To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war. - Winston Churchill

The only person in the Trump White House I trust on policy is Donald Trump himself. Not that I think he gets it right all the time, but that I think his instincts are right almost all the time, and he really wants the same outcomes that I do. Meanwhile, we find Bolton unloads on Trump’s foreign policy behind closed doors. I understand – but who can know from here – that Bolton had actually been leaking to the media his disagreements with the President. Out he had to go for that reason alone. But the linked article tells you just how intemperate Bolton is.

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying that inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees….

Bolton also said more than once that Trump’s failure to respond to the Iranian attack on an American drone earlier this summer set the stage for the Islamic Republic’s aggression in recent months.

PDT had a few words of his own.

“Well, I was critical of John Bolton for getting us involved with a lot of other people in the Middle East,” he told reporters during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego. “We’ve spent $7.5 trillion in the Middle East and you ought to ask a lot of people about that.“

“John was not able to work with anybody, and a lot of people disagreed with his ideas,” Trump added. “A lot of people were very critical that I brought him on in the first place because of the fact that he was so in favor of going into the Middle East, and he got stuck in quicksand and we became policemen for the Middle East. It’s ridiculous.“

So we have this.

During the Q&A session, Dershowitz told the crowd that it was “a national disaster” that Bolton had been booted from the White House, to what the attendee described as “thunderous applause.”

I’m with Churchill on this. To talk is not to surrender. To go to war over someone shooting down a drone is insane. As for “national disasters”, let’s see who’s president after January 2021.

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62 Responses to To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

  1. FelixKruell

    Not that I think he gets it right all the time, but that I think his instincts are right almost all the time, and he really wants the same outcomes that I do

    I’m stunned you purport to know what outcomes trump wants? Care to enlighten us? Most of his foreign policy pronouncements have been vague and self-contradictory…

  2. Behind Enemy Lines

    Iran has been at war with the US, along with arguably being the world’s greatest supporter of terrorism, since 1979. The public doesn’t have a clue about most of what’s gone on between them. However, Kates is correct in pointing out that neither the US nor the rest of the world needs another open war in the middle east right now. Iran and it’s people richly deserve a thoroughgoing regime replacement, and the Iranian administration will eventually get what’s coming to it. But I hope that can wait until a more suitable time and circumstances. Now is not it.

  3. C.L.

    I do think Camp David and the person of the President of the United States have too much prestige to be involved in a negotiation with terrorist neanderthals like the Taliban.

  4. Dr Fred Lenin

    Surely the CIA is quietly undermining the maniacal religous dinosaurs in Persia ,( as all the people I have met from there call themselves) , or are they still busy covering up their part in the attemoted undermining of Trump before his election ,many meetings with FBI and DOJ luminaries to get the story right in case of criminal charges , clinton and obama orobably sut in on the plotters meets because they were in it up to their necks . Drain the Swamp .

  5. Arky

    Trump is right.
    He kept dickheads like Bolton to frighten the enemy, not to go rogue and start shit.
    Know the administration’s strategy, and your role within it.

  6. Wayne From Perth

    If the UK and France had reacted immediately to Hitler’s provocative re-militarisation of the Rhineland it is possible that WW2 could have been averted. Instead they did jaw-jaw.

    Also the US has been jaw jawing with North Korea for 50 years or so with the result that it now has the ability to threaten most countries in the pacific with a nuclear attack including the US itself.

    The downing of the US drone was a provocative act which should have drawn a military response which would not have to mean all out war.

    Appeasing rogue regimes doesn’t work nor as history shows do sanctions. Sometimes acting decisively early on can prevent worse outcomes down the track. The problem is we only ever see this with hindsight.

  7. Hamish Marshall

    Substantially right Wayne. Churchill advocated rearmament when it became obvious that Hitler was to be an horrific tyrant. Jaw Jaw for a while, but then go to war from a position of strength to a avoid tenfold greater deaths and war costs down the road. It is not Trumpy’s fault that he has been handed a poison chalice, but the $US

  8. Hamish Marshall

    7.5 Trillion is a monstrous lie, and Steve Kates should avoid glossing over such absurdity. We hope and pray that DT knows what he is doing – perhaps buying time until after the 2020 election, before he has to mount large scale surgical strikes against Iran (i.e. WAR). if, in the privacy of his own head (and Steve’s!), he doesn’t understand that he will have to take the Mullahs out, then his Presidency will amount to less that George Bush’s.

  9. Delcon

    To go to war over someone shooting down a drone is insane.

    I’ll take, “which position is best to guarantee the enemy keeps giving us crap?” for $500, Alex.

  10. egg_

    Bolton had actually been leaking to the media his disagreements with the President. Out he had to go for that reason alone. But the linked article tells you just how intemperate Bolton is.

    Throwing the toys out of the cot?
    Great leadership example.

  11. Louis

    Actually the only time you should jaw jaw instead of war war is if you are pretty certain you will lose and so you jaw jaw to stall for time as you build up your forces.

    Hitler would have continued to jaw jaw with Britain right up until the tanks started rolling up to No. 10.

    The rules of MAD don’t work with a death cult.

  12. Here’s my take on the whole thing:
    I trust President Trump to do the right thing, even if I can’t read his mind.

  13. egg_

    John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s fired national security adviser, harshly criticized Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying that inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda.

    Aren’t these relics of CIA creations from the Iran-Iraq war?
    Truth being the first casualty of war ‘n’ all?

  14. Delcon

    Aren’t these relics of CIA creations from the Iran-Iraq war?
    Truth being the first casualty of war ‘n’ all?

    I honestly don’t know much about the CIA’s history, but from what I do know whenever they tried to interfer with the politics of a foreign nation it ended in tears.

    P.S.
    Off topic: if we can’t deport that family of Tamil fakeugees, can we at least deport Justice Mordi Bromberg instead?

  15. Tim Neilson

    I trust President Trump to do the right thing, even if I can’t read his mind.

    I trust him to at least want to do the right thing.

    Something I was never confident of when Obama was in the White House.

  16. Delcon

    This:

    I trust him to at least want to do the right thing.

    Something I was never confident of when Obama was in the White House.

  17. PB

    Bolton, Dershowitz…..sensing a recurring pattern here….

  18. duncanm

    Why go to war?

    the US needs to drop a few drone bombs of its own on Iranian soil.

    “I didn’t do it. No one saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.”

  19. Dr Faustus

    Taxi Driver Analysis 101: Trump’s interest is to avoid military engagement with Iran before the 2020 election – getting the US stuck to another Middle East tar baby would not play well. It is in Iran’s interest to fuck Trump off asap, because he is more likely to inflict some serious damage in his second term.

    Consequently, we can expect to see Iran escalating, with sufficient fig leaf coverage not to embarrass China and Russia at the Security Council. Their hope must be to provoke some sort of ‘limited’ strike – see off Trump, and sulkily welcome the next Obama-style gift shower.

  20. Iampeter

    The only person in the Trump White House I trust on policy is Donald Trump himself.

    You’re the kinda person that hits on 20 aren’t you?

    Not that I think he gets it right all the time, but that I think his instincts are right almost all the time, and he really wants the same outcomes that I do.

    So you want:
    Regulation of private enterprise.
    Regulation of tech.
    Regulation of speech and mass violations of property rights.
    Regulation of immigration.
    A nuclear armed North Korea.
    A nuclear armed Iran.
    Cowardly appeasement of Russia, China, pretty much everyone that is a threat to the West.

    Wait…why do you oppose the democrats again?
    Why are you blogging on a right wing blog again?
    Never mind. Rhetorical questions…

    PDT had a few words of his own.

    Words that would make sense if Trump was explaining why he isn’t hiring Bolton in the first place, but make no sense given what’s actually happened. Which you well know…

    I’m with Churchill on this. To talk is not to surrender. To go to war over someone shooting down a drone is insane.

    To quote random people from history, vaguely and out of context, is not really saying anything.
    In THIS situation, to talk to the Taliban would absolutely be surrender. A national disaster.
    A disaster averted by Bolton’s actions.

    Churchill would’ve had a few choice phrases to describe someone like you, Steve. And Trump…

  21. Kurt

    Churchill went to war over Poland. It cost Britain her empire and practically bankrupted her only for Poland to get her independence 50 years later. So that went well.

  22. Percy Popinjay

    Chamberlain went to war over Poland. It cost Britain her empire and practically bankrupted her only for Poland to get her independence 50 years later. So that went well.

    While from 1939 to 1941 the Poles were slaughtered en masse by the Nayzees and the Soviets while the UK and France did sweet FA.

  23. Percy Popinjay

    Apologies – while the UK did sweet FA and the frogs heroically surrendered.

  24. Zatara

    The British Empire ran out of steam long before 1939. WWII just called a spade a shovel.

  25. Percy Popinjay

    The British Empire ran out of steam long before 1939

    The Poms being the last people on the planet to realise this.

  26. J.H.

    Yep. Trump was right about not retaliating after Iran shot the drone down, increasing sanctions on the regime and it’s key people is the best way….. The strategy is for the Iranian people to overthrow their own worst elements of government. A foreign war only strengthens the government against it’s dissidents and critics.

    Xi’s China and Putin’s Russia would love to see America continually bogging itself down in “nation building”, when America should really be concentrating on its economic powers rather than its military powers, etc.

  27. Tim Neilson

    Kurt
    #3159762, posted on September 19, 2019 at 4:29 pm
    Churchill went to war over Poland. It cost Britain her empire and practically bankrupted her only for Poland to get her independence 50 years later. So that went well.

    This is absolutely correct (except that Churchill wasn’t the PM when the war started).

    The UK should have given in to everything H!tler wanted, and got in on the alliance between him and Stalin. That would have worked much better.

    You KNOW it makes sense.

  28. jupes

    To talk is not to surrender.

    To talk to the Taliban is to surrender to them. Does anyone really think that they can be talked into being nice? FMD

  29. Empire 5:5

    If the UK and France had reacted immediately to Hitler’s provocative re-militarisation of the Rhineland it is possible that WW2 could have been averted. Instead they did jaw-jaw.

    Evidence please. You could begin with a summary of British-Franco military materials at the time. Then you can explain how they would have successfully war-wared the Krauts and how that alone would have prevented WWII.

  30. Empire 5:5

    Churchill went to war over Poland.

    Never happened. Why are people with no grasp of history commenting on this stuff?

  31. Zatara

    The UK should have given in to everything H!tler wanted, and got in on the alliance between him and Stalin. That would have worked much better.

    And then there was that whole Axis thing with Japan taking over the Pacific.

  32. Roger

    Somewhat disappointing (and puzzling) that Trump has appointed a Bolton protege as NSA.

    Either he likes a foil in that position or…or what?

  33. Empire 5:5

    I honestly don’t know much about the CIA’s history, but from what I do know whenever they tried to interfer with the politics of a foreign nation it ended in tears.

    Learn it and the world today will make more sense. The CIA turned 72 yesterday, but it was the National Security Act which enabled it and lots of other chicanery.

  34. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    before he has to mount large scale surgical strikes against Iran (i.e. WAR)

    Nope, “granting letters of marque and reprisal”.

  35. calli

    Summits with terrorists have been held before at Camp David.

    Arafat comes to mind.

  36. Empire 5:5

    To talk to the Taliban is to surrender to them. Does anyone really think that they can be talked into being nice? FMD

    The current approach is working nicely. Only 18 years. Should be done soon.

  37. Empire 5:5

    Bolton was hired and then fired after 17 months on the eve of 9/11 anniversary. His job was to expose neocon rats, though he didn’t know it.

  38. Muddy

    To believe that a hug and a wet-willy will resolve any and every conflict between any conceivable combination of participants, is to embrace a profound ignorance of the nature of humans and what motivates them.

  39. Empire 5:5

    To believe that a hug and a wet-willy will resolve any and every conflict between any conceivable combination of participants, is to embrace a profound ignorance of the nature of humans and what motivates them

    As true as it comes, but how many Iranians do you think want war with the US?

  40. Muddy

    how many Iranians do you think want war with the US?

    I will assume that is intended rhetorically.
    Given that I don’t know any of the details of the Iran issue (to believe that all knowable information has been made public would be delusional), I don’t intend to comment further than restate what I wrote several months ago regarding what I would guess might be the paralytic nature of any first strikes by the U.S.

    The point of my comment upthread is that fear is a prime human motivator, and that violence, or the threat of violence, will sometimes be necessary against an actor who has demonstrated an unwillingness or inability to respond to other motivators.

    It’s the nature of the human condition: Big, hairy, smelly bully screams at and thumps small kid (again); small kid jabs a sharp stick into bully’s groin. Bully learns lesson or bleeds to death. Either way, there’s an outcome.

  41. Roger

    …how many Iranians do you think want war with the US?

    Difficult to say.

    Perhaps the only remark one can make with certainty is that those who do all wear turbans.

  42. Mitchell Porter

    @Iampeter lists Trump’s sins as including

    “Regulation of immigration.

    Cowardly appeasement of Russia, China, pretty much everyone that is a threat to the West.”

    May I point out the contradiction between a confrontational policy towards other great powers, and no regulation of immigration? If your country has enemies, and anyone can enter, then your enemies can send in as many people as they want.

  43. Jannie

    Bolton was pissing in to the tent as well as out of it. Trump seems to want to avoid war, Bolton wants war. Trump is right, get tf outta there and let the towelheads police their own patch. Build the wall.

  44. Wayne From Perth

    Empire

    Evidence please. You could begin with a summary of British-Franco military materials at the time. Then you can explain how they would have successfully war-wared the Krauts and how that alone would have prevented WWII.

    Paul Schmidt, “Status auf diplomatischer Buehne 1923-1945” (Bonn, 1945),320

    As referenced by William Manchester, “The Last Lion, v2, Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone, 1932-1940, Little Brown and Co, 1988, p177.

    “The moment the French infantry moved, calling his bluff……The fledgling Wehrmacht would be routed. Hitler and the Nazis would be the laughing stock of Europe…….a military government would move into the Reich Chancellory pending a constitutional convention and free elections.”

  45. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Germany was fairly weak at the start of the war.

    In “The Third Reich at War”, it is said that the invasion of France would have failed, not for the talent of Heinz Guderian commanding the Panzer Corps. Even the Battle of France, particularly the breaching of the Meuse River, was touch and go.

    France had the numbers. Germany had the better professional officer class.

  46. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    As referenced by William Manchester, “The Last Lion, v2, Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone, 1932-1940, Little Brown and Co, 1988, p177.

    The best biography of Churchill, I have ever read.

  47. Delcon

    When Germany invaded the Rhineland in 1936, Hitler gave express orders to withdraw immediately if the French offer the slightest resistance as he knew that his fledgling military has no chance against the French military, the strongest in Europe at the time. The Frogs’ failure to call out his bluff led Hitler to believe, correctly, that they will never challenge him until he finally attacks them directly.
    When Hitler threatened to invade the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia in 1938 if it is not handed to him peacefully, his generals had plans, instead of obeying his orders, to stage a military coup against him once he gives the order to attack, as they knew the German military machine was ill-equipped to take on the strategic well-defended mountainous region, backed by one of the best military-industrial complex which was the Czech weapons industry.
    When Hitler invaded the poorly-equipped Poland, he was only able to defeat it with the help of Stalin’s attack from the East.
    Even after defeating Poland, while by then the Frogs and Brits already declared war on him, they did not attack him. Any attack on Germany during 1940, while German forces were still occupied elsewhere, is likely to have defeated Germany still in 1940. But the Brits and Frogs just waited passively, giving Hitler the advantage of the initiative.
    With this advantage, and with, as someone commented above, his brilliant generals, he managed to astound the world by defeating France.
    Only then, for the first time in the war, Germany was in a winning position.

  48. jupes

    The current approach is working nicely. Only 18 years. Should be done soon.

    The current approach is only marginally better than surrendering to the fuckhead Taliban.

    May I suggest two superior approaches:

    1: Destroy the Taliban quickly and with no mercy, then leave.

    2. Leave the country without surrendering. Just up and go.

    Option 2 would end with the exact same result as surrendering to the fuckheads but without the humiliation.

  49. Herodotus

    The taliban should be terminated with extreme prejudice and likewise their Pakistani (and possibly some Iranian) enablers.

  50. Herodotus

    Churchill and Roosevelt started the UN. It grew to ridiculous dimensions and now includes every ratbag state regardless of regime complexion or ethics/morality. Bolton was right to say it should be cut down to size.
    Un and EU. Both now corrupt and should crumble.

  51. Herodotus

    Point well made Delcon. Iran should have been stopped a long time ago.

  52. Herodotus

    How the Middle-East works: in the absence of a strongman ruler the country collapses into chaotic civil war.
    While a strongman rules, the left either tolerate him because he’s their type of guy (Nasser) or criticise the west for tolerating a terrible dictator (the Shah).
    Iraq demonstrated the futility of democratising a ME messpit of warring factions/ethnicities/religions.
    Egypt demonstrates the relatively efficient replacement of a bad guy with a better one.
    Turkey demonstrates how a formerly fairly advanced ME country can be taken back down the road to cali-fate by the slow erosion of its secular qualities rather than the fast way achieved by the Iranian mullahs.

  53. Delcon

    The story of the Middle East in the modern era, particularly in wake of the “Arab Spring” trainwreck, demonstrates that a region held back by Islam, can only have two forms of regimes: an Islamic dictatorship, or a Leftist dictatorship.
    All the West can do is keep a close eye, not play with them, and let time do the rest.

  54. old bloke

    jupes
    #3160082, posted on September 20, 2019 at 3:38 am

    2. Leave the country without surrendering. Just up and go.

    Option 2 would end with the exact same result as surrendering to the fuckheads but without the humiliation.

    The US had no axe to grind with the Taliban, they went into Afghanistan to get Al Qaeda, and the Afghan government (Taliban) objected to their presence. AQ is gone, the US should just leave and let the Afghanis sort out their own affairs, no need for a Camp David meeting.

    As long as the US and allies stay in Afghanistan, Jihadis from all over the Ummah will continue to flow into the country to fight them. Withdraw from Afghanistan and they will go elsewhere. They would probably go instead to central Asia to fight the Chinese in Xinjiang, which wouldn’t be a bad outcome for US foreign policy.

  55. Kneel

    “…Aren’t these relics of CIA creations from the Iran-Iraq war?…”

    Pay attention: the CIA doesn’t do this any more.
    Instead, the US Govt gives money to the NGO “National Endowment for Democracy”, which now does all that stuff. That way, they can bypass the laws about foreign powers funding political groups – NED is an NGO, see, not Govt. Therefore their donations are all above board. (don’t look behind that curtain – nothing to see there…)

  56. Many commenters keep referring to ‘The Taliban’. Taliban are no longer a single entity. Like many entities before them in history, factions evolve and disagreements about how best to proceed abound. Infighting happens.

    There are elements of Taliban leadership who want to stop fighting, get the Kuffir out of Afghanistan and take over government at the ballot box.
    That was the faction coming to Camp David but the factions against them blasted a huge bomb to derail the talks, and successfully so.
    Recall Trumps comment (paraphrase) “no point negotiating with them if THEY CAN’T CONTROL THEIR PEOPLE.”

    To talk to the Taliban is to surrender to them. Does anyone really think that they can be talked into being nice? FMD

    Some said the same thing about the IRA.
    The IRA was in a similar position not all that long ago. Have we forgotten?
    They also had factions who wanted to jaw jaw but were often thwarted by their brothers who wanted to continue war war. Yet talks did eventually and successfully happen with “terrorists” who went after the Royals (killing one) and the Prime minister, nearly killing her
    Despite that historical evidence, people are critical of Trumps efforts to bring an end to Americas longest war.

    Afghanistan will never be a totally peaceful place. There are just too many tribal conflicts and open wounds.
    Taliban will never be wiped out because most of them come across the Pakistani border. They are the same ethnic people separated by borders they don’t recognise.
    The Afghan military is at a size and capability now where they can keep some semblance of order, especially in the urban areas of which there are few.
    No need to have Coalition forces exposed to danger. The few we leave behind can be there for advice and training only.

  57. Paridell

    He’s right, you know. Bolton, that is.

  58. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Of course the right course was to stay the hell out of the local wrangling. Saudi doesn’t even have Emirate support for its bashing of Yemen. It has now discovered that the US won’t act unless its own interests are directly affected. My forecast: MBS gets rolled by his Dad. Yemen gets settled. Iran gets very friendly with China. Trump retreats further to isolationism.

  59. Kurt

    Percy Popinjay
    While from 1939 to 1941 the Poles were slaughtered en masse by the Nayzees and the Soviets while the UK and France did sweet FA

    Apart from Poland not being Britain’s responsibility, I don’t understand your point. WW2 caused 20 odd million deaths in Europe. Was slaughter all over Europe better than slaughter in Poland?

  60. Kurt

    Empire 5:5
    #3159817, posted on September 19, 2019 at 5:44 pm
    Churchill went to war over Poland.

    Never happened. Why are people with no grasp of history commenting on this stuff?

    Other, more intilligent posters, realized I meant Chamberlain and just auto corrected. But no matter. Your question betrays a petty, supercilious personality so I didn’t take offence.

  61. Mitchell Porter

    Two small comments:

    @oldbloke (#3160324) says US went to Taliban Afghanistan in order to get Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda is gone.

    I’m not actually sure that is true, though certainly if Al Qaeda is still present in Afghanistan, it is vastly diminished compared to pre-9/11, and the HQ of Al Qaeda must be elsewhere, wherever Zawahiri is (Pakistan again?).

    More significantly, a branch of Islamic State is in Afghanistan now, and that is a splinter group from Al Qaeda – people usually forget that. I have no idea who in Afghanistan is backing them, but someone must be.

    Elderly White Man From Skipton (#3162417) predicts

    “MBS gets rolled by his Dad. Yemen gets settled. Iran gets very friendly with China. Trump retreats further to isolationism.”

    But the struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia is about many things: sect of Islam, republic versus monarchy, and also geopolitical orientation. There is a question of whether America will continue to be hegemon in the Middle East, or whether Russia and China will triumph (or perhaps agreed zones of influence, though I don’t see that as stable).

    It’s one thing for America to ‘retreat to isolationism’, quite another to outright abandon Saudi Arabia and the petrodollar. But as long as America is in the region and Iran has its current regime, there will be efforts, covert or overt, to kick the Americans out.

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