Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

At Odds With Bolton on North Korea, Mattis Appears Isolated

At Odds With Bolton on North Korea,  Mattis Appears Isolated

WASHINGTON — Of the issues that divide Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and President Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser, John Bolton, one stands out: North Korea.
Bolton, who will replace Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster on April 9, has publicly advocated for overthrowing the North Korean government. Mattis, a retired Marine general who knows intimately the costs of war, favors diplomacy to rid the North of its nuclear weapons and has said war on the Korean peninsula would be “catastrophic.” On Iran, too, Mattis would seem at odds with Bolton, who has argued for abandoning the Obama-era nuclear deal.
These and other matters of war and peace will test Mattis’ influence with Trump as his national security team is overhauled.
Mattis was sometimes at odds with McMaster, but the arrival of the hawkish Bolton, combined with the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the uncertain status of John Kelly as White House chief of staff, appears to leave Mattis more isolated than at any time since he took over the Pentagon 15 months ago. Often described as a steadying or moderating influence on the impulsive Trump, Mattis has little previous relationship with Bolton.
The North Korea issue is front-and-center: Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean President Kim Jong Un by May to discuss the North’s nuclear disarmament. The unprecedented summit could be a turning point in a decades-old U.S.-North Korean standoff that Trump himself has said could end in “fire and fury” - an American nuclear attack __ to stop the North from gaining the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear missile.
“This is buckle-up time,” retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said last week on MSNBC. “For the military I have three words: Sharpen your swords. He (Bolton) is someone who is going to reach for the military instrument.” (AP)