Inside the Mind of an Iran War Hawk

It’s interesting to ponder how much power John Bolton holds in his hands. It might not be too much to say that he is the only person in the world who may be able to determine whether or not Donald Trump is convicted in his Senate impeachment trial. In other words, if for some reason Bolton no longer wants Trump to be president, it’s quite possible that Trump will no longer be president.

Now, put yourself in the shoes of a real Iran hawk whose lifelong mission has been to effect regime change in Tehran. Imagine that you’ve helped put the administration on a course that will lead almost inevitably to that outcome, but you were fired before you could see the job through. And, imagine that you know that the job cannot be done correctly with the country this divided and led by a certifiable moron who has squandered every shred of credibility both at home and abroad.

Imagine, too, that the immediate alternative to this moron is Mike Pence, a man who was instrumental in convincing Trump to authorize the assassination that put everything on an irreversible course. Can you trust him to see through the program of regime change? Would he have more credibility than Trump with Americans and our allies and the global audience? Wouldn’t it be far better if he were to oversee the next steps?

Trump, after all, is completely unreliable in most respects. Bolton couldn’t convince him to do basic things, like fund the Ukrainians or maintain support for the Kurds. He’s done so much damage to our alliances in the region that only replacing him can salvage our position there. Finally, many reports suggest that Trump soured on Bolton specifically because he was tired of being pushed to take a harder line on Iran.

So, is it necessarily surprising that Bolton would suddenly volunteer to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial?

When Bolton turned on Fox News on Monday night, he witnessed Sean Hannity demonstrating some inside knowledge about the president’s thinking:

“Sean Hannity opened his Fox show on Monday night, spouting off on Iran in a nearly 10-minute monologue full of bluster. But what was really interesting was the detail Hannity offered about the US’ strategy toward the regime. Hannity, for one, insisted that the US ‘won’t be going with boots on the ground in Iran. That’s not going to happen.’”

“And then Hannity proceeded to list some targets the US might hit if Iran retaliates for the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.”

Said Hannity: “They got three major oil refineries and we know where they are. They have nuclear facilities, we know where they are. We know Iran’s terrorist network—maybe even the mullah’s themselves.”

Everything seems to be in place to fulfill Bolton’s dream of a final confrontation with the regime that came to power by kidnapping and holding Americans hostage for 444 days. The only snag in the plan is that the country will never rally around a cause led by Trump.

It seems like the only thing to do now is put Pence in charge and things will be a “go.”

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com