Jack Hunter explains at The American Conservative that a duo of Sen. Rand Paul and Fox News channel prime time host, Tucker Carlson, may have saved America from a war with Iran. Hunter says that their advice to Trump was critical in his decision to ignore his advisers, namely National Security Adviser, John Bolton. Hunter writes (abridged):
The United States almost started a war with Iran only for President Donald Trump to change his mind at the last minute.
Reports indicate that the usual suspect, National Security Adviser John Bolton, was the main advocate for airstrikes, with the backing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA head Gina Haspel, as well as encouragement from Senate war hawks Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton.
This might be the most important question in American politics right now.
TAC’s Barbara Boland reported in early June that the purpose of wedging the now-outgoing Patrick Shanahan into his acting defense secretary position was to put Bolton at the top of the foreign policy food chain (the incoming Mark Esper could fill a similar role).
“He’s likely to default to whatever Pompeo or Bolton wants,” retired U.S. Army colonel and defense analyst Douglas Macgregor said of Shanahan. “Pompeo and Bolton have agendas. They’re not Trump’s, but in the absence of strong leadership, Shanahan is unlikely to put up much resistance.”
Trump appears to understand the hawkish nature of the Washington foreign policy establishment that surrounds him. “Don’t kid yourself, you do have a military industrial complex. They do like war,” Trump told Fox News. “I say, ‘I want to bring our troops back home,’ the place went crazy…. You have people here in Washington…they never want to leave; they always want to fight.”
“No, I don’t want to fight,” Trump added.
Trump’s impulses, if not always his policy actions, are generally anti-war. Unfortunately, most in his immediate orbit do not share those inclinations, with unrepentant Iraq war cheerleader Bolton topping the list.
“’Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,’ this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East,” Politico reported.
But Trump will continue to need sound minds and advice. The Daily Beast reports that in addition to Paul’s counsel, the president might also be getting the right encouragement from Tucker Carlson.
“A source familiar with the conversations told The Daily Beast that, in recent weeks, the Fox News host has privately advised Trump against taking military action against Iran,”
The Daily Beast notes. “And a senior administration official said that during the president’s recent conversations with the Fox primetime host, Carlson has bashed the more ‘hawkish members of his administration”
Rand Paul’s continuing role as unofficial adviser to the president might be his most important. Some might ask what one man could possibly accomplish.
Just ask John Bolton.