Bolton: Israel Should Negotiate With Iran

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JohnBolton_01.jpg
First, in this National Journal interview, John Bolton slams Barack Obama, arguing that negotiation is not a policy but rather a technique. Yet, most of the interview is dedicated to defending the pre-2006 Bush approach of non-negotiation as policy.
Then, Bolton is asked about Israel’s recent decision to negotiate with Syria. Here’s his surprising response:

I think they are making a mistake trying to negotiate with Syria now, because I don’t think Syria has any independent ability to make decisions. Over the past several years, Syria has become functionally a satellite of Iran, so that if the Israelis really wanted to negotiate with somebody, they ought to be in Tehran, not in Damascus. They are not talking to those capitals. I think it’s a mistake on their part.

Is there any way to reconcile that statement with Bolton’s oft-repeated position that negotiating with Iran is futile and dangerous? If there is, I don’t see it.
— Scott Paul

Comments

27 comments on “Bolton: Israel Should Negotiate With Iran

  1. samuel burke says:

    Bolton: Stop Iran at any price
    Thu, 29 May 2008 02:38:04
    John Bolton, the former US envoy to the UN
    A former top US diplomat says Washington has to either
    overthrow the Iranian government or use force to halt Tehran’s
    nuclear program.
    John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, said Wednesday
    the White House and its allies have not done enough to promote
    alternatives to negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
    Speaking before an audience at the Hay Literary Festival, Bolton
    claimed the five years of dialogue with Tehran over its nuclear
    activities have ‘failed’.
    “Today Iran is five years closer to having a nuclear weapons
    capability,” he said.

    Reply

  2. John Dickerson says:

    Bush has committed to taking military action against Iran. Consequently, the AEI/neocon types are using disinformation to “cover their tracks”.

    Reply

  3. Tokyo Tom says:

    Scott, Bolton simply isn’t addressing whether Israel should negotiate with Iran, so it’s hard to take his statements as a suggestion that they should.
    What he’s doing here is basically trying to defend the counterproductive hard-line policy that the U.S. has taken up until now – largely to get domestic demagoguery points in the U.S. – against an Israeli change in strategy that is obviously a slap in the face to the U.S. Accordingly, Bolton not only says that he thinks it’s a mistake and a waste of time for Israel to talk with Syria, but that it is a mistake in their domestic politics (referring to the allegations that Olmert is undertaking this initiative merely to divert attention from the growing bribery scandal).
    Bolton is certainly not suggesting that Israel ought to take the slap farther and start negotiating with Iran.

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  4. Alex says:

    Can somebody PLEASE hold that dude down and shave off that silly mustache?

    Reply

  5. TonyForesta says:

    Thanks for the link POA. If only it were possible to join Mr Monbiot at Hay-on-Wye, and send a citizens message to Bolton and all the criminals who have shamed, betrayed, and reengineered America, maybe then our voices could finally be heard and recognized.

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  6. David says:

    Got to love George Monbiot. Thanks for the link,reggie. Monbiot’s comments are painfully correct. I am a citizen of a nation guilty of a 21st century warcrime, and I hope with all my being it is possible for someone to call these war criminals to account for what they have done, and are continuing to do. Some of the most decent military folk in history have been sent by this administration, using Congress’s decision to authorize the president to choose war, on one of the most venal, ignoble missions imaginable, and because this administration is such a collection of ideological incompetents, this neocolonial war did not even bring pax Americana order to Iraq.
    It is both a war crime and a colossal clusterfuck, with current strategies being nothing more than a failing variation on the death squads in El Salvador (remember the mention of the “Salvador solution” as the answer in Iraq?)

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  7. ArkansasLady says:

    Note to Alan re Bolton’s appearance:
    The reason he looks familiar is because (and I think Jon Stewart first noted this) he looks just like Colonel Mustard!

    Reply

  8. reggie says:

    This should be fun:
    British Journo Says He’ll Try to Arrest Bolton for War Crimes at Hay Festival
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/george_monbiot/2008/05/lets_book_bolton_at_hay.html

    Reply

  9. Scott Paul says:

    I don’t think this is a stretch at all. Might be, right up until the end: “They are not talking to those capitals. I think it’s a mistake on their part.” If “those capitals” doesn’t refer to Tehran, then what does it refer to?
    If Bolton had said, “Don’t negotiate with Damascus because can’t make decisions independent of Iran,” that would be consistent. But Bolton implies that there is more to be gained through negotiations with Iran than with Syria. Since he’s said bluntly that negotiating with Iran is futile and would yield nothing, how could negotiating with Syria yield anything less, as he suggests it would?

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  10. EA says:

    Joe M. and TokyoTom are correct. This stretch-of-a-post serves to deflate an anti-Bolton stance by misconstruing the essence of Bolton’s statement. Don’t get me wrong Bolton is an asshole; but he doesn’t waffle–he is an unwavering asshole.

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  11. TonyForesta says:

    Secular Baathist Sunni Syria is beholden to fundamentalist Shi’a Iran? Sure, and I have a bridge in Falluja Parson wants to sell you.
    Here is another embarrasing example of the neocon fascist Bush government hobgobblins rank ignorance of the ME, and the realities of the converging and diverging forces driving events in the field and shaping the new ME.
    This absurd fiction is almost as retarded as the hilarious assertion that Saddam had operational ties with al Quaida, an arch enemy fundamentally opposed to everything Saddam held dear in Iraq. Saddam slauthered and buried jihadist in the deserts of Iraq during his entire reign. But why let facts and reality get in the way of good neocon Bush government fairytale.
    Bolton, like all the fascists in the Bush government is a pathological liar.
    Bolton, as usual is simply throwing sand in the face of Israel forming some kind of agreement with Syria that does not align with the neocon Bush governments fascist Pax Americana pipedreams. Note the recent Israeli attack on Syria which remains shrouded in a blackworld mystery. Note the resounding victories of Hezbollah in the last two major conflicts in Lebanon. Note, Iran’s expanding oil wealth, and ability to finance such sophisticated research as enrichment programs. Note Irans victory in Iraq, and the inevitable profound Iranian Shi’a influence in whatever might emerge as a government in Iraq. Israel and America on not on good terms right now. Israel is pursuing engagements and policies that serve and defend Israeli interests.
    Tragically, now Israeli interests, (largely because of the Bush governments catastrophic bloody, costly, abuses, failure and excuse for wanton profiteering in Iraq) diverge with the neocon fascist Bush government pipedreams bent on commandering control of oil, and erecting puppet governments in the ME favoring and advancing the piracy, predations, and fascists designs of the noecons and fascists in the Bush government.
    Syria is the Wallmart of illicit weapons trade, and terrorists organizations. All the major ME terror gangs have offices in Syria. Iran won Iraq and is push the US to negotiate non-aggression aggreements in exchange for nuclear weapons development programs. Israel is seeking agreements with stable governments that will hold stateless mass murder jihadist gangs in check. All the ME nations regardless of thier myriad and savage religious divisions are seeking self preservation and something like stability. Once something like stability is achieved all the various factions can and will negotiate settlements, or resolutions. Regardless of Iran’s anti Israel vitriol, the Iranians are not ignorant of the fact that any overt attack on Irsael would result in Iran being reduced to a smouldering pit of glass. The same mutual assured destruction is driving Syrian machinations. America is no longer a voice on any of these issues. The Bush government has crippled American influence in the region for decades. We can’t afford to help anyone anywhere, and our only option for advancing American interests in wars and occupations. Again, direct American influence in the ME is beyond our present capabilities militarily, or economically.
    The ME nations will work out their own relationships, on their own respective terms, for their own respective interests, in their own respective ways.
    Bolton is a pathological liar, and neocon fascist Bush government mouthpiece throwing sand in the face of any agreement that conflicts with the neocon fascist Bush government Pax Americana pipedreams and perfidious designs. Bolton and his unholy masters are impotent and powerless now in shaping the new ME, and events in the field will advance outside of any fascists pipedreams or hollow promises pimped or promised by the neocons and fascists in the Bush government.
    Ignore this fascist pathological lair and wanton profiteer. Boltons twisted duplicitous fascist speak has “…no more substance or moral dignity than a shout!” Ignore Bolton. He is a pathological liar and a fascist. Oh… and
    “Deliver us from evil!”

    Reply

  12. TokyoTom says:

    Scott, I fail to see what’s the puzzle here. Clearly Bolton isn’t so much saying that Israel SHOULD talk with Iran as he is saying that he thinks it is a mistake for them to talk with Syria, because he thinks Syria can’t make its own decisions anyway, so talking with them is a clear waste of time.
    Is there a hinted implication that negotiations with Iran make sense for Israel? Perhaps one can stretch that far, but it’s certainly not what Bolton is addressing.

    Reply

  13. ... says:

    a pic with his mouth open suits him.. i never got the impression he did any listening..

    Reply

  14. John Dickerson says:

    BOLTON’S FATHER WAS A FIREMAN. WHY IS BOLTON SUCH A PYROMANIAC (FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING)? MORE “DADDY ISSUES”?

    Reply

  15. David says:

    I recommend the May 19 issue of Newsweek, in particular for the article on Obama and the interviews with Peres, Olmert, and Fayyad. John Bolton is a spear-carrier for neocon geopolitical idiocy who hasn’t a clue that he is a geopolitical idiot (not unlike the real John McCain). I apologize for using shorthand here and calling those two geopolitical idiots, but at this point it seems devastatingly apparent to me. I am intrigued that Bolton could even utter these words, especially right after his obligatory, mindless rant against Obama and negotiating.
    I also continue to be intrigued by the demands we feel free to make of governments we have made clear (we being the current admininstration, which is us in terms of geopolitics, however abominable that reality might be) we want to overthrow. Even more intriguing is the ways we feel free to speak about and make demands of a government we overthrew, only to have the voters of Venezuela democratically overthrow our coup.
    I’m supposed to take this sort of shit as worthy US foreign policy, and the neocons as champions of freedom, justice, and sound US foreign policy? Can I have a slice of moon cheese with that order?

    Reply

  16. David says:

    I recommend the May 19 issue of Newsweek, in particular for the article on Obama and the interviews with Peres, Olmert, and Fayyad. John Bolton is a spear-carrier for neocon geopolitical idiocy who hasn’t a clue that he is a geopolitical idiot (not unlike the real John McCain). I apologize for using shorthand here and calling those two geopolitical idiots, but at this point it seems devastatingly apparent to me. I am intrigued that Bolton could even utter these words, especially right after his obligatory, mindless rant against Obama and negotiating.
    I also continue to be intrigued by the demands we feel free to make of governments we have made clear (we being the current admininstration, which is us in terms of geopolitics, however abominable that reality might be) we want to overthrow. Even more intriguing is the ways we feel free to speak about and make demands of a government we overthrew, only to have the voters of Venezuela democratically overthrow our coup.
    I’m supposed to take this sort of shit as worthy US foreign policy, and the neocons as champions of freedom, justice, and sound US foreign policy? Can I have a slice of moon cheese with that order?

    Reply

  17. reggie says:

    I believe he’s sometimes referred to as “the iron mustache”.

    Reply

  18. alan says:

    Forgive me: but this man looks like a cartoon character. The hair! the white moustache! why is this man taken seriously when he has been a disaster as a uncivil servant?

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    I don’t get it. Bolton says Israel should negotiate with Iran, but America should attack Iran?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1551726/We-must-attack-Iran-before-it-gets-the-bomb.html
    I thought half the reason Bolton wants to attack Iran was supposedly to remove an existential threat to Israel. (The other reason being that Iran supposedly arms Iraqi insurgents, though evidence for that always seems to turn up missing.)
    If Bolton is saying that Iran is America’s fight (for control of Iranian energy) and Israel should stay out of it, then his words would make sense, delusional as his cause may be.

    Reply

  20. Anonymous says:

    Repeat after me:
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

    Reply

  21. Joe M. says:

    Bolton was not saying that he believes that it wise for Israel to negotiate with Iran. He was only saying that SINCE he believes negotiating with Syria is futile, IF Israel was interested in serious negotiations the would look to Iran, and not Syria.
    Of course, as pointed out above in comments, Bolton is a serious piece of sh%t and should never be listened to under any circumstances. He clearly is not advocating negotiations with Iran, as he openly is calling for the bombing of Iran.
    His entire worldview is insane. He sees homogeneous threats (Iran is controlling Syrian policy), and believes American power (military and otherwise) is righteous by definition.
    it’s disgusting.

    Reply

  22. liz says:

    I’ll ask…. is he an appeaser??

    Reply

  23. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Mr Bolton’s suggestion that Israel should negotiate with Iran seems highly pragmatic and positively intervening since this is the only way out through which both the sides- TelAviv and Tehran may prevent from the ongoing cold war- certainly a bad omen for the future of Mideast peace.

    Reply

  24. TonyForesta says:

    Bolton’s only purpose on earth is perpetuating the unholy designs and nefarious machinations of the fascists in the Bush government. Israel is now negotiating with Syria, which according to Debka sources is greviously upsetting the fascists in the Bush government. The fascists in the Bush government are negotiating with NK and Lybia, and off the radar with Iran. This silly ridiculous juvenile babel about refusing to negotiate with nations that oppose American hegemony is a laughable joke, and retarded.
    It is stupid and childish to pretend that America cannot negotiate with any nation including our enemies. Do any of these fascists read history? Go back to the Pharohs, through the Greek and Persian wars, into the Roman empire, an on and on, and nations and kings talked to and negotiated with enemies. The Bush government policy is a wingnut WWE marketing campaing and an equally inane, substantless, meaningless, and stupid exercise in absurdity.
    Iran is now setting the stage to call America’s stupid bluff, and reconcile some kind of settlement with the rest of the intelligent world (obviously precluding and involvement with the fascists in the Bush government) to resolve the nuclear issue and advance Iran’s best interests. Iran won Iraq is sitting on the 4th largest oil reserves on the planet with oil breaching $130.00 a barrel and imponderable wealth, and so is in a very advantageous position. Refusing to talk to the Iranians is an exercise in futility, and rooted in rank ignorance, stupidity, and supremist delusions.
    America has absolutely ZERO CREDIBILITY in the ME or beyond. We are a lawless, wild, radical, partisan, insane wingnut, pack of pathological liars, predators, pirates, and wanton profiteers in the eyes of the rest of the world.
    Realists, or fascists can attempt to paint lipstick on this horrible pig, and brute the fiction that America under the tyrannical reign of the fascists in the Bush government has some noble end, or just cause, – but the rest of the civilized, and notsocivilized world recognizes that America under the Bush government is a ruthless, lawless, butchering, marauding, pack of christian fundamentalits zealots and supremists bent on wanton profitering, world domination, and the socalled Pax Americana.
    Sadly, all the neocon, fascist pipedreams are dead and tattered in the field, and it is only the fascists in the Bush government, and their fascists defenders, excusers, and enablers that continue to hold on to these perfidious, failing, pernicous, and impossible ideas and machinations.
    “Deliver us from evil!”

    Reply

  25. Susan says:

    yes, there is a way to reconcile the statements – Bolton is an idiot and no one should listen to him ever.

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  26. ManagedChaos says:

    Cognitive dissonance comes to mind…seems to be a re-curring theme in the present administration, the neo-cons and the sycophants that hang around them. If I had a dime every time in the past 7 years that these people displayed this type of behavior, I’d be a very rich man.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance
    In simple terms, it can be the filtering of information that conflicts with what one already believes, in an effort to ignore that information and reinforce one’s beliefs. In detailed terms, it is the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions, where “cognition” is defined as any element of knowledge, including attitude, emotion, belief, or behavior.

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, is it my imagination, or all these wackjob’s eyes too close together? I would swear the Bush, Feith and Bolton all share this physical trait.
    In this photo, Bolton looks like he should be pluckin’ a banjo, doesn’t he? Barney Fife goes to Washington.

    Reply

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