Trump Faces Turning Point In US Foreign Policy After Firing Bolton - Ex-EU Consultant

Trump Faces Turning Point in US Foreign Policy After Firing Bolton - Ex-EU Consultant

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th September, 2019) US President Donald Trump's decision to force the resignation of National Security Adviser John Bolton gives him a window to redefine his foreign policy and grand strategy, former European Union consultant Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

"Is Trump going to go back to his earlier, unconventional positions, favoring US withdrawal and the end of never-ending wars, questioning the value of old alliances such as NATO?" Schirach, President of the Global Policy Institute and Chair of International Relations at Bay Atlantic University (BAU), asked.

Or had Trump become the "prisoner" of the Washington foreign policy establishment that wants the continuation of old engagements simply because this is what US policymakers are used to, Schirach queried.

The US president's "choice for his next National Security Adviser may provide a good indication. Stay tuned," Schirach said.

In retrospect, Bolton seemed an unlikely National Security Adviser for Trump, a US chief executive who wanted to end all wars and bring US troops back home, Schrach recalled.

"Trump run for president with the promise to end all American foreign military engagements. In his mind, under bad previous presidents America had wasted too much money and resources on many failed military initiatives," he said.

However, once in the White House, President Trump did not end all US military commitments, Schirach pointed out.

"In fact, Trump doubled down on the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He adopted an aggressive posture against Iran by denouncing the Nuclear Deal negotiated by former Secretary of State John Kerry under instructions by President Obama," he said.

Trump had also threatened military action against Venezuela and he accepted a mini-surge of US troops in Afghanistan, Schirach commented.

"This seems the muscular foreign policy that hawkish John Bolton would eagerly support... Bolton is a well-known foreign and security policies hawk," he said.

Instead, Trump's tempestuous relationship with Bolton had reflected the ambiguity of the US president's conflicting policies and goals, Schirach explained.

"Here we see the disconnect - Donald Trump never declared that he had changed his views on US foreign and security policies," he said.

Yet, in selecting Bolton to be his third national security adviser following retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Lt. Gen. H R. McMaster, Trump had selected an aide who rejected his basic principles, Schirach observed.

"So, we have a very unorthodox President Trump who declared the intention to pull back from too many commitments and withdraw into fortress America. And yet he hired Bolton as National Security Adviser - a seasoned foreign policy expert who seemed to hold almost opposite views," he said.

"Bolton had openly recommended toughness on Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan," Schirach said.

"It seemed that Bolton had Trump's attention. In fact, just days ago it seemed that Bolton's skepticism about the Qatar peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban had won the day," he said.

Schirach also noted that Trump had abruptly canceled a secretly arranged Camp David summit with the Taliban, declaring the long and complex negotiations with the Afghan insurgents conducted by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad dead and this was seen as a major victory for Bolton.

"Bolton was against a deal with the Taliban," he said.

On other issues, however, the fundamental policy chasm between the president and his national security adviser was just too great to be bridged or reconciled, Schirach added.

Therefore, "Afghanistan aside, obviously Bolton's overall views are not in sync with this President's. So, he is out," he said.

Now, the president had still to tip his hand in which direction he wanted US foreign policy to go, Schirach cautioned.

At this time, a replacement for Bolton has not been named and despite Trump's claim of having some ten candidates for the position, it is not known which way the president is headed: America First neo-isolationism, or traditional engagement?, Schirach said.

After Bolton was fired, Secretary of State Pompeo advised world leaders that US foreign policy would stay the same, Schirach said.

That may be, but today, there is a great deal of speculation in Washington, Schirach concluded.