Wang Jin Associate Research Fellow, Institute of American Modern International Relations, USA
US National Security Adviser Bolton recently issued a new warning to Iran, saying that Trump’s decision at the last minute not to retaliate against Iran’s shooting down of U.S. drones should not be seen as a sign of “weakness”. He also said, “ In the Middle East, no one has granted them a hunting license." "Our army has been rebuilt and is ready."
Recently, Bolton was somewhat hurt, because Trump stopped the action at the last moment of his use of force against Iraq, and things did not develop in the direction of the military he wanted. His recent remarks show that he is still reluctant to give up his tough stance on using Iran to push Iran to achieve "regime change." In an interview with Fox TV, he said, "Before these things, I have said it for more than a decade. The US publicly declared policy should be to overthrow the Iranian Mullah regime."
In the same battle with Bolton, there is US Secretary of State Pompeo. Pompeo also advocated tough on Iran and used military means to compromise Iran. He made 12 requests to Iran to demand that Iran must meet these requirements before the United States considers lifting the sanctions. His goal is to undermine what he called Iran's "expansionist foreign policy." The request he made is basically related to Iran’s own security interests and the fundamental issue of political stability. Iran will not accept it diplomatically, and military action will become a realistic option for Pompeo.
Now, the decision-making status of this "two groups of the two groups" faces a series of challenges.
First, there is a risk of contradiction and differentiation within the “Mengwu Duo” group.
Bolton and Pompeo are not in character, which is already the secret of Washington. Bolton is proud, conceited, insists on his own views and is not close to human feelings, and often has an open quarrel with Pompeo, who is equally strong.
When Trump met Kim Jong-un at the Panmunjom store on June 30, the media noticed that Bolton did not appear. He was sent to Mongolia to discuss security issues. Bolton’s position is at stake, because Trump is tired of lobbying him for a war with Iran. Trump’s soft attitude toward North Korea is very different from Bolton’s claim, which may mean that the hardliner’s Bolton has been excluded from the decision-making circle of the DPRK policy.
In Panmunjom, accompanying Trump is the usual "Fox News" host Tucker Carlson who often criticizes Bolton with words such as "war madman" and "official locust." The United States《每日野兽报》said that Carlson is actually Trump's "shadow staff", he is similar to Trump's current foreign policy stance, privately persuading Trump not to use force against Iran, Trump is in Iran The question is very much attached to Carlson's voice, and the media has also produced speculations about whether Carlson will be on the top.
The US Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook and the Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Bigen, have also gained Trump’s trust and their status has been consolidated. After meeting at Panmunjom, Trump said, "Beagan will negotiate on behalf of me. He has a heart that loves the United States and North Korea."
At present, the voice of the use of force against Iran does not account for the mainstream of decision-making, so Bolton and Pompeo show a single shadow. Trump said: "The sanctions are still going on. I am not in a hurry. I am not in a hurry to Iran. If you are in a hurry, you will get into trouble." More importantly, Pentagon officials believe that the Middle East may happen. The conflict will once again distract the US military's focus on the Asia-Pacific region, and it is difficult for the US military to deal with major wars in the two regions at the same time.