John Bolton

Helsinki summit – Putin and Trump one on one!

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Well, the US President Donald Trump has landed in Finland on Sunday night, and the long-awaited Helsinki summit has finally started. What is a bit surprising is that Trump fell under a lot of criticism from his own government because he failed to address and condemn the alleged Russian hacking that took place in the 2016 elections. But, since that is sort of “old news,” everyone is preparing for the meeting the two of the most powerful world leaders are going to have today.

This summit has been long overdue, and it comes right after the end of what turned out to be a truly tough diplomatic week over in Europe where POTUS openly criticised NATO military allies and Britain’s prime minister. All of this, of course, made Washington very concerned about the way that Trump will treat Putin during their talks, especially since we all know that he is a bit of a loose cannon. What really stuck in everyone’s ear is the fact that on Sunday Trump openly called their longstanding allies in the EU a “foe.”

As you already know, POTUS very openly categorized all the allegations of Russian intervening in the election and collusion with his campaign as a “witch hunt” but he also promised that he would ask Putin to extradite 12 Russian military intelligence officers, who were accused by US prosecutors of hacking Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails. Thanks to the fact that these indictments came on Friday just before this summit, we now have a huge pressure on the US president to criticize his Russian colleague right there in Helsinki.

Source:edition.cnn.com

The interesting thing happened this morning just before the meeting of these two presidents, and it was the fact that Trump basically blamed the former US president Obama for the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, where he won over Hillary Clinton. Trump went to Twitter and stated “President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it. When I won it became a big deal and the Rigged Witch Hunt.” Of course, this Tweet brought a huge mess right onto Washington’s front door which is exactly why the US lawmakers have suggested the US president should cancel the summit. The Russians, on the other hand, defend themselves by stating that the allegations were unfounded and basically were a political tool with which the US government is trying to derail the bilateral talks.

CBS approached president Trump and asked him to comment on his “biggest foe globally right now,” and surprisingly right beside Russia and China (who are on this list for years), somehow EU made it as well. Trump said “The EU is a foe, what they do to us in trade . . . Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad.” John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, confirmed for us that the president has been briefed about the indictments of the Russian intelligence agents and stated: “I think the president can put this on the table and say, this is a serious matter that we need to talk about.”

Bolton also stated that it is “hard to believe” that Putin and his state had nothing to do with the 2016 election and that this issue will be something that Trump will raise directly. He continued by saying “That’s what one of the purposes of this meeting is, so the president can see eye to eye with President Putin and ask him about it.” He continued by adding that he does not expect that anything will be resolved with these talks and that they will be basically “unstructured.”

There is also another reason for this summit, and it is hidden behind the fact that both of these superpowers are trying to restart their bilateral exchanges in any form possible, with talks on Syria, Ukraine and arms control, but most of the world (unfortunately) has its expectations set pretty low.

US ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, went on as much to claim that it is even wrong to categorize this meeting of the leaders as a summit. Nevertheless, what everyone is talking about, this meeting is definitely a win in Russia’s books, especially when we think about the fact that the relations between US and Russia have hit the all-time worse and the fact that some European countries are trying to diplomatically isolate Moscow.

Trump is Delusional About His Relationship with Kim Jong-Un

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When US President Donald Trump returned from Singapore from the long-anticipated summit, he tweeted: “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” It has been three weeks since the summit, and there is no evidence at all that North Korea started doing anything regarding the issue.

To make matters worse, it appears that North Korea is improving its weapons and is adding more to the pile. Just in the last week, thanks to the satellite imagery, we can see that the nuclear facility in Yongbyon is being upgraded and according to The Wall Street Journal, Kim has expanded a key solid-fuel missile facility.

According to the US intelligence officials, and as reported by the Washington Post, North Korea was doing everything to hide the nuclear weapons from any future inspection. They are going that far that they want to hide everything, including the existence of the uranium-enrichment site that is known as Kangson. The NBC was also one of the outlets that reported this and one of the officials warned: “Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles. We are watching closely.”

Source:vanityfair.com

Those who were skeptical about the meeting between the two presidents are not surprised. Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at Middlebury College, said: “Kim Jong Un is not offering to give up his nuclear weapons. The North Koreans have never—not once—offered to disarm. That should be a clue.”

Meanwhile, the White House refuses to accept the simple truth. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is avoiding questions about the human-rights abuses in North Korea whereas National Security Adviser John Bolton doesn’t want to speak in public about denuclearization. According to Axios, some of the White House officials are pumped up about the talks that they are looking forward to another Trump-Kim summit that would take place in September. If this were to happen, the further dialogue would be held in the United States, which would be Kim’s first visit to the country.

The White House believes that things are moving in the right direction. As Bolton put it: “We’re very well aware of North Korea’s patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States. There’s not any starry-eyed feeling among the group doing this.” He pointed out that before any potential meeting between two leaders, North Korea would have to show some progress.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that North Korea could denuclearize in two and a half years, but Bolton accelerated the process, saying that Pompeo “will be discussing . . . how to dismantle all of their W.M.D. and ballistic missile programs in a year.”

In the meantime, Jeffrey Lewis was not so optimistic: “The administration is just trying to bluff its way through this, making promises that it can’t deliver. Maybe we’ll let them get away with that because no one wants to go back to 2017. But the moment the U.S. gives Kim an ultimatum on disarmament, the process will collapse.”

The elephant in the room is the lack of agreement over the terms of denuclearization. Kim sees this as a possible option and he never committed himself to do it while Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation says of the Washington side: “U.S. negotiators pressed the North Koreans to include at least a common understanding of what ‘denuclearization’ means in the Singapore document, but they were not able to get there.”

She also added: “The fact that Trump has declared North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat hasn’t helped. It signals that there is no urgency,” she told me. “This was always going to be a long process, and the administration’s approach is reinforcing Pyongyang’s preference to play a long game.”

Source:greanvillepost.com

Pompeo and Bolton have been trying to justify Trump’s words ever since the president returned to the United States. He said that North Korea is no longer a threat, Pompeo was trying to explain that the threat is not as grave as it used to be. Also, Trump claimed that Pyongyang had returned the remains of 200 US service members killed during the Korean War. However, Pompeo said that America is optimistic and that the remains should arrive shortly, but the US hasn’t received anything by now.

Donald Trump obviously has some issues when he tries to make a difference between fantasy and reality. The process of denuclearization is far from certain, and even if North Korea agrees, the process would be long and tiring for both sides.

Source: vanityfair.com

Trump and Putin – possible meeting in mid-July

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The Presidents of the USA and Russia, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, are planning to meet in mid-July when president Trump visits the UK for NATO summit, says the diplomatic source. Even though Trump’s administration insisted that the meeting should be held in Washington, Moscow decided that the talks should be on neutral ground. The representatives said that it would probably be Vienna, but no official announcement has been made.

The National Security Council confirmed that John Bolton, White House national security adviser, is scheduled to visit Moscow later this month, to discuss the potential meeting between two leaders. The spokesperson of the National Security Council didn’t want to comment on president’s plans for the summit.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, welcomed the potential meeting, calling this summit “important,” and also saying that “NATO is in favour of dialogue.”

Source:bustle.com

Putin and Trump have already met twice, and the Russian President says that he talks with Trump regularly over the phone, which was confirmed by White House readouts of the calls. Two leaders spoke eight times over the phone.

Due to the investigation about potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign associates, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, the relationship between the two leaders has been under supervision.

Whiles the USA President suggested that Russia should be reinstated to the G7, the Congress pressured Trump’s administration to impose sanctions on Moscow for its “election interference,” including individuals mentioned in Miller’s investigation.

Source: edition.cnn.com

US Could Sanction European Allies Over Iran Deal According To John Bolton

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President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the US would leave the Iran Deal and that they could impose sanctions on the Middle East country in case they don’t come to a new agreement. On the other hand, other signatories of the deal continued their support to Iran and their efforts to honor the terms. Now it seems that Trump might take this to a whole new level and sanction its European allies in case they decide to continue trading with Iran.

Source:theguardian.com.au

In an interview, Bolton was asked about policy towards Europe as France, U.K., and Germany decided to stay in the deal, and if it is possible to somehow punish those countries. As a part of the answer, National Security Adviser told that POTUS clearly said that “countries that continue to deal with Iran could face U.S. sanctions.” He continued by adding “Europeans are going to face the effective U.S. sanctions, already are really, because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves U.S. technology, for which the licenses will not be available.”

It was noted by Bolton that Iran has increased their military activity all over the Middle East and that they have the protection of nuclear deal that allows them to avoid any sanctions for such behavior. He continued by giving examples of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, all where Iran regular army or terrorists supported by their government have been involved.

National Security Adviser was asked to give details on which parts of the agreement did Hassan Rouhani and his office violate as both inspectors and European allies are suggesting that there were no violations. Here is what Bolton responded: “Well, the inspectors don’t know everything. You can’t say honestly that Iran didn’t violate the deal because we don’t have adequate inspections.” It was also added that the biggest problem with this agreement that was signed by Barack Obama was that “we have never had an adequate declaration from Iran of their prior military activities in connection with the nuclear program … That just violates every precept of sound arms control negotiation.”

Source:theguardian.com.au

Another problem here is that the US and inspectors didn’t have adequate access to various military facilities that could also house further nuclear program development. The main goal of Trump is to get a new deal with Iran, and the US might even consider imposing sanctions on European allies that would continue to work with the Middle East country.

Source: abcnews.go.com

Trump’s security advisor meets with the Russian ambassador

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John Bolton and Anatoly Antonov met on Thursday in the White House to discuss ways of improving the relationship between the two countries, greatly strained amidst accusations of Russian tampering in the US elections in 2016.

Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador to the United States, has earlier stated that the United States and Russia need to work together on maintaining the international security and that partnership between them “meets the interests of the Russian and American people.”

Source:politico.com

Bolton, who recently took over the position of the national security advisor from H. R. McMaster, is known for his hawkish attitude towards North Korea and Iran. He said that before the relationship could improve, Russia must address several of the most pressing issues, namely election meddling, nerve gas attack in the United Kingdom and situations in Syria and Ukraine.

The US intelligence services have claimed that Russia is behind a systematic campaign aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential campaign, something both Presidents Trump and Putin have vehemently denied.

The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and EU for its support of Ukrainian rebels and annexation of Crimean Peninsula are still in effect and have severely impacted Russian economy, with BDP seeing a dramatic downfall.

Russian spy Sergei Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury has driven another wedge between Russia and the West. The UK has accused Kremlin of perpetrating the attack on British soil and Washington has supported its allies, stating that the situation must be resolved as soon as possible.

Source:npr.org

Finally, the Russian support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a long-standing dispute point between Moscow and Washington and the recent attack involving chemical weapons in Syria has deepened the divide, with US military going on record that it holds Russia responsible for it.

Antonov has denied all of these allegations, saying that Russia is seeking a partnership with the United States.

Source: politico.com