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Op-Ed: What should Trump do next?

Iranian political theorist and analyst Reza Parchizadeh explains why Donald Trump should choose John Robert Bolton as his secretary of state. Parchizadeh cites three reasons why the new president-elect should pick Bolton for this important position: his experience, his knowledge regarding the Iranian regime and his history of calling a spade a spade.
Trump Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States of America last Wednesday shocked the political establishment and rocked the entire world. The conditional “Yea” to the independent tycoon with almost no background in politics came as the common man’s “Everlasting No” – as Thomas Carlyle put it in his Sartor Resartus (1832) – to an increasingly bureaucratic system of all-form-and-no-content where red lines keep being crossed and deadlines are allowed to stretch to eternity and where the right thing to do is arrested and stalled in an endless labyrinthine limbo of repetition and postponement with seemingly no way out.

But the process of resuscitating the States has just started. In order to get the country back on the right track, i.e. to restore America to its rightful place in the world as the beacon and patron of freedom, democracy and stability, we must make sensible and judicious use of our resources, human and otherwise. As such, I believe amid these treacherous waters John Robert Bolton is the apt person to take the helm of the State Department. Indeed, during the run-up to the presidency, Trump himself praised Bolton and suggested him for the post. Here I am going to tell you why his hunch was right and why he must stay on that track.

Among all other things, Bolton is best for three simple reasons. First, Bolton is well-versed in security matters and we live in volatile times when security issues have come to overwhelmingly dominate US foreign affairs and thus should be adeptly tackled in foreign policy. As I have noted before, all around the world security threats are rising against Western democracy in general and the United States in particular. The military and ideological threats of Putin’s Russia, Iran-centered Islamism, and Communism in China and North Korea have been exponentially growing at the expense of democracy and stability.

Now, Bolton is quite familiar with security threats of that kind as he has been studying them and working to neutralize them for the greater part of his career. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (2001-2005), Bolton advised President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell on matters of security policy especially with regard to international and regional security, defense relations, arms control, and nonproliferation; the last of which brings me to my next point.

Second, Bolton knows very well the proclivities of the Iranian regime. If you remember, one of the momentous electoral promises of Trump was to abrogate the extremely ill-conceived and predictably ill-going so-called Nuclear Deal with the regime of the mullahs. The deal was supposed to curb the military nuclear ambitions of the rogue regime and then to neutralize its multiple threats to the region by opening up Iran to the free world. Not only it did not happen that way – as I had confidently predicted – but the mullahs augmented their offensive all around the world. As a result, dealing with the deal has become absolutely mandatory.

As it happens, Bolton is the greatest authority on that matter. In the early 2000s, during the first phase of attempted Iranian nuclear development, a significant threat that probably not many would remember today, Bolton was a prime mover in a concerted international effort to contain the Iranian regime. As far as I remember, he was the only Western official to outspokenly state that the regime of the mullahs was intent upon producing warheads. Back then, not many took kindly to Bolton’s candor but he is now vindicated. This brings me to my next point.

Third, and probably best of all, Bolton is “blunt,” or at least that is what his opponents like to call him. For evidence, these opponents usually cite Bolton’s attack on then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il amidst the Clinton administration’s negotiations with him to obstruct the country’s nuclear ambitions. Bolton had the temerity to dub the man a “tyrannical dictator,” which many felt would lead to the North Koreans leaving the table. As noted above, Bolton would go on to call the Iranian mullahs “liars” a decade later during a similar round of negotiations. As it happens, both are now back on the same track that they used to be when Bolton called them names.

But if calling dictators and liars for what they are is blunt, then I am for bluntness. Indeed, in an age of trendy relativistic obfuscation and increasingly jargon-ridden, meandering political discourse that never gets off the ground let alone getting anywhere, the cut-through-the-bullshit Bolton can be a blessing. Simply put, Bolton is a man who speaks his mind in the plainest manner. You might not always like what he says but you can’t help admiring his forthright attitude. And I don’t need to remind you that it was the very same ticket that took Trump to the White House despite all punditry predictions to the contrary. As people would put it in commonsense wisdom, “Honesty pays!”

In the end, I want to emphasize that in such an age of crisis and with the prospect of dark and dismal days ahead of us, we must put to good use all the talent, dexterity and practical wisdom that a man of Bolton’s caliber can offer, both on the national and the international stage. After all, as George W. Bush once said, Bolton is “the man who can get the job done.” And he did it back then. I am confident that he can do it again.

JOL Blogger | Reza Parchizadeh

Reza Parchizadeh is a political theorist and analyst. He has a BA and an MA in English Language and Literature from University of Tehran, Iran; has studied Media and Communication Studies at Örebro University, Sweden; and is a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Reza has published five books and many articles so far both in Persian and English. Some of his articles have been translated into Arabic. His research interests include theory, philosophy, history, geopolitics, security, and cultural studies. Reza is co-editor-in-chief of the Persian-language think tank Tahlil Rooz.

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