Ambassador John Bolton Endorses Don Bacon for U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska’s Second District

Washington D.C. – Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs,  Ambassador John R. Bolton, announced the John Bolton PAC’s endorsement of Rep. Don Bacon for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. Additionally, the John Bolton PAC will make a contribution of $10,000 to his reelection campaign.

Statement by Ambassador John Bolton:

“Rep. Don Bacon’s 29 years of experience serving in the United States Air Force has uniquely prepared him to take the important votes necessary to keep America secure. Once again, Congressman Bacon’s commitment to protecting our national security has earned him my unequivocal endorsement in his reelection campaign.”

Statement by Congressman Don Bacon:

“I thank John Bolton for his endorsement. We believe in the traditional values that made the GOP great. Peace through strength has been our mantra the last eight decades and it should remain that way. America is the indispensable nation for the defense of freedom, but we know we must have close allies to succeed.”

About the John Bolton PAC (www.boltonpac.com): Through his PAC, SuperPAC and Foundation, Ambassador John Bolton defends America by raising the importance of national security in public discourse and supporting candidates who believe in strong national security policies. Ambassador Bolton has worked hard to restore conservative leadership, which must reverse the recent policies of drift, decline, and defeat. America must rise to the occasion and acknowledge the indispensable role we play in the world. Through 2022, Ambassador Bolton has endorsed over 250 candidates and raised nearly $30 million for his organizations.



Bolton: Navalny’s murder demonstrates Putin’s confidence

By John Bolton

Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian prison camp elicited widespread condemnation, and Western leaders demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin be held accountable. A fierce Putin critic, Navalny returned to Russia in January 2021 after recovering from a 2020 attempted assassination by poisoning that was almost certainly ordered by the Kremlin. He was immediately jailed. President Joe Biden said Friday, “Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death … What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality.”

Of course, there are always exceptions. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump declined to blame Russia’s government for the unsuccessful poisoning plot, citing insufficient information. Since Navalny’s death, Trump has said nothing.

Unfortunately, Western leaders are often quick to express outrage but not quick to do anything about it. In a 2021 meeting in Geneva, Biden warned Putin that Russia would face “devastating” consequences if Navalny died in prison. Asked Friday what those consequences would be, Biden answered lamely, “That was three years ago. In the meantime, they faced a hell of a lot of consequences. They’ve lost and/or had wounded over 350,000 Russian soldiers. They’ve made it into a position where they’ve been subjected to great sanctions across the board. And we’re contemplating what else could be done.” Obviously, however, the “consequences” Biden mentioned flowed from Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, not Navalny’s treatment or his demise.

We may never know the actual causes of Navalny’s death. The most benign explanation is that it was hastened by the 2020 failed poisoning, compounded by years of harsh prison conditions. However, video of Navalny earlier last week showed him in apparent health and good spirits. No one really believes that “accidents” happen to high-profile prisoners in the Russian gulag. And the decision to eliminate such a prominent thorn in the Kremlin’s side would have to come from Putin himself.

But why now? Some Westerners immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Navalny’s death “underscores the weakness and rot of the system Putin has built.” In fact, killing Navalny is evidence that Putin feels back on top, confident in his rule, untroubled about either domestic or international pushback.

Putin sealed Yevgeny Prigozhin’s fate last year for the effrontery of questioning Putin’s handling of the Ukraine war. Whatever political dissent was then roiling, the massive Russian security services appears now to have dissipated. The “siloviki,” the “men of power,” are back in line. As for democratic opponents, they are either hiding or in exile. Putin is not losing sleep.

Internationally, things look brighter for Putin than they have in several years, both geo-strategically and specifically in Ukraine. Navalny’s murder signals Putin is confident that he holds the upper hand. Trump continues threatening U.S. withdrawal from NATO, adding recently “I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want” to NATO members not meeting their commitments to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense.

Biden criticized Trump for egging on NATO’s principal adversary, but Putin is conducting his own disinformation campaign on Trump’s behalf. Asked his thoughts on Biden and Trump, Putin described Biden as “more experienced, predictable, an old-school politician.” Putin must have enjoyed this head-fake, which Trump was too foolish to leave alone, responding it was “a great compliment, actually.”

Putin also made a fool of Tucker Carlson for his recent lickspittle interview, mocking him for a “lack of sharp questions,” a rare case where Western observers would agree with Putin. Offers to negotiate on Ukraine during the interview may have been a feint, given repeated Kremlin rejections of negotiations until it achieved its objectives in Ukraine.

The tides are unfortunately flowing in Russia’s favor. Ukraine’s 2023 spring offensive gained little ground, and potentially important locations such as Avdiivka, hotly contested since the war began, are now falling to Russia. Just opening talks with Kyiv could benefit Moscow, freezing the frontlines into a new Russia-Ukraine border, giving Russia’s military much-needed time to regroup and regain what little fighting edge it initially brought to the war. A pause could also permit China to continue extending its economic and political influence over Russia, which is hardly in America’s interest.

The most immediate response to Navalny’s murder and Ukraine’s critical needs is Congress waking up to the strategic imperative of Washington aiding Kyiv. Biden has trickled aid in piecemeal, non-strategically, for two years, thereby allowing Russia to fight the war to a stalemate. Biden has been continually deterred by fears of Russia launching a “wider war,” although he has never explained where Russian capabilities to wage such a war are hidden.

U.S. politics have added to the practical difficulties of sensibly providing weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, but Navalny’s tragedy should be a wake-up call, especially for Republicans. We are not providing charity for Ukraine, but acting to protect core American interests. Paraphrasing what Donald Rumsfeld used to insist: “Don’t foul this up.”

John Bolton was national security adviser to President Trump from 2018 to 2019 and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006. He held senior State Department posts in 1981-83, 1989-93 and 2001-2005.

This article was first published in The Hill on February 19, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


Ambassador John Bolton Endorses Yvette Herrell for US House of Representatives in New Mexico Second District

Washington D.C. – Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Ambassador John R. Bolton, announced the John Bolton PAC’s endorsement of Yvette Herrell for US House of Representatives in New Mexico’s Second District. Additionally, the John Bolton PAC will make a contribution of $5,000 to her election campaign.

Statement by Ambassador John Bolton:

“There are just nine congressional districts along the southern border. Yvette Herrell is uniquely positioned to impact the debate around border security if we’re able to maintain our Republican House majority. Border security is national security and it should matter to all Americans that we have competent leadership on our borders. I’m proud to support her in this critical race.”

Statement by Congresswoman Yvette Herrell:

“Keeping our Republican majority in the House starts by winning back New Mexico’s Second District, and I thank Ambassador Bolton for his support in this critical race.”

About the John Bolton PAC (www.boltonpac.com): Through his PAC, SuperPAC and Foundation, Ambassador John Bolton defends America by raising the importance of national security in public discourse and supporting candidates who believe in strong national security policies. Ambassador Bolton has worked hard to restore conservative leadership, which must reverse the recent policies of drift, decline, and defeat. America must rise to the occasion and acknowledge the indispensable role we play in the world. Through 2022, Ambassador Bolton has endorsed over 250 candidates and raised nearly $30 million for his organizations.



The two-state solution is dead. Israel must achieve total victory.

By John Bolton

Foreign Secretary David Cameron recently suggested that the United Kingdom could recognise the state of “Palestine” before waiting for the conclusion of talks between Israel and the Palestinians. He said that recognition “can’t come at the start of the process, but it doesn’t have to be the very end of the process”.

This is dangerous ground for the unwary, including both Cameron and the credulous Biden administration, which is also musing about recognising a nonexistent state. Since the first Oslo Accord, if not before, it has been bedrock peace-process doctrine that both Israel and the Palestinians must agree to any “two-state solution”.  Moreover, Israel is responding to a terrorist attack comparable to al Qaeda’s 9-11 attack on America, while simultaneously menaced by Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. What kind of ally then puts a knife in Israel’s back?

Without agreement by the two most-concerned parties, there is no agreement at all. As former US Secretary of State James Baker often said, “we can’t want peace more than the parties themselves.”

Recognising “statehood” in international affairs is far more consequential than recognising a state of mind. In both treaties and customary international law, statehood has critically important characteristics, including having a defined territory and population, a capital city, and being able to implement normal governmental functions. There is no existing “Palestine” that meets any of these core criteria. Pretending that the Palestinian Authority (or Hamas for that matter) qualifies does not make it so. Indeed, wishing wistfully quite likely inhibits achieving the objectives statehood advocates supposedly want.

Imposing this key potential outcome of contentious negotiations almost certainly reduces Palestinian incentives to deal seriously with the Israeli government, which will in turn reduce Israeli interest in any deal. However much the Foreign Office dislikes Israel or Netanyahu, there is no justification for abandoning a key premise of the international state system.

The origins of the other-worldly notion of recognising a Palestinian state before there is one stem directly from none other than Yasser Arafat. Beginning in 1988-89 and continuing episodically thereafter, Arafat tried to have the Palestine Liberation Organisation admitted as a member of the United Nations and its specialised agencies. Because all UN agency charters limit membership to “states,” Arafat believed that admission would confer state status on the PLO, thus constructing not “facts on the ground” in the Middle East, but in the corridors of the UN.

President George H. W. Bush strongly objected to this fantasy, threatening to withhold all American contributions to any UN component that admitted “Palestine,” a threat ultimately embodied in statutory law by overwhelming House and Senate votes.

This is of far more than just historical interest. The threat worked until American resolve collapsed under Obama, allowing the Palestinian Authority to gain admittance to Unesco (from which Ronald Reagan had earlier withdrawn, with George W. Bush later returning). Obama’s mistake led to President Trump’s decision to withdraw. Biden rejoined. Should Trump win in November, count on a third withdrawal in short order.

Obsessively imagining a Palestinian state has thus caused real damage to the United Nations, which doesn’t matter that much except to the very types of people in the Foreign Office and State Department who also advocate early recognition of Palestine.

Rishi Sunak walked back Cameron’s frolic, saying the remarks had been “over-interpreted”. During Prime Minister’s Questions, however, he said Britain would recognise a Palestinian state when it was most conducive to the peace process, and stressed his commitment to a two-state solution. Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, any prospect that Israel would agree, already close to nonexistent, died along with over 1,200 Israelis killed in Hamas’s barbaric October 7 attack.

If further proof were required, consider Biden’s embarrassing efforts to negotiate a second cease-fire and the release of remaining Israeli hostages brutally kidnapped by Hamas. It was not Israel, but Hamas which effectively scuttled this gambit, by adding conditions guaranteed to provoke Israel’s rejection, which they did

Netanyahu made clear that Israel wants, as it should, “total victory” over Hamas. In World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt insisted that Germany and Japan agree to unconditional surrender. There is no reason Israel should not demand the same from Hamas. We can then turn to other Middle Eastern threats facing Israel and the wider West, nearly all of which emanate from Iran.

This article was first published in The Telegraph on February 10, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


Ambassador John Bolton Endorses Former Gov. Larry Hogan for US Senate in Maryland

Washington D.C. – Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Ambassador John R. Bolton, announced the John Bolton PAC’s endorsement of former Governor Larry Hogan in the Maryland Senate race. Additionally, the John Bolton PAC will make a contribution of $10,000 to his primary and general election campaign.  Hogan is running in Bolton’s home state of Maryland.

Statement by Ambassador John Bolton:

“Larry Hogan was an effective Republican governor in a blue state. His skills are badly needed in the Senate.  His candidacy immediately puts this race in play as a likely GOP pickup.  From day one, he will be a key swing vote on critical national security issues like securing our border and providing aid to Ukraine and Israel.  I’m excited for him to represent me as my senator.”

About the John Bolton PAC (www.boltonpac.com): Through his PAC, SuperPAC and Foundation, Ambassador John Bolton defends America by raising the importance of national security in public discourse and supporting candidates who believe in strong national security policies. Ambassador Bolton has worked hard to restore conservative leadership, which must reverse the recent policies of drift, decline, and defeat. America must rise to the occasion and acknowledge the indispensable role we play in the world. Through 2022, Ambassador Bolton has endorsed over 250 candidates and raised nearly $30 million for his organizations.



Biden’s biggest Middle East problem: Too many competing goals

By John Bolton

Before Washington unleashed strikes against Iranian assets and Iranian-backed militias in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, media reporting highlighted the Biden administration’s concerns over potentially broader regional fallout. Fearful of escalating the current conflict and producing a wider war by crossing Tehran’s publicly declared “red line,” we heard, the United States would not attack inside Iran.

Retaliation, we heard, would be carefully calibrated lest it disrupt negotiations for a lengthy cease-fire and the return of Hamas-held Israeli hostages. Or disrupt talks to recognize “Palestine,” with the Palestinian Authority as Gaza’s postwar government. Or prevent Saudi Arabia’s recognition of Israel. Or complicate President Biden’s desire to withdraw American forces from Iraq and Syria. Or complicate his efforts to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Or more.

So intricately reticulated were Biden’s worries, that striking the right balance seemed impossible. Such worries are legitimate, but not for the reasons advanced by anonymous administration sources. The problem is of Biden’s own making. He has too many wrongheaded, confused and contradictory strategic objectives colliding and gridlocking, most likely leading to inadequate or undesirable results for them all. Washington needs not just aspirations, but priorities and concrete strategies to realize them. You can only simultaneously drive so many camels through one needle’s eye.

Biden’s wish list is overbroad and deeply flawed. For example, the idea of raising the Palestinian Authority from its ashes on the West Bank to govern Gaza leaves Israelis across the political spectrum speechless. The Post’s Ishaan Tharoor recently described the Palestinian Authority as “weak and increasingly unpopular,” a “sclerotic institution, riven with corruption,” and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, as presiding “over his rump of a fiefdom like other Arab autocrats in the region, stifling civil society and repeatedly dodging calls for fresh elections.” It defies common sense that such an entity should be entrusted with responsibility on the West Bank, let alone post-conflict Gaza.

Nor do the objectives of full diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, or a formal Saudi-U.S. military alliance, require near-term Palestinian statehood. Before Oct. 7, Riyadh and Jerusalem were progressing toward mutual recognition, motivated by their shared view of Iran’s threat, amplified by the palpable economic and political benefits likely after recognition. The current conflict has not altered those realities. Rather, Iran’s “ring of fire” strategy against Israel has emphasized, not reduced, the congruence of Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s national security priorities. Riyadh and other Persian Gulf capitals could help by publicly explaining why this is really an Iranian war against Israel, not an Arab- or Palestinian-Israeli war. The issue of Palestinian statehood was not resolved before several Saudi neighbors recognized Israel, nor will it be a dealbreaker for Riyadh.

And while it is clearly desirable to deepen politico-military ties between Washington and Riyadh, the Senate will be ratifying no significant treaties this year or well into the future, given the Constitution’s two-thirds majority requirement. If Biden’s negotiators are suggesting that quick treaty ratification is realistic, both Israelis and Saudis should beware. Nor would a Donald Trump victory in November be likely to change the picture, since no one can honestly say what he will do, other than look to put himself in the best possible light.

Recognizing a Palestinian state before peace is agreed with Israel only compounds the error. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said recognition “can’t come at the start of the process, but it doesn’t have to be the very end of the process.” Sadly, these suggestions mirror Yasser Arafat’s endless campaign in U.N. agencies to make “Palestine” a state just by saying so. They contradict years of U.S. policy, as well as the Oslo accords, and will cause Israel to stiffen its resistance. This is no way to treat an ally gravely threatened by Tehran.

As for the “wider war” issue, the United States and Israel have been in a wider war since Oct. 7. The real worry should not be “wider war,” but the cause of the current one, which is unmistakably Iran. Until Iran stops interfering beyond its borders — stops arming, equipping, training and financing terrorist groups and stops seeking nuclear weapons — there will be no lasting Middle East peace and security. Iran does not and will not fear U.S. power until it pays heavily for what its barbaric surrogate Hamas unleashed four months ago, now joined in violence by Hezbollah, the Houthis and Shiite militias.

Prioritization is essential here — and actually straightforward, contrary to White House hand-wringing. By torquing Iran’s menace into the still-unresolved issue of the Palestinians, Biden has fused multiple problems into a larger, even harder problem. Instead, the United States and Israel should focus first on thwarting Tehran’s multiple offensives, then more intensively focus on other issues. Whatever their public commentary, Arab leaders fully recognize that cementing ties with Israel is critical to their own security, especially facing a possible future with a feckless American president. Every day that passes without consolidating like-minded states against Iran renders achieving any of Biden’s multitudinous goals more difficult.

The Middle East has never been an easy problem set. Biden is making it unnecessarily more difficult.

This article was first published in The Washington Post on February 6, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


Here are the dangers of a second term for Donald Trump

By John Bolton

If returned to office, Trump will need others to carry out his directives. He will want White House staffers to follow his orders without asking troubling questions, as testimony in the classified-documents case demonstrates. These staffers will not be known for independent, creative thinking, just personal fidelity to Trump, for whom loyalty flows only one way.

No responsible president would want such a staff; he or she would instead seek advisors who voiced their opinions straightforwardly, not hesitating to bring bad news when necessary. Presidents face tough issues requiring tactical decisions where even philosophically like-minded advisors will disagree. So selecting a strong, competent White House staff has nothing to do with “restraining” a president or undercutting his constitutional authority. It is simply good management.

Everyone knows presidents make the final decision, but a White House of serfs will serve neither presidents nor America well. Indeed, being surrounded by neutered aides fearful of firing could again cause Trump’s downfall, at potentially terrible cost to the country.

The president’s free hand in staffing the West Wing contrasts with appointments for the vast majority of senior “officers of the United States” who manage the broader federal government, where the Senate’s advise-and-consent power limits his discretion.

Trump and many supporters see a “deep state”, a careerist cabal in law enforcement, intelligence, foreign policy, and the military, covertly running the government and conspiring to destroy him and his regime.

‘Deep state’ is a fallacy

The “deep state” is a fallacy, but there is no doubt that government bureaucracies develop distinctive cultures. What Trump and his acolytes don’t understand is that this culture arises not from clandestine conspiracies but from legislative mandates and incentive structures that federal agencies live within. It is often not a pretty picture.

I have, for example, long argued that the State Department needs a “cultural revolution” to redirect its efforts, one that will take decades to bring about. But directing recalcitrant bureaucracies, however difficult and frustrating, is a required skill for any president who truly wants to accomplish significant change and not merely bloviate about it.

Since Trump does not understand this logic, he will inevitably and repeatedly cross lines that will cause conflict, often constitutional conflict. Take the four pending criminal indictments against Trump. He will have constitutional authority to order Justice to dismiss the two cases brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, or, if necessary, pardon himself.

Trump has already argued for a government shutdown to stop Smith’s trial preparations and investigations. While the president’s authority to self-pardon is disputed, litigating a Trump self-pardon could take years before definite resolution, even assuming someone has standing to litigate the issue. And if the Supreme Court invalidated Trump’s self-pardoning, it might take yet another impeachment saga to remove him from office. He will not depart voluntarily this time.

The result could well be mass resignations from Smith’s office, and perhaps across Justice. This time, there will be little prospect, as during the “Saturday Night Massacre”, of halting a tide of resignations. When Richard Nixon ordered the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, Attorney General Elliott Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, resigned because of commitments that they made during their confirmations. Nixon then ordered the department’s third-ranking official, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox, and Bork said he would also resign. But Richardson talked him out of it, arguing that Bork alone could prevent a flood of resignations from lower-ranking Justice lawyers. Richardson told him, “You’ve got the gun now, Bob. It’s your duty to pull the trigger.” Bork did so, maintaining the department’s basic function and integrity were vital.

Every time Trump seeks retribution through Justice, as he has on multiple occasions, the risk of protest resignations arises, impairing the effective operation of the entire federal legal system. In such circumstances, who would serve in a Trump Justice Department? The same question applies across the federal bureaucracy.

The New York and Georgia indictments are more complicated. Trump has no authority to direct them, nor can he pardon himself, because they are not federal cases. What would he do if convicted and sentenced? Quite possibly, he would simply reject such outcomes (particularly if they involved jail time), arguing, typically, that they were “witch hunts”, and refusing to accept the validity of the legal results.

Impeachment may be only remedy

What then? How do state or local officials deal with an incumbent president contesting their jurisdiction and authority? And who at the national level would assist them? Yet again, impeachment may be the only remedy.

Because of that possibility, Congress will be in constant agitation during a second Trump incumbency: constant combat with Trump over his legitimacy in office will distract America from pending threats, especially internationally, where his attention span is already perilously short.

Beyond Justice, the entire “deep state” will face comparable tribulations. Trump’s prior clashes with national security bureaucracies are well known. Who will be willing to serve there as political appointees, and who among them could expect easy Senate confirmation?

Trump is completely comfortable with extraordinary personnel turnover, partly because he has no idea what is required to steer the massive federal bureaucracy, and partly because high turnover means he alone remains the centre of attention. Trump is not focused on reducing the federal government’s size and scope so much as on achieving objectives personal to him, particularly retribution. In consequence, vast portions of the national security machinery may simply grind to a halt in a second Trump term. We are entirely in uncharted territory.

Deviations from conservative norms

There is no “Trumpism”. His lack of philosophy and inability to reason in policy terms leaves him uniquely susceptible to dramatic shifts in his “positions”, and certainly in his rhetoric. If his self-interested cost-benefit analysis of something changes, his “policy” view changes accordingly, and quickly. This is a major contributing factor to Trump’s endemic untrustworthiness and unfitness for the presidency.

Examples of his deviations from conservative norms already abound, as in 2016 when Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” this is hardly a law and order position. Nor is his solicitude for Jan 6 rioters, including hosting a fundraiser at his Bedminster resort and pledging to contribute to their legal defence fund.

“There have been few people that have been treated in the history of our country” like these defendants, he said, incorrectly. Had they really been Antifa members, he would have favoured maximum sentences. The consistent conservative view is straightforward: Whatever the politics of those who invade the Capitol to disrupt Congress’s orderly functioning, they should serve maximum prison terms without parole.

Trump’s ineligibility for a third term (which could be changed only by constitutional amendment) inhibits him in some respects. But in other ways, it also frees him from political constraints. In my experience, when substantive policy arguments made no headway, Trump was often persuaded by arguments based on personal political benefit. Because he need not fear the challenges of another presidential election, the political constraints around him are much looser, and the real “guardrail” of voter opinion will be minimised.

Moreover, he will be hearing endlessly about his “legacy”, a message with an uncanny ability to turn the heads of public officials away from philosophical and policy goals toward their own self-enhancement. How far astray he will go is unknowable, but his record indicates that conservatives supporting Trump because they believe he is one of them, could be quite surprised after four more years.

This article was first published in The Telegraph on February 3, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


Abolish UNRWA

By John Bolton

The world undoubtedly was startled to learn that staffers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency participated in Hamas’s barbaric Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged a full investigation, and several countries, including the United States, suspended funding to UNRWA.

Washington should demand far more than just further revelations about UNRWA involvement in Oct. 7’s tragic events.

The larger, more complex truth about UNRWA is its decadeslong performance less as a U.N. agency and more as a bulwark of Palestinian resistance to reality, especially in the Gaza Strip. This larger UNRWA history has contributed significantly to making Palestinians a pariah people, unwanted even by fellow Arabs. And it is UNRWA, along with Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Palestinian Authority, that embodies the myth of Palestinians’ perpetual refugee status until Israel disappears. UNRWA has been a witting participant in weaponizing the Palestinian people against Israel, ultimately to their own severe detriment.

The answer to the UNRWA problem requires abolishing and dismantling the agency and its philosophy, which runs contrary to international refugee principles derived after World War II. Until the treatment of Palestinians, particularly Gazans, comes into conformity with the more humane approach institutionalized by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, there is little long-term hope that Palestinians will be deweaponized.

Basic UNHCR doctrine originated in the post-1945 mass movements of refugees and displaced persons. Its two main goals are providing protection and assistance for refugees. One form of protection, highly difficult but critical to attempt, is isolating refugees from the politics of the violent conflicts that made them refugees to begin with. UNRWA does the opposite, fanning the flames of discontent even in its basic education programs and cooperating closely with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. On assistance, UNHCR worries not only about refugees’ immediate needs but also their long-term prospects, either returning to their original homes or resettlement elsewhere. This, too, is dramatically different from UNRWA’s uniform focus on the “right of return” to Israeli territory.

UNHCR believes refugees should either return to their country of origin or, if that is impossible for whatever reason, be resettled in third countries. UNHCR often looks to the “country of first asylum,” typically a country bordering the one from which the refugees fled, but there are, at times, capacity and other restraints justifying resettlement elsewhere. One thing clear to all refugee agencies and experts, except UNRWA, is that long-term subsistence in refugee camps is the least desirable alternative. In the mind-deadening camps, there is no hope for viable economic activity or long-term prospects. Yet, to promote the larger political objective of using Palestinians as a wedge against Israel’s very legitimacy, that is exactly what UNRWA does.

The truly humanitarian strategy for Palestinians is to settle them in locations with sustainable economies. To that end, we should realize that Gaza is very different from the West Bank, and the futures of Palestinians should be separated accordingly. On the West Bank, there may well be prospects for long-term stability with the cooperation of Israel and Jordan. That possibility does not exist in Gaza. Assuming Israel and Jordan can agree on a political solution, circumstances on the West Bank are far better for long-term settlement of the existing Palestinian population than in Gaza, which is merely a high-rise, long-stay refugee camp.

Ironically, precisely because of the way prior enemies of Israel abused the Palestinians, there is enormous reluctance to accept them for resettlement. Egypt and Jordan, the real countries of first asylum, are the most vocal in rejecting the option. Indeed, no country in the Middle East has shown interest in permanent refugee resettlement. Surely, however, all can see that simply rebuilding Gaza is a guaranteed failure, perhaps leading quickly to a repetition of Oct. 7.

In any case, Israel is physically reshaping Gaza to ensure its own security, and new Israeli buffer zones and strong points are not going away soon. All parties with a stake in the conflict must accept that the two-state solution is dead. Not only is there no viable economic future in Gaza alone, but connecting it with an archipelago of Palestinian islands on the West Bank won’t improve prospects.

Abolishing UNRWA and replacing it with UNHCR will be difficult, but UNRWA may be collapsing under its own weight. Firing all UNRWA’s roughly 40,000 employees, well over 90% of whom are Palestinians, may be impossible, but whoever is reemployed must be vetted carefully and supervised for a probationary period before receiving job security. UNRWA’s mindset must be eliminated and replaced with UNHCR’s.

There must be a dramatic shift in expectations and policy objectives for the Palestinians as a matter of humanitarian priority, no matter how wrenching and disappointing. For decades, the two-state policy has been tried and failed. It’s time for a new direction.

This article was first published in The Washington Examiner on February 2, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


Trump Is a Danger to U.S. Security

His isolationist views and erratic thinking and style would post even greater risks in a second term.

When I became President Trump’s national security adviser in 2018, I assumed the gravity of his responsibilities would discipline even him. I was wrong. His erratic approach to governance and his dangerous ideas gravely threaten American security. Republican primary voters should take note.

Mr. Trump’s only consistent focus is on himself. He invariably equated good personal relations with foreign leaders to good relations between countries. Personal relations are important, but the notion that they sway Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and their ilk is perilously wrong.

Mr. Trump’s most dangerous legacy is the spread of the isolationist virus in the Republican Party. The Democrats long ago adopted an incoherent melding of isolationism with indiscriminate multilateralism. If isolationism becomes the dominant view among Republicans, America is in deep trouble.

The most immediate crisis involves Ukraine. Barack Obama’s limp-wristed response to Moscow’s 2014 aggression contributed substantially to Mr. Putin’s 2022 attack. But Mr. Trump’s conduct was also a factor. He accused Ukraine of colluding with Democrats against him in 2016 and demanded answers. No answers were forthcoming, since none existed. President Biden’s aid to Ukraine has been piecemeal and nonstrategic, but it is almost inevitable that a second-term Trump policy on Ukraine would favor Moscow.

Mr. Trump’s assertions that he was “tougher” on Russia than earlier presidents are inaccurate. His administration imposed major sanctions, but they were urged by advisers and carried out only after he protested vigorously. His assertions that Mr. Putin would never have invaded Ukraine had he been re-elected are wishful thinking. Mr. Putin’s flattery pleases Mr. Trump. When Mr. Putin welcomed Mr. Trump’s talk last year of ending the Ukraine war, Mr. Trump gushed: “I like that he said that. Because that means what I’m saying is right.” Mr. Putin knows his mark and would relish a second Trump term.

An even greater danger is that Mr. Trump will act on his desire to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He came precariously close in 2018. The Supreme Court has never ruled authoritatively whether the president can abrogate Senate-ratified treaties, but presidents have regularly done so. Recently enacted legislation to stop Mr. Trump from withdrawing without congressional consent likely wouldn’t survive a court challenge. It could precipitate a constitutional crisis and years of litigation.

Mr. Trump is unlikely to thwart the Beijing-Moscow axis. While he did draw attention to China’s growing threat, his limited conceptual reach led to simple-minded formulas (trade surpluses good, deficits bad). His tough talk allowed others to emphasize greater Chinese misdeeds, including massive theft of Western intellectual property, mercantilist trade policies, manipulation of the World Trade Organization, and “debt diplomacy,” which puts unwary countries in hock to Beijing. These are all real threats, but whether Mr. Trump is capable of countering them is highly doubtful.

Ultimately, Beijing’s obduracy and Mr. Trump’s impulse for personal publicity precluded whatever slim chances existed to eliminate China’s economic abuses. In a second term, Mr. Trump would likely continue seeking “the deal of the century” with China, while his protectionism, in addition to being bad economic policy, would make it harder to stand up to Beijing. The trade fights he picked with Japan, Europe and others impaired our ability to increase pressure against China’s broader transgressions.

The near-term risks of China manufacturing a crisis over Taiwan would rise dramatically. Mr. Xi is watching Ukraine and may be emboldened by Western failure there. A physical invasion is unlikely, but China’s navy could blockade the island and perhaps seize Taiwanese islands near the mainland. The loss of Taiwan’s independence, which would soon follow a U.S. failure to resist Beijing’s blockade, could persuade countries near China to appease Beijing by declaring neutrality.

Taiwan’s fall would encourage Beijing to finalize its asserted annexation of almost all the South China Sea. Littoral states like Vietnam and the Philippines would cease resistance. Commerce with Japan and South Korea, especially of Middle Eastern oil, would be subjected to Chinese control, and Beijing would have nearly unfettered access to the Indian Ocean, endangering India.

And imagine Mr. Trump’s euphoria at resuming contact with North Korea’s Kim Jung Un, about whom he famously boasted that “we fell in love.” Mr. Trump almost gave away the store to Pyongyang, and he could try again. A reckless nuclear deal would alienate Japan and South Korea, extend China’s influence, and strengthen the Beijing-Moscow axis.

Israel’s security might seem an issue on which Mr. Trump’s first-term decisions and rhetoric should comfort even his opponents. But he has harshly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the Oct. 7 attacks, and there is no foreign-policy area in which the absence of electoral constraints could liberate Mr. Trump as much as in the Middle East. There is even a danger of a new deal with Tehran. Mr. Trump almost succumbed to French President Emmanuel Macron’s pleading to meet Iran’s foreign minister in August 2019.

Mr. Trump negotiated the catastrophic withdrawal deal with the Taliban, which Mr. Biden further bungled. The overlap between Messrs. Trump’s and Biden’s views on Afghanistan demonstrate the absence of any Trump national-security philosophy. Even in the Western Hemisphere, Mr. Trump didn’t carry through on reversing Obama administration policies on Cuba and Venezuela. His affinity for strongmen may lead to deals with Nicolás Maduro and whatever apparatchik rules in Havana.

Given Mr. Trump’s isolationism and disconnected thinking, there is every reason to doubt his support for the defense buildup we urgently need. He initially believed he could cut defense spending simply because his skills as a negotiator could reduce procurement costs. Even as he increased defense budgets, he showed acute discomfort, largely under the influence of isolationist lawmakers. He once tweeted that his own military budget was “crazy” and that he, Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi should confer to prevent a new arms race. Mr. Trump is no friend of the military. In private, he was confounded that anyone would put himself in danger by joining.

A second Trump term would bring erratic policy and uncertain leadership, which the China-Russia axis would be only too eager to exploit.

This article was first published in The Wall Street Journal on January 31, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


As Iran-backed militias attack Americans, Biden tries to save Tehran terrorists

By John Bolton

Many words describe President Biden’s Iran policy. “Craven,” “weak,” “obsequious” and “embarrassing,” among others, come readily to mind.

But there are no words to describe adequately the recent White House decision, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, to warn Tehran about a possible terrorist attack.

Sunday’s serious American casualties in Jordan, at the hands of an Iran-backed militia, tragically underscore Biden’s folly.

Anonymous administration sources justified sharing intelligence with a US enemy by citing a “duty to warn” policy applicable to both citizens and noncitizens.

Although the Journal story mentions “exceptions” to this policy, its administration sources were less than candid.

I have experienced duty-to-warn personally.

Starting in 2020, the FBI, pursuant to the policy, has warned me of Iran’s efforts to assassinate me and other current and former American officials.

I’m sure Tehran is pleased to know President Biden nonetheless still has its best interests at heart.

The origins of duty-to-warn lie in the Libyan-ordered 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Information about terrorist threats had earlier been sent to US embassies but without comparable warning to the general public.

Combined with reports of other preferential treatment for government officials, the post-Lockerbie outcry produced federal legislation creating a “no double standard” policy.

Broadly stated, the State Department shares threat-related information to both official and non-official Americans, which is especially important for our citizens living or traveling abroad.

US law-enforcement and intelligence agencies were contemporaneously considering how to deal with information regarding American citizens facing specific terrorist threats.

The “duty to warn” evolved over decades, adjusting the scope and extent of threats considered and the categories of people to be warned.

Elements of the policy remain classified, but Intelligence Community Directive 191, largely unclassified, is likely the authority the anonymous administration sources cited.

Claiming Biden officials had no choice but to disclose threat intelligence to Iran is flatly wrong.

It is nearly inconceivable US policymakers could believe it wise to disclose sensitive material to an enemy state currently taking numerous hostile steps against Americans.

The Journal gave only one example of sharing intelligence with an adversary: in December 2019 when Donald Trump provided information to Vladimir Putin, hardly an inspiring precedent.

ICD 191 is limited in significant respects.

It is merely a policy statement, not a legislative requirement, and therefore subject to adaptation as circumstances require.

Indeed, it already provides two justifications for not disclosing threat information that emphatically apply to Iran.

The terrorists’ target here was memorial services for Qassem Soleimani, former head of Iran’s Quds Force, sent to his Maker courtesy of the United States in January 2020.

These memorials were Iranian government events, attended by large numbers of government officials, especially from the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards (of which the force is a component) and others.

ICD 191 authorizes waiving disclosure where the target is at risk because of its “participation in an insurgency, insurrection or other armed conflict” or where there is reason to believe the target “is a terrorist, a direct supporter of terrorists, an assassin” or commits other criminal activity.

These exemptions define attendees at the Soleimani memorial services to a T.

The White House decision to proceed anyway is an entirely unforced error.

It comes even while the administration is treating US military and civilian personnel in Syria and Iraq as little more than tethered goats, inviting targets for Iran-backed-militia attacks.

With the Houthis’ efforts to strike American naval vessels in the Red Sea, these attacks are now unambiguous, notwithstanding US and UK retaliation against the Yemeni terrorist group for firing on commercial ships.

And, as noted, Iran is directing an active assassination campaign against current and former government officials and private citizens like Masih Alinejad and Salman Rushdie.

Iran’s reaction to receiving intelligence about a possible terrorist attack is unknown, but Tehran obviously failed to defend against the threat, which manifested itself Jan. 3.

Thus, not only was Biden’s tip to the mullahs misguided, it failed, thereby proving it was a mistake to begin with.

There is no doubt ICD 191’s current text, written during the Obama years, is inadequate and needs strengthening, especially in light of Biden’s palpable misjudgment.

Duty-to-warn should not apply, for example, if the persons or state being targeted are themselves trying to murder US citizens.

That’s Iran.

Duty-to-warn should not apply to any person or state arming, training or financing terrorist groups threatening or attacking American personnel overseas.

That’s Iran.

This article was first published in The New York Post on January 28, 2024. Click here to read the original article.


Ambassador John Bolton, a diplomat and a lawyer, has spent many years in public service. He served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in 2005-2006. He was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from 2001 to 2005. In the Reagan Administration, he was an Assistant Attorney General.