Thu, Sep 12, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Hawkish Bolton out as Trump charts own foreign policy


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin take questions during a White House press briefing in Washington on Tuesday. Pompeo and Mnuchin spoke about US President Donald Trump firing National Security Adviser John Bolton and what it means for the future of US policy toward Iran.

Photo: Bloomberg

US President Donald Trump has abruptly forced out US National Security Adviser John Bolton, the hawkish adviser with whom he had strong disagreements on Iran, Afghanistan and many other global challenges.

Tuesday’s sudden shake-up marked the latest departure of a prominent voice of dissent from the president’s inner circle, as Trump has grown less accepting of advice contrary to his instincts.

It also comes at a trying moment for Trump on the world stage, as he faces pressing decisions on difficult foreign policy issues.

Tensions between Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser, and other officials have flared in the past few months over influence in the president’s orbit and how to manage his desire to negotiate with some of the world’s most unsavory actors.

Since joining the administration in the spring of last year, Bolton has espoused skepticism about the president’s whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea, and has recently become a vocal internal critic of potential talks between Trump and the leaders of Iran and Afghanistan’s Taliban.

On Twitter on Tuesday, Trump and Bolton offered opposing accounts on the adviser’s less-than-friendly departure, final shots for what had been a fractious relationship almost from the start.

Trump tweeted that he told Bolton on Monday night that his services were no longer needed at the White House and Bolton submitted his resignation on Tuesday morning, while Bolton responded in a tweet of his own that he offered to resign on Monday “and President Trump said: ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.’”

One US Republican lawmaker familiar with the disagreements between Trump and Bolton said that the adviser’s opposition to a possible meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was a precipitating factor.

The Iranian government hailed Bolton’s departure, and spokesman Ali Rabiei said it might pave the way for warmer relations.

Rouhani’s Web site yesterday quoted the Iranian president as also signaling his approval of Bolton’s dismissal and urging the US to “put warmongers aside and abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy” on Iran.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said that US Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman would fill Bolton’s role on an acting basis.

Trump said he would name a replacement for Bolton next week.

Asked if Bolton’s departure would affect Taiwan-US relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement yesterday that the ministry, out of respect, refrains from commenting on the personnel affairs of foreign governments.

Nonetheless, she reaffirmed that Taiwan-US relations remains close and friendly, saying that the nation has many supportive friends in the White House, the US Department of State and the US Department of Defense.

Taiwan cherishes the hard-won partnerships and democratic values shared by the two countries, she added.

The ministry continues to work with the US in building an open, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region and an international order based on the rule of law, Ou said.

Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan

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