thus should be adeptly tackled in foreign policy. Bolton is quite familiar with security threats, as he has been studying them and working to neutralize them for the greater part of his career. As under secretary of state for arms control and international security affairs (2001-2005), Bolton advised President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell on matters of security policy, especially with regard to international and regional security, defense relations, arms control, and non-proliferation.
Second, Bolton knows very well the proclivities of the Iranian regime. If you remember, one of the momentous electoral promises of candidate Trump was to abrogate the extremely ill conceived and predictably ill going so-called nuclear deal with the regime of the mullahs. The deal was supposed to curb the military nuclear ambitions of the rogue regime and then to neutralize its multiple threats to the region by opening up Iran to the free world. Not only it did not happen that way – as I confidently predicted – but the mullahs augmented their offensive all around the world. As a result, dealing with the deal has become absolutely mandatory.
As it happens, Bolton is the greatest authority on that matter. In the early 2000s, during the first phase of attempted Iranian nuclear development – a significant threat that probably not many would remember today – Bolton was a prime mover in a concerted international effort to contain the Iranian regime. As far as I remember, he was the only Western official to outspokenly state that the regime of the mullahs was intent upon producing warheads. Back then, not many took kindly to Bolton’s candor, but he is now vindicated.
Third, and probably best of all, Bolton is “blunt,” or at least that is what his opponents like to call him. For evidence, these opponents usually cite Bolton’s attack on the then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il amid the Clinton administration’s negotiations with him to obstruct the country’s nuclear ambitions. Bolton had unabashedly dubbed the man a “tyrannical dictator,” which many felt would lead to the North Koreans leaving the table. Bolton would go on to call the Iranian mullahs “liars” a decade later during a similar round of negotiations. As it happens, both are now back on the same track they used to be on when Bolton called them names.
If calling dictators and liars what they are is blunt, then I am for bluntness. Indeed, in an age of trendy relativistic obfuscation and increasingly jargon-ridden, meandering political discourse that never gets off the ground, let alone gets anywhere, the cut-through-the-BS message of Bolton can be a blessing. Simply put, Bolton is a man who speaks his mind in the plainest manner. You might not always like what he says, but you can’t help admiring his forthright attitude. And I don’t need to remind you that it was the very same quality that took Trump to the White House despite punditry’s predictions to the contrary.
Reza Parchizadeh is a political theorist and analyst. He has a B.A. and an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Tehran, Iran; has studied media and communication studies at Örebro University, Sweden; and is a Ph.D. candidate in English literature and criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Reza has published five books and many articles so far both in Persian and English. Some of his articles have been translated into Arabic. His research interests include theory, philosophy, history, geopolitics, security, and cultural studies. Reza is director of the Persian-language think-tank Tahlil Rooz.