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Bombing Iran sooner rather than later is
 John Bolton's mantra. (Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky)
When John Bolton signed up in January as an adviser for Mitt Romney's foreign policy team, Ben Smith wrote that it was a "subtle but important shift" to the right in foreign policy for the GOP candidate. Although Bolton eschews the label "neo-conservative," his self-identification as a "libertarian conservative" shows how flexible that term is given his distance from Rep. Ron Paul. Athough Romney has three dozen foreign policy advisers, he seems closest to the "Bolton faction" among them.

That being so, the question to ask of the Republican candidate—given Bolton's Op-Ed in the Washington Times on Monday—does he believe, as his adviser wrote, that the failure of the latest diplomatic negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a good thing?

Bolton didn't say upfront in his Op-Ed that Iran should be bombed (and soon) by Israel or the United States. But every paragraph oozes with that unstated option. No surprise. As Media Matters has noted, Bomb-Iran is Bolton's default setting. Here he is in January this year:

So I think this is going to a very, very difficult year, and I think, quite honestly, half-measures like assassinations or sanctions are only going to produce the crisis more quickly. The better way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to attack its nuclear weapons program directly and break their control over the nuclear fuel cycle.
Here he is in July 2008:
Thus, instead of debating how much longer to continue five years of failed diplomacy, we should be intensively considering what cooperation the U.S. will extend to Israel before, during and after a strike on Iran. We will be blamed for the strike anyway, and certainly feel whatever negative consequences result, so there is compelling logic to make it as successful as possible. At a minimum, we should place no obstacles in Israel's path, and facilitate its efforts where we can.
In response to his latest Op-Ed, former Defense Department official Michèle Flournoy said in a statement:
Bolton has made it clear that he’s rooting for American diplomacy to fail and has repeatedly called for a rush to war with Iran. Gov. Romney needs to be clear with the American people: Does he believe there’s still time for diplomacy to work? Or is he ready to take us to war, like his advisor John Bolton is advocating? … If Gov. Romney shares his advisor John Bolton’s views that it is time for the US to go to war with Iran, the American people deserve to know.

For those unfamiliar with Romney's method of operation, his stance in this matter would seem clear. But, as proved time and time again, you can never be certain with Mitt. In March, in a Washington Post Op-Ed in which Romney called Obama America's "most feckless president since Carter," he offered nothing more than slightly tougher macho threats. It was nothing that President Obama hasn't already said or done: Ever stronger sanctions, heavier naval presence nearby, military option on the table as a last resort.

For Bolton, it doesn't matter who bombs Iran as long as someone does, sooner rather than later. So failed diplomacy—his stock in trade—is in his interest. Romney's hope, on the other hand, is that President Obama neither comes to an agreement with Iran nor bombs it between now and election day. That gives him two campaign points to hammer on until them. Afterward, what he would actually do is no clearer than what he would do on a multitude of other issues. But, as previously noted, if Romney were to put Bolton in a high post, the answer is fairly obvious.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yosemite Sam and his ilk.. (8+ / 0-)

    Is exactly why Romney must never get near the Whitehouse. It wouldn't be a year before there'd be a war with Iran or some other country that wasn't threatening the US.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:36:02 PM PDT

  •  Maybe Mittens needs a strong Chief of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    he/she'd only overshadow him.

  •  Libertarian? (3+ / 0-)

    Bolton is a joke and a many libertarians want to bomb another sovereign nation for no good reason?

  •  Geez. Just when I thought it was safe... (4+ / 0-) get back into the water. I finally make it back to these parts regularly and, wouldn't you know it, Crazy Von Mustache rides his sorry, neocon butt ride into the corral.

    Famously described as a "kiss up, kick down" kinda guy, the Walrus always roots for the fail. The fact that he has any association with the Romney folks tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about Mittens.

    A total bag of douche is Bolton. Assclown.

  •  trust Mitt to do something (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that favors his corporate people friends, if bombing is profitable to certain speculators, arm's dealers and mercenary supply companies, surely he will bomb.

    His analysis of foreign policy will be no deeper than his analysis of anything else, is it good for my bottom line and the bottom line of my friends?

  •  Bolton always looked like Bismark to me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Melody Townsel

    If I believed in reincarnation...

    Just sayin...

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:59:47 PM PDT

    •  Bismark was better looking... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...and, without question, friendlier.

      •  Damn right, Melody Townsel! Bolton just thinks he (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Karl Rover, Egalitare

        is Bismark.  Bolton wants young Americans to kill and be killed by young foreigners--apparently for no real reason beyond his own amusement.  Hey, Bolt!  Buy a video game and go away.

        "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

        by Mayfly on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:25:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bismarck (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Egalitare, charliehall2

          Bismarck was a master of realpolitik, but he didn't go to war just to demonstrate his manhood.  Whenever he went to war, there were always clear, limited political objectives.

          •  And, when peace was in Germany's interests, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Bismarck was a peacemaker. A ruthless son-of-a-bitch, but a smart, predictable ruthless son-of-a-bitch.

            Had Wilhelm not fired him, the entire history of the 20th Century would have been very different.

            Fighting a Contiental, and ultimately global, war because some Austrian lordling that nobody gave a shit about got whacked by a group nobody had ever heard of, in a town that most Germans couldn't have found on a map?

            Not. Gonna. Happen.


            "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
            "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

            by Leftie Gunner on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:11:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

              I would paraphrase Bismarck on this "the Balkans are not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian Grenadier"

            •  He got Germany social security & health insurance (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Today Bismarck would be considered beyond the pale by the Republican party in the US.

              Ironically, German Socialists opposed Bismarck's remarkably advanced social policies. The US Left would repeat the same mistake in the 1970s with Nixon's guaranteed annual income and national health insurance programs.

              •  charliehall2--enlightening comment! nt (0+ / 0-)

                "'s difficult to imagine what else Republicans can do to drive women away in 2012, unless they decide to bring back witch-hanging. And I wouldn't put it past them." James Wolcott

                by Mayfly on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 12:27:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  If something oozes, you better believe (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, vcmvo2, drmah, Matt Z

      in the worst possible purulent discharge and poisionous blood.

      does he believe, as his adviser wrote, that the failure of the latest diplomatic negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a good thing? .... Bolton didn't say upfront in his Op-Ed that Iran should be bombed (and soon) by Israel or the United States. But every paragraph oozes with that unstated option.
      Anything else is denial, imo.
  •  I think that you give Romney too much credit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Melody Townsel, ColoTim

    by suggesting that he has the capacity to "want" anything independent of what his illustrious band of near-criminal foreign-policy advisors will decide. Wanna-be Simulacrum-in-Chief Romney is weak and wrong on domestic policy, but he's just flat-out ignorant and incurious on foreign policy.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:13:46 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps the title of your Diary should be altered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

         slightly to:

          Advisor John Bolton is clear.  But do candidate Mitt      
          Romney's financial backers also want diplomacy
          with Iran to fail?

  •  Of course not. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Cartoon Peril, charliehall2

    Romney has a laser focus on the REAL threat to America: the Bolsheviks.

  •  Why should we be surprised that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, vcmvo2, NM Ray, angry marmot

    a Republican has been rooting for Obama's diplomacy to fail?  After all, the leader of the GOP expressed his hope that the whole Presidency should fail even before the Inauguration.  Bolton's Kinsley Gaffe is only a continuation of a long-established policy within the Republican Party -- Make America Fail and Blame it on The Other Guy.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:06:57 PM PDT

  •  Let's take this man Bolten seriously.... (6+ / 0-)

    only after he and his children and his grandchildren sign up to fight the inevitable war in Iran that would result.  He should put his -- and their --
    bodies where his mouth is.

    Other than that, he needs to be relegated to the pile of useless old gray-haired men quick to send other people's children off to die in unholy wars.


  •  Carter served. Bolton and Romney? Hell no. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, vcmvo2

    They talk a good game about war.  It won't be any of their kids that come home with their legs blown off.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:12:51 PM PDT

    •  Another Republican Chickenhawk (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, drmah
      Bolton supported the Vietnam War and enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard, but did not serve in Vietnam. He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost."[14] In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."

      "As long as Corporations control Government, there is no reason for Government to regulate Corportions!" John Roberts, Citizens United (SNARK)

      by NM Ray on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:57:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a twisted fuck. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Cartoon Peril, Portlaw, vcmvo2, Matt Z
    We will be blamed for the strike anyway, and certainly feel whatever negative consequences result, so there is compelling logic to make it as successful as possible.
    I guess this means nothing is off the table; nuclear attack, full-on war, lots of colateral damage.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    by Ex Con on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:15:00 PM PDT

  •  Another reason why we (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, vcmvo2, angry marmot, Matt Z

    can't let Romney win.

  •  Bolton just praised Osama bin Laden... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Matt Z, charliehall2

    ....calling "assassinations" a "half-measure".

    So, Bolton, you would rather have Osama, the slaughterer of over 3000 people on American soil, alive?  (Cue the black-and-white photos of Osama with ominous music.)

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:39:00 PM PDT

  •  i'm convinced Romney wants to be king (0+ / 0-)

    of earth then appoint the magic underwear high priests of Salt Lake as our "moral compasses" but not after culling the heards of lefties and putting women in their places as their personal playthings, but to do this we need to cut any and all non-essential services to the public to put towards the war effort against Iran, China, Russia, Europe, Africa,South America, Canada and Mexico. Did I miss anyone? The rest of Asia and toss in Antarctica.
    Damned..being a Mexican style narco state sounds better.

    •  I've Been Wondering... (0+ / 0-)

      I've been wondering if Mitt Romney ever has any pangs of conscience over the ongoing lie fest about the President he's engaging in. Then, I put together that, based on the distortions and lies that he puts forth so easily, and pressure to remove the Mormon 'curse' on Presidential ambitions, that Romney lusts for the Presidency.

      I learned many years ago that, for the most part, a stiff dick has no conscience.

      "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

      by paz3 on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 11:53:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Rule Of Law (0+ / 0-)

        Chapter II, paragraph 4, Charter of the United Nations:

    All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

    •  I believe it was JB who once spoke of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the UN building-

      "There are 38 floors to the UN building in New York. If you lost 10 of them, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:57:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And it's worked out so well, right? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are plenty of good reasons to consider John Bolton's foreign policy ideas stpid and dangerous.

      None of them can be found in the UN Charter.


      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:14:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney is a fool (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bolten is a criminal who wants to wage war because he's a chicken hawk who never served, and never had any real skin in the game.

    Mitt Romney will never get to play his war games. He will never be President. He wants war because he's playing at stuff. Just like he had to dress up as a cop. He wants the color of authority without the responsibility. He is the lowest of the low.

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:50:16 PM PDT

  •  Romney is a close personal friend of Netanyahu (0+ / 0-)

    Going back to college days.   (I don't know if the future PM of Israel liked to play "cop", though.)

    •  Maybe Bibi can talk some sense into him (0+ / 0-)

      as the Likud social and economic program is FAR to the left of that of President Obama.

      Universal health insurance with no for profit insurers.

      Inexpensive college tuition.

      Subsidized housing.

      Draconian regulation of the financial sector.

      Easy immigration, with immediate citizenship for Jews and after three years for non-Jews.

      Inexpensive public transit that goes everywhere.

      High taxes on everyone.

      No, Bibi would be a hawkish left wing Democrat in the US. Sort of like Henry Jackson was.

  •  Your central premise is only valid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you think successful diplomacy, (defined as producing an outcome that is in America's national interest,) with the Iranian theocracy is possible.

    I kinda don't thnk it is.

    It is quite likely that the interests of the two nations are so opposed that diplomacy can't work. Not that the only alternative is "hot" war... MAD works. Iran as a nuclear power would not bring on WWIII. But if the Iranians really want nuclear weapons, I don't think they can be negotiated out of them.

    "Wars happen because diplomacy fails" is almost always untrue. You can't call it failure if success was never possible.


    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

    by Leftie Gunner on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:04:45 PM PDT

  •  Enh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When I see Dems worked into a frothing lather demanding that Iran have no capability to produce even low-enriched uranium, when I see the reports of half a dozen or more Iranian nuclear scientists having been nysteriosly assassinated in the past year, when I see reports that the "stuxnet" or however you spell it virus was deliberately launched by the US into Iranian cyberspace, I'm not exactly convinced that there's any element of the US establishment that has any interest in anything except complete Iranian capitulation which is hardly anything resembling authentic "negotiation", any more than the Austrian "ultimatum" to Serbia in 1914 was.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:05:03 PM PDT

    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      And when you have the Secretary of State as a person who has stated she wants to "obliterate Iran" your suspicions are enhanced

      •  Complete capitulation is necessary. (0+ / 0-)

        The President of Iran said that he wants to "wipe out" Israel. At least that was what Iran's official news agency said. I can't understand why people here don't find that terrifying. American isolationists have a long history of not taking dictators seriously.

    •  And Serbia was a bad actor that needed to (0+ / 0-)

      shape up. The problem was not that Serbia should have paid for the assassination, it was that the other powers let it turn into a worldwide conflict. Remember that there had been two wars within  the past two years in the Balkans prior to 1914.

  •  During McCain campaign, I feared Palin would cause (0+ / 0-)

    an international incident that would harm our troops.  Somehow we survived that campaign, only to have Romney, Bush advisors and other assorted wing-nuts bring this same nightmare back for this round of campaigning.

  •  Does Mitt agree with Bolton? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Are you kidding me? Given what we know about him so far, I'd say the US military IS his jobs plan but he's not going to tell anyone THAT. They're going to have to keep opening new theaters in order to have somewhere to send all the desperate and trapped young people who have been funneled into the grinder.

    I've no doubt his selection of Bolton is quite deliberate.

    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain

    by Late Again on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 01:14:46 AM PDT

  •  I say send John Bolton as the lead (0+ / 0-)

    in the first wave of any attack on Iran - with Lush Limpdick etc alongside them

    Maybe the sight of Lush waddling into battle, his belly wobbling with extreme ferocity and John waddling alongside his moustache flapping wildly in the wind might scare the Iranians into surrender

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