Though President-elect Trump seems ready to reduce tensions with Russia, his consideration of neocon John Bolton as Secretary of State could presage more Mideast warmongering toward Iran, writes Gareth Porter at Middle East Eye.
By Gareth Porter
Post-election comments on Middle East policy last week by President-elect Donald Trump and one his campaign advisers have provoked speculation about whether Trump will upend two main foreign policy lines of the Obama administration in the Middle East.
But the more decisive question about the future of U.S. policy toward the region is whom Trump will pick for his national security team – and especially whether he will nominate John Bolton to become Secretary of State.
Bolton, one of the most notorious members of Dick Cheney’s team plotting wars in the George W. Bush administration, would certainly push for the effective nullification of the main political barrier to U.S. confrontation with Iran: the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.
Trump created a minor stir by giving an interview to the Wall Street Journal last Thursday in which he reiterated his criticism of the Obama administration’s involvement in the war against Syria’s Assad and supported cooperation with Russia against the Islamic State group. And a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser once connected with an extremist sectarian Christian militia in Lebanon named Walid Phares suggested in an interview with BBC radio that Trump would demand that Iran “change [a] few issues” in the agreement and that “the agreement as it is right now … is not going to be accepted by a Trump administration”.
The significance of that interview, however, is very unclear. Trump himself had avoided threatening such a move during the campaign, denouncing the nuclear agreement as “disastrous” but avoiding any pledge to renounce it as his Republican rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio had done. In his speech to AIPAC, Trump thundered against the agreement but promised only to enforce it strictly and hold Iran “accountable.”
Trump has consistently embraced the long-standing official U.S. animosity…