Is it John Bolton or Tucker Carlson who has Trump’s ear on Iran?
As tensions with Iran threaten to spill over into war, the big question is who has sway over President Donald Trump, his hawkish advisers or a cautious Fox News host, and the answer might make all the difference.
According to the Washington Post, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is drawing his own “red lines” on Iran, while National Security Advisor John Bolton controls what Trump sees and hears, insulating the president from opinions different from his hard-line position when it comes to dealing with Tehran.
Pompeo has passed a private red line to Iran suggesting a single US fatality would prompt military action.
Meanwhile, cautious voices have been marginalized & “Bolton has dominated Iran policy, keeping a tight rein on information that gets to [Trump].” https://t.co/R3z244L3yk
— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) June 19, 2019
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast claims that it’s Tucker Carlson who actually has Trump’s ear when it comes to Iran. The prime-time Fox News host, who once supported George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq, has renounced that position and become an outspoken critic of US military adventurism.
His show bills itself as the “sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink” and Carlson frequently brings up Trump’s promise to withdraw from “endless wars” in the Middle East.
As Trump was taking the state for his re-election campaign kick-off in Florida on Tuesday, Carlson hosted retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who warned that a war with Iran was a loser going into 2020.
“He needs to get us out of Afghanistan, he needs to get out of Syria, and he needs to get out of Iraq,” said Macgregor. “If he can’t turn to an audience like the one he’s got tonight a year from now and say, “Look, I promised, I delivered,” I think he’s not gonna see everybody show up at the ballot box that he would like to be there.”
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This was not a one-time occurrence, either; Carlson was warning against a war with Iran as early as July 2018, following Trump’s decision to pull out from the nuclear deal and impose new sanctions on Tehran. War, Carlson argued, would “destroy” Trump’s presidency.
Critics of the Bolton-Pompeo foreign policy quickly seized on the Daily Beast report, with some pundits endorsing the idea of Carlson replacing Bolton at the National Security Council.
Spectator USA editor Freddy Gray even floated the idea of giving Carlson a Nobel Peace Prize for his pushback against Iran hawks.
“In the last few weeks, however, he may have done more to advance the cause of peace than any other human on the planet,” Gray wrote.
As both the Post and the Beast relied on anonymous sources for their “insider” reports, it is impossible to actually verify their claims, however. Trump himself denied he was being pressured by members of his administration to get into a conflict with Iran.
“Not at all. In fact, in many cases, it’s the opposite,” he said on Thursday, after meeting with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at the White House.
“But I will say, look, I said I want to get out of these endless wars. I campaigned on that: I want to get out,” he added, calling the incident with Iran shooting down the US drone “a new wrinkle… new fly in the ointment.”
Is Bolton actually in charge? Does Tucker really have Trump’s ear? Which way will Trump jump? For all the media speculation, it’s actually impossible to tell, and once again, to borrow the president’s favorite phrase, we’ll just have to “see what happens.”
Nebojsa Malic, RT
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