"Today it felt that the US is bent on empowering tyrants in pursuit of its animosity towards Iran, no matter what the cost. Sadly, the cost we pay here is US sanctioned injustice and loss of our freedom." cnn
His speech at AUC (a community college level school in Cairo) was unimpressive. Pilgrims, a background in Mechanical Engineering at a military school and Harvard Law School (Law Review, etc.) may not have created a mind accessible to open ended questions with many facets, most of which are shrouded in esoteric knowledge. The big wide world is sooo much easier to deal with if you just agree with your audience (Orange County, WP, Kansas, the Borg, Trump – another ignoramus) rather than than thinking through the complexities present everywhere in the ME
So now, The Pomp has read his 15 minutes speech in various places in the ME. It is a pastiche of Borgist memes informed throughout by the wisdom of advice from Bolton and his NSC staff. "We have rejected false overtures from our enemies." We have enemies? I would accept that concerning the jihadis. They really are committed enemies, but, who else? Russia, Hamas, Iran, the Syrian government? Who? If parties like these are thought of in advance as "enemies" then how can statecraft improve the international situation? Is the opposite thought true? Are Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Egypt and AIPAC thought automatically to be friends who must be believed? It seems that the answer is yes.
We are informed by the NY Times and CNN, (friends of Trump?) that in November parties unknown fired three mortar rounds into a parking lot in the former Green Zone in Baghdad. There was some scorched pavement, three small holes in the surface, perhaps some tail fins sticking up like flowers and NO casualties. Pilgrims, the soldiers here will tell you that this is a "what was that?" nothingburger. The US Embassy occupies a portion of the Green Zone. This parking lot was not in the embassy. Nevertheless, Bolton's hypertensive staff asked DoD to write some retaliatory options against Iran professing to believe that a. the identity of the shooters was known (not true) b. that Iran was obviously the controlling force in this bad deed. Neither thing was true. Understand. The "options" asked for were alternative attack plans for retaliation against Iran. The Pentagon/Joint Staff does not generate option papers for the use of "soft power." They generate attack options to be presented to the president/commander in chief once the NSC staff has mulled them over. They would be presented for a possible presidential decision on an Execute Order for one of them. Understand?
Someone in the Pentagon (perhaps Mattis?) was understandably horrified at the "cavalier manner" in which the Boltonistas made such a request . That is why this was leaked. pl