TEHRAN (Press Shia) – An American human rights lawyer said the recent appointments by US President Donald Trump of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Adviser clearly indicate that Washington wants more war.
“Donald Trump’s recent changes in his foreign policy team is quite worrying for the prospects of world peace and security. Most notably, the naming of John Bolton, an avowed neo-Con, as National Security Adviser signals that the US is poised to launch new wars on possibly a number of fronts, including Iran, North Korea and/or Venezuela…,” Daniel Kovalik told the Press Shia News Agency.
He added, “In short, the world should be quite wary of Trump’s recent appointments and of the trajectory of his foreign policy in general.”
Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is the author of the forthcoming, “The Plot to Attack Iran”.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Press Shia: US President Donald Trump has announced he is replacing his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, with John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN and a military intervention hawk. What is your take on the replacement?
Kovalik: Donald Trump’s recent changes in his foreign policy team are quite worrying for the prospects of world peace and security. Most notably, the naming of John Bolton, an avowed neo-Con, as National Security Adviser signals that the US is poised to launch new wars on possibly a number of fronts, including Iran, North Korea and/or Venezuela. Bolton has been very open in calling for regime change in Iran and North Korea.
Press Shia: What is your take on Bolton's ties with terror groups, including the MKO?
Kovalik: As for Iran, Bolton was a keynote speaker at the MEK (aka MKO) conference in Paris last July and called for regime change in Iran at that meeting. This is of grave concern. The MEK is a terrorist organization and was indeed designated as such by the US between 1992 and 2012. It deserves this designation even still as it continues to carry out terrorist attacks within Iran, having killed upwards of 17,000 Iranians over the years.
For the US National Security Adviser to be openly aligned with such a group and its aims of violent overthrow of the Iranian government shows how far US foreign policy has devolved towards open warfare upon the world.
Tanim: Bolton has said the US should act pre-emptively against North Korea and Iran nuclear programs. Do you believe that his arrival makes it more likely the US will drop out of the Iran nuclear deal?
Kovalik: We can definitely expect Bolton to push for the scrapping of the Iran nuclear deal as a means to pave the way for regime change.
Press Shia: McMaster’s replacement comes amid a period of uncertainty involving Trump’s national security team. Just recently, Trump axed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and named CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him. What do you think?
Kovalik: Similarly, the appointment of Mike Pompeo, a CIA chief with no diplomatic experience, to the highest US diplomatic post is also a signal that the US has little interest in peacefully engaging with the world. For his part, Pompeo has also been aggressive in his stance towards both North Korea and Venezuela. Pompeo has openly called for regime change in Venezuela and has admitted to meeting with the leaders of countries like Colombia and Mexico to encourage them to help bring about such a result. Pompeo may also support some type of preemptive strike against North Korea, quite possibly with tactical nuclear weapons.
In short, the world should be quite wary of Trump’s recent appointments and of the trajectory of his foreign policy in general.