Trump says Bolton a ‘disaster’ on North Korea, ‘out of line’ on Venezuela

Donald Trump listens as his national security adviser John Bolton speaks at the White House in February. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 11 September 2019

Trump says Bolton a ‘disaster’ on North Korea, ‘out of line’ on Venezuela

  • Trump said Bolton had made mistakes, including offending North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un
  • “I thought he was way out of line and I think I’ve proven to be right” the president said

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that John Bolton, dismissed a day earlier as national security adviser, had been a “disaster” on North Korea policy, “out of line” on Venezuela, and did not get along with important administration officials.
Trump said Bolton had made mistakes, including offending North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un by demanding that he follow a “Libyan model” and hand over all his nuclear weapons.
“We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model ... what a disaster,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“He’s using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that, and he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”
Trump also said he disagreed with Bolton on Venezuela but offered no specifics. “I thought he was way out of line and I think I’ve proven to be right,” the president said.
Trump said Bolton, with his abrasive, hard-line approach, “wasn’t getting along with people in the administration that I consider very important.”
“John wasn’t in line with what we were doing,” he added.
Trump said he got along with Bolton and hoped they parted on good terms, but added: “Maybe we have and maybe we haven’t. I have to run the country the way we’re running the country.”
Trump had been growing more impatient with the failure to oust socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro through a US-led campaign of sanctions and diplomacy in which Bolton was a driving force.
Bolton was also a chief architect of the Trump administration’s hard-line policy on Iran.
Asked whether he would consider easing sanctions on Iran to secure a meeting with its leader President Hassan Rouhani at this month’s UN General Assembly, Trump replied: “We’ll see what happens.” Bolton had opposed such a step.
North Korea has denounced Bolton as a “war maniac” and “human scum.” Last year, it threatened to call off a first summit between Kim and Trump after Bolton suggested the Libya model of unilateral disarmament. In the past Bolton had proposed using military force to overthrow the country’s ruling dynasty.
Trump’s efforts to engage with North Korea nearly fell apart altogether in February after he followed Bolton’s advice at a second summit in Hanoi and handed Kim a piece of paper that called for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the United States.
Trump announced he had fired Bolton a day after North Korea signaled a new willingness to resume stalled denuclearization talks, but it then proceeded with the latest in a spate of missile test launches.
Analysts say Bolton’s removal could help US efforts to revive the talks but will not make it easier for Washington to persuade Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons.
Washington has given no indication so far that it will soften its demand for North Korea’s ultimate denuclearization, even though with Bolton gone, the risky all-or-nothing gambit is unlikely to be repeated so bluntly.
“This change in personnel could carve out some space for new approaches or thinking about what defines success and how to achieve it,” said Jenny Town at 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea project. “Whether it actually does or whether Bolton’s view was more deeply entrenched in US thinking on this matter is yet to be seen.”


India sends 36 ministers to restive Kashmir on charm offensive

Updated 5 min 38 sec ago

India sends 36 ministers to restive Kashmir on charm offensive

  • Ministers are on a five-day outreach mission to connect with people in the valley
  • The ministers’ visit follows a New Delhi-sponsored trip of 15 foreign ambassadors

NEW DELHI: India has dispatched dozens of ministers to its portion of the Kashmir region to promote government projects and development following months of unrest in the area.

Last August New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, imposing a security crackdown and a communications blackout. It is India’s only Muslim-majority state and scrapping its semi-independence was the central government’s bid to integrate it fully with India and rein in militancy.

Prepaid mobile and Internet services have been restored although most of the valley remains without the Internet. Landline and post-paid mobile services were restored last month. 

The 36 ministers are on a five-day outreach mission to connect with people in the valley, with media reports saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the delegation “to spread the message of development among the people, not only in the urban areas but also in the villages of the valley.”

He was also reported as asking them to tell people about central government schemes that will have grassroot benefits.

The ministers’ visit follows a New Delhi-sponsored trip of 15 foreign ambassadors to the region.

Jammu-based ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo said the ministerial trip tied in with New Delhi’s development agenda.

“The ministers will interact with local-level representatives and stakeholders, and discuss the plan for the development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he told Arab News. “Kashmir cannot go back to the old ways. There are no political issues that remain here, all have been sorted out by parliament by abolishing Article 370, division of the state and neutralization of separatist elements.”

But India’s opposition Congress party said the visit was an attempt to “mislead and misguide” the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“This is a third attempt to mislead and misguide the people of the world, Jammu and Kashmir and India. They are coming here for a third time to tell lies,” Congress leader and the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam, Nabi Azad, said.

Dr. Radha Kumar, from the Delhi Policy Group, said that a development agenda would not work without addressing the political issue.

“With all the unilateral decisions to abrogate the special status of the state, arresting all the mainstream leaders and putting the state in a lockdown, how are the government’s actions so far going to establish credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir?” Kumar told Arab News. “I think this visit is more for international consumption than anything else.”

Dr. Siddiq Wahid, a Kashmiri intellectual and academic, called the visit a “clear sign” that New Delhi had no idea what to do.

“No matter how many ministers you send to Jammu and Kashmir it’s not going to alter the ground situation, it’s not going to address the issue of alienation,” he told Arab News. “What issues will they talk about with people? The government lost the people’s trust long ago.”

The Himalayan region has experienced turmoil and violence for decades. It is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, which have gone to war twice over it, and both rule parts of it. India’s portion has been plagued by separatist violence since the late 1980s.

Jammu-based Zafar Choudhary, a senior journalist and editor of The Dispatch newspaper, said Modi’s government was full of surprises. “There have never been so many surprises in Jammu and Kashmir as have come in the last two years,” he told Arab News. “There is no instance in the past when so many central ministers have visited a state in one go.”

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