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Previously angry and aggressive, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, now chummy with Putin and Kim Jong Un

The new John Bolton: Trump ally swaps fire and brimstone for a spoonful of sugar
Trump’s national security adviser seems to have abandoned his firebrand persona – and in Moscow the change of tone was striking, Guardian,  Julian Borger, 28 June 18, 

The trademark walrus moustache was still there, and the penetrating gaze was just the same, but in almost every other way the new John Bolton and the old John Bolton seemed very different.

The old Bolton was a firebrand pundit, raining derision from television talkshows and editorials on US diplomats promoting compromise with America’s enemies. Almost a year ago he wrote a commentary describing Vladimir Putin as a serial liar responsible for an “act of war” in the form of his interference in the US election and warned: “We negotiate with Russia at our peril.”

He described the nuclear deal with Iran, by which Tehran reduced its uranium stockpile by 98%, as an “American Munich” comparable to Neville Chamberlain’s short-lived agreement with Hitler, and he derided US diplomats as “appeasers” for pursuing contacts with adversaries for their own sake.

That was then, but this is now. And Bolton is now national security adviser to Donald Trump, whose defining diplomatic style is chumminess with dictators. In the past month, Bolton has shaken hands with Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, with smiles all round. Face to face with Putin on Wednesday, Bolton replaced fire and brimstone with a large dose of honey………

The change in tone is even more evident in relation to North Korea. In January this year, Bolton said: “Talking to the North Koreans is a waste of time.” He repeatedly insisted that the only subject of discussion at a summit should be the details of how North Korean nuclear weapons would be dismantled and removed.

“I think it’s important if the president sees that they’re just looking for a way to waste time, that he make the point that he’s not there to waste time and that we expect real denuclearisation, not talks about talks about denuclearisation,” he wrote.

It is clear that Trump’s Singapore meeting with Kim Jong-un stopped very much short of that. The US failed in its effort to have its language insisting on “complete verifiable irreversible disarmament” and setting out a timetable.

Instead, Trump unilaterally suspended joint military exercises with South Korea, to the surprise of the government in Seoul and to the US military. In return, he claimed to have won a pledge from Kim to destroy a missile engine testing site. In terms of the overall North Korean weapons programme, the site was a small element, and there is no evidence so far that it has been dismantled.

…….Back in Moscow at a post-Putin press conference, the new Bolton had a one-line answer to a flurry of questions about what had become of the old Bolton.

“I don’t address what I have said before,” he said.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/28/john-bolton-trump-adviser-new-style-putin

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June 29, 2018 - Posted by | North Korea, politics international

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