The Fanatic Running Trumpís Foreign Policy

By Daniel Larison

April 30, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -Dexter Filkins has written an extensive profile of John Bolton. The profile recounts many familiar stories from Boltonís career, and it has a few interesting details I hadnít read about before. Among many other things, it covers his ties to the MEK and the payment he has received from them for promoting their cause:

In Boltonís financial disclosure, he listed a forty-thousand-dollar payment, for a speech that he gave, in 2016, to Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian exile group dedicated to overthrowing the government in Tehran. The M.E.K., which professes an eccentric variant of Islam, has been characterized by many experts as resembling a cult. From 1997 until 2012, the United States listed it as a terrorist group, owing to a campaign of bombings and assassinations that it led in Iran. Boltonís association with the group apparently went back at least to that time. During the speech in 2016, he told the crowd, ďI just say again what I have been saying for ten years that Iíve been coming to this rally: the regime in Tehran needs to be overthrown at the earliest opportunity!Ē

Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a frequent critic of the regime, said that Boltonís relationship with the group should have disqualified him from senior government jobs. ďAnyone who pimps himself out to the M.E.K. fails the litmus test for integrity,Ē he said.

As I have said before, Boltonís long-running involvement with the MEK is one of the clearest indications we have that the National Security Advisor holds dangerous views and has appalling judgment. He was one of the earliest and most consistent supporters of the MEK even before they were removed from the governmentís list of foreign terrorist organizations, and he remained one of their biggest American advocates right up until he joined the Trump administration. While Iím sure they have paid him  handsomely for all of his tedious speeches in favor of regime change, his fanatical anti-Iranian views make him a perfect fit for the group. If we had a remotely sane Iran policy debate, Boltonís MEK ties would discredit everything he has to say about Iran. The fact that he has a major role in making U.S. policy towards Iran when he was very recently getting paid by a cultish group that seeks regime change should alarm everyone regardless of their views on what U.S. policy should be.

   

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