Author Topic: Excerpt from John Bolton's book  (Read 2556 times)

rb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3644
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2020, 04:34:57 PM »
Why did it take Trump to remove Bolton if he thought he was so incompetent and such a poor President. He got fired, why didn't he quit?
I don't know. Why do they never leave? As far as I can tell the only one that was able to leave with the head held high was Mattis


Xerxes

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 246
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2020, 06:54:55 PM »
He wrote +500 pages and in great depth and details.

I am guessing the day he got in the White House, he probably told himself: "i am hedging my bets by taking notes, so that i could write book if things go awry"

he should have called the book "Bolton's Put Option"
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 07:14:53 PM by Xerxes »

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2020, 10:55:06 PM »
It looks intentional, like pulling a fire alarm to keep the press away from more serious topics:

On January 6, 2018, during a maelstrom of press commentary on the new Fire and Fury book about Trump, he tweeted that he was a “very stable genius.” With another statutorily required presidential decision approaching on whether to have the pre-Iran-deal sanctions come back into force, I decided to sit back. They knew how to get me if they wanted to, and no one made contact. Trump reprised what he had done in October, keeping the sanctions from coming back into effect but not certifying that Iran was complying with the deal. No progress.

Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (p. 30). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.






ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2020, 09:24:42 AM »
On Friday, I made calls to various Arab states to check their interest in putting together the Arab expeditionary force Trump sought to substitute for US troops in Syria and Iraq. He had imagined that, in addition to manpower, the Arabs would pay the US “cost plus twenty-five percent,” and then he went up to “cost plus fifty percent” for our remaining forces. I could only imagine the reactions.

Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (p. 57). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2020, 09:37:44 AM »

On Easter Monday, Trump called again. I asked, “How’s the Easter Egg Roll going, Mr. President?” “Great,” he said as Sarah Sanders, her children, and others came in and out of the Oval, and then returned to his Saturday-night monologue, saying, “I want to get out of these horrible wars [in the Middle East].” “We’re killing ISIS for countries that are our enemies,” which I took to mean Russia, Iran, and Assad’s Syria. He said his advisors were divided into two categories, those who wanted to stay “forever,” and those who wanted to stay “for a while.” By contrast, Trump said, “I don’t want to stay at all. I don’t like the Kurds. They ran from the Iraqis, they ran from the Turks, the only time they don’t run is when we’re bombing all around them with F-18s.” He asked, “What should we do?”


Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (p. 40). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.


Trump was irritated at Germany and prepared to get out of NATO,

Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (p. 58). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.



I continued preparing for Trump’s summit with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, with a heavy focus on North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, the main purpose of Abe’s trip. Even the simple task of preparing Trump for Abe’s visit turned out to be arduous, and a sign of things to come. We arranged two briefings, one largely on North Korea and security issues, and one on trade and economic issues, corresponding to the schedule of meetings between Abe and Trump. Although the first Abe-Trump meeting was on political matters, our briefing room was filled with trade-policy types who, having heard there was a briefing, wandered in. Trump was late, so I said we would have a brief discussion on trade and then get to North Korea. It was a mistake. Trump, set off by a comment that we had no better ally than Japan, jarringly complained about Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Things went downhill from there. Before long, Abe arrived, and the session ended. I pulled Kelly aside to discuss the fruitless “briefing,” and he said, “You’re going to be very frustrated in this job.”

Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (pp. 61-62). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 10:04:58 AM by ERICOPOLY »

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2020, 10:06:13 AM »

Trump believed that acknowledging Russia’s meddling in US politics, or in that of many other countries in Europe and elsewhere, would implicitly acknowledge that he had colluded with Russia in his 2016 campaign.


Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (p. 63). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

cwericb

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1273
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2020, 02:37:04 PM »
One wonders how Trump supporters brush off all this inside information that comes out about Trump’s erratic behavior and still support him. Can you imagine if any of this info had come out about Obama?

I think that Trump supporters read this stuff written by credible people who have dealt directly with Trump and simply write it off as lies or distortions. Is this because they have become so conditioned to Trump’s constant lieing that they no longer believe anyone else? When I was a kid my father said to me, “Don’t tell lies, if you lie you will never believe anything others say”.
Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason. - Mark Twain

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2020, 04:09:13 PM »
One wonders how Trump supporters brush off all this inside information that comes out about Trump’s erratic behavior and still support him.

According to the request for the injunction against the release of this book, this nation's security would suffer if it were to be released because it would be damaging to Trump's ability to get things done in the world.  Post release, and using that same argument, it is a strong reason for him to resign.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 04:17:03 PM by ERICOPOLY »

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2020, 09:40:07 PM »
Kim Jong Un knew just what he was doing when he asked what Trump thought of him; it was a question designed to elicit a positive response, or risk ending the meeting right there. By asking a seemingly naïve or edgy question, Kim actually threw the burden and risk of answering on the other person. It showed he had Trump hooked. Kim claimed strenuously that he was committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Even though he knew there were people who doubted his sincerity, those people were mistakenly judging him by the actions of his predecessors. He was different. Trump agreed that Kim had
changed things totally.  Following the decades-old, standard North Korean line, however, Kim blamed the troubled US–North Korea history on the hostile policies of past US Administrations. He said that as he and Trump met frequently, they could work to dispel mistrust and accelerate the pace of denuclearization. I had heard all this before, but Trump had not, and he agreed with Kim’s assessment, noting that there were some very militant people on the US side, especially with regard to Kim’s criticism of past US Administrations. Interestingly, Trump said he would seek Senate approval of any nuclear agreement with North Korea, contrasting his approach positively with Obama’s unwillingness to seek ratification of the Iran nuclear deal. At this point, Pompeo passed me his note pad, on which he had written, “he is so full of shit.” I agreed. Kim promised there would be no further nuclear tests, and that their nuclear program would be dismantled in an irreversible manner. Then came the catch, perfected by Joseph Stalin in his wartime summits with Franklin Roosevelt, when “hardliners” were first discovered in the Soviet Politburo. Kim “confessed” that he had domestic political hurdles he could not easily overcome, because there were hardliners in North Korea as well as America. Kim needed a way to build public support in North Korea, he said, actually maintaining a straight face, and he bored in on the South Korean–US joint exercises, which, he said, got on people’s nerves. Kim wanted us to reduce the scope or eliminate the exercises altogether. He said he had raised the military exercises with Moon in their first Summit (which produced the Panmunjom Declaration), and Moon had said that only the US could make the decision. Trump answered exactly as I feared, reiterating to Kim his constant refrain that the exercises were provocative and a waste of time and money. He said he would override his generals, who could never make a deal, and decide that there would be no exercises as long as the two sides were negotiating in good faith. He said brightly that Kim had saved the United States a lot of money. Kim was smiling broadly, laughing from time to time, joined by Kim Yong Chol. You bet. We certainly were having fun. In later US press coverage, there were leaks, obviously from DoD, that Mattis was displeased he was not consulted before Trump made this concession. Of course, neither were Kelly, Pompeo, nor I, and we were sitting right there. Trump said he had known from his first day in office that, for him, deal-making or negotiating such as this summit would be easy. Trump asked Kelly and Pompeo if they agreed. Both said yes. Luckily, he didn’t ask me. Kim said the hardliners in North Korea would be impressed by Trump’s decision on the exercises, and that further steps could be taken in the next phase of the negotiations. He joked that there would be no more comparisons of the sizes of their respective nuclear buttons, because the US was no longer under threat from North Korea, agreeing to dismantle a rocket-engine test facility. As the meeting continued, Kim congratulated himself and Trump for all that they had accomplished in just one hour, and Trump agreed that others couldn’t have done it. They both laughed. Trump then pointed to Kim, and said he was the only one that mattered. Kim agreed he was doing things his way, and that he and Trump would get along. Trump returned to the military exercises, again criticizing his generals, whom he was overruling to give the point to Kim at this meeting. Kim laughed again. Trump mused that six months earlier, he was calling Kim “little rocket man,” and asked if Kim knew who Elton John was. He thought “rocket man” was a compliment. Kim kept laughing. At this point, Trump asked that we play the Korean-language version of the “recruitment” film, which the North Korean side watched very intently on the iPads we gave them. When it ended, Trump and Kim wanted to sign the joint statement as soon as possible, but it turned out that translation inconsistencies were holding it up, so the conversation continued. Kim repeated that they had had a good discussion, saying he was glad that he and Trump had agreed to follow the “action for action” approach. Somehow, I had missed Trump making that concession, but those were indeed magic words, exactly the ones I wanted to avoid, but which Kim thought he was walking away with. Kim asked if UN sanctions would be the next step, and Trump said he was open to it and wanted to think about it, noting that we had literally hundreds of new sanctions poised to announce. Pompeo and I had no idea what he meant. Trump handed out mints to the North Koreans. Kim was optimistic about moving forward quickly, and wondered why their predecessors had been unable to do so. Trump answered quickly that they had been stupid. Kim agreed that it took the likes of him and Trump to accomplish all this.
  Then, a delicate moment. Kim looked across the table and asked what the others on our side of the table thought. Trump asked Pompeo to start, and Pompeo said that only the two leaders could agree on the day’s historic document. Trump said happily that the US couldn’t have made the deal with Tillerson, who was like a block of granite.
Fortunately, Kim changed the subject to returning American war remains, and I didn’t have to speak. A second bullet dodged. Official photographers from both sides then entered, and the meeting ended at about 11:10. After stopping briefly in a holding room for Trump to check out the massive, ongoing television coverage, we started a working lunch at 11:30. Another press mob stumbled in and then out, and Kim said, “It’s like a day in fantasy land.” Finally, something I completely agreed with. The opening conversation was light, with Kim’s describing his visit the night before to Sheldon Adelson’s Sands casino and hotel complex, one of the standouts
of Singapore’s nightlife. Kim and Trump talked about golf, Dennis Rodman, and the US women’s soccer team’s defeating North Korea in the 2016 Olympics. The conversation drifted around, and then Trump turned to me and said, “John was once a hawk, but now he’s a dove. Anything to say after that introduction?” Fortunately, everyone laughed. Trying to keep a straight face, I said, “The President was elected in large part because he was different from other politicians. He’s a disrupter. I look forward to visiting Pyongyang, it will certainly be interesting.” Kim thought that was funny for some reason and said, “You will be warmly welcomed. You may find this hard to answer, but do you think you can trust me?” This was tricky, one of those questions he was good at asking. I couldn’t either tell the truth or lie, so I said, “The President has a finely tuned sense of people from his days in business. If he can trust you, we will move forward from there.” Trump added that I was on Fox News all the time, calling for war with Russia, China, and North Korea, but it was a lot different on the inside. This really had all the North Koreans in stitches.

Bolton, John R. . The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir (pp. 109-110). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.



Trump tweeted out: Just landed—a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future! There was no stopping it. I spoke with Yachi the next day, and the Japanese, in my judgment, were clearly concerned about what we had given away and how little we had gotten in return. I tried to keep things calm, but the Singapore outcome was ambiguous enough that we needed to reel things back in or risk rapidly losing control of events. Both Japan and South Korea were particularly confused about the approach Trump seemed to take in his conversations with Moon and Abe, saying Moon in particular would be the “closer” on the nuclear deal. What exactly did the President have in mind? they wanted to know. Neither Pompeo nor I had the slightest idea, but we were also both certain neither did Trump. In fact, I was revising my earlier view, wondering if greater South Korean involvement in denuclearization might not complicate things so much that we could prevent a total collapse of both our nuclear nonproliferation policy and our conventional deterrence strategy on the Peninsula and in East Asia more broadly. I also spoke with Mattis regarding the “war games” and explained how I thought we should proceed. Mattis said his Japanese and South Korean counterparts were already calling him, understandably very concerned. He also said, which I had not heard before, that six months earlier, Trump had also almost canceled the exercises because Russia and China complained about them, which was disturbing, to say the least. Dunford was compiling a list of exercises that might be affected, and we agreed to meet back in Washington. But Mattis wouldn’t leave well enough alone, saying later that day he wanted to issue a press statement. Whatever it said, in my view, risked another presidential edict, the substance of which Mattis would doubtless dislike. Why roll the dice? Probably because it was a Defense Department bureaucratic ploy: if the Pentagon could produce enough blowback in Congress, it could avoid responsibility for any degradation in readiness in Korea. But it was a risky strategy, given the danger Trump might make his exercises prohibition even more sweeping and stringent. Mattis, finally, agreed his department would remain silent, but it was an effort. Pompeo, Mattis, and I met for breakfast in the Ward Room on Monday, June 18, by which time Dunford’s list of exercises was complete. Mattis argued that readiness started to deteriorate when any exercises were canceled, and the decline would accelerate the more time passed. We were all concerned about the objective, both near- and long-term, of not degrading readiness on the Peninsula. As regularly scheduled officer rotations began to ripple through the ranks and new people replaced more experienced people, the lack of exercises could take its toll. This discussion made September 1 a potentially important date. Mattis was worried about canceling too few exercises and incurring Trump’s wrath, but I thought it was ridiculous to cancel too many, provoking unnecessary confrontations with Hill Republicans and only making things worse. We finally agreed the Pentagon would issue a statement that the two biggest annual exercises would be “suspended,” a key word we thought (i.e., not “canceled”). Overall, however, and remembering that the Chinese had suggested to Pompeo in Beijing that we press very hard in the next two months to make progress with Pyongyang, we set September 1 as a date by which to assess whether the negotiations were in fact productive. During the rest of the week after returning from Singapore, Trump was euphoric. On Friday, during an intel briefing, he exclaimed, “I never could have gotten this done with McMaster and Tillerson. Pompeo’s doing a great job. This guy’s doing great too,” he said, pointing at me. Trump was happy there would be no more war games and said he was glad he had been “overruled” in his previous efforts to cancel them because otherwise, he “wouldn’t have had something to give away!” Trump also said Kim Jong Un “has a vicious streak in him,” and that he could be “mercurial,” remembering an irritated look Kim Jong Un shot at one of his officials during the talks. Trump had signed notes and pictures and newspaper articles for Kim Jong Un to remember the glow of Singapore, which couldn’t fade rapidly enough for me. One important point Trump made at the end of June underscored the potential of a division growing between the US and Moon Jae-in, which increasingly concerned us. Having watched Moon in action, Trump came to understand that Moon had a different agenda from ours, as any government prioritizes its national interest. For Moon, this likely meant emphasizing inter-Korean relations over denuclearization. Moreover, Trump wanted good news on North Korea before the 2018 congressional election. To that end, he wanted the South to ease up on pushing for reunification with North Korea, because denuclearization was the US priority. That had always been an accurate statement of US interests. Having it fixed in Trump’s mind gave us at least one guardrail to keep us from completely losing our perspective. I worried that Trump only wanted to hear good news before the election, which was, of course, impossible to guarantee. I also worried that Pompeo particularly didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, a role too easily avoided by making concessions to North Korea. In what passed for speed in diplomacy with North Korea, Pompeo scheduled a return to Pyongyang on July 6. I worried that State’s bureaucracy was so delighted negotiations were resuming that, as in the Six-Party Talks, each new meeting was an opportunity to give things away. Indeed, State was already drafting charts with “fallback positions” for the US delegation before they even sat down with real, live North Koreans post-Singapore. I stressed vigorously to Pompeo that no serious negotiations should begin until we had Pyongyang’s commitment to provide a full, baseline declaration on their nuclear and ballistic-missile programs. For arms controllers, this was a basic step, if hardly one that guaranteed success.  It was elemental tradecraft that negotiators would compare what was being declared to what was already known about an adversary’s weapons capabilities, and that such comparisons amounted to a test of good faith in the negotiations, and in the case of North Korea, the sincerity of their “commitment” to denuclearization. If a country grossly misstated its nuclear assets, that would show us exactly how serious these negotiations would be. I often said that “unlike a lot of other people, I have faith in North Korea. They never let me down.” I also pressed Pompeo on what NSC and IC nonproliferation experts agreed: if the North Koreans were serious on renouncing weapons of mass destruction, they would cooperate on the critical disarming work (another test of their seriousness), which could then be done in one year or less. State staffers wanted a much longer period for disarmament, which was a prescription for trouble. Pompeo was not enthusiastic about a rapid denuclearization schedule, perhaps because he worried that the North would resist, thus meaning bad news for Trump, who wanted none before the election, thus causing potential headaches for Pompeo. Pompeo left for Pyongyang after the Fourth of July fireworks on the Mall, which he viewed from the State Department, hosting the traditional reception for foreign Ambassadors.  He called back to Washington on Friday evening at six thirty p.m. (Saturday morning Korea time) to speak with Trump, Kelly, and me. Pompeo said he had spent five hours in two separate meetings with Kim Yong Chol, which had been “incredibly frustrating,” producing “almost no progress.” Pompeo had meetings again on Saturday, and he called back to Washington at five fifteen p.m. to report he had seen Kim Yong Chol again, but not Kim Jong Un, which said a lot about who the North wanted to talk to. (South Korea’s Chung told me a few days later even they were surprised and disappointed there had been no Kim Jong Un meeting.)

ERICOPOLY

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8040
Re: Excerpt from John Bolton's book
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2020, 03:15:39 PM »
It is interesting what Trump understood about the 2% of GDP defense spending contribution to the alliance that is the required of NATO's members.  Trump threatened to cut the US's contribution down to Germany's level.  That would amount to an aggregate lowering of US defense spending from 4% of US GDP to 1.2% of US GDP.  He really did not know at all what he was talking about.