William Tobey, the former deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, offered an authoritative response to former US ambassador to the United Nation’s John Bolton’s “How to Get out of the Iran Nuclear Deal,” published earlier this week in the National Review.
Bolton’s “non-paper,” as Bolton calls it, was requested by Steve Bannon, to provide President Trump with an option to “free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity.” Tobey effectively dismembers Bolton’s argument that the US administration adopt a “greatly expanded diplomatic campaign,” by raising serious doubts about whether the Administration could sustain any diplomatic campaign, let alone a greatly expanded one. But more importantly, Tobey goes on to effectively argue that even if the administration could put one foot in front of the other, Bolton’s approach is flawed and dangerous.
If Bolton’s recommendation was heeded, it would lead to Iran returning to its past levels of uranium enrichment, cleave the NATO alliance to Moscow’s direct benefit, and undermine existing global nuclear proliferation efforts.
Tobey has real reservations about the Iran deal as it is currently constructed. That being said, he is absolutely right that Bolton’s approach would make the Iranian threat much worse overnight. Bolton blames staff changes in the White House from keeping his proposals outside of official channels. It seems more likely that those official channels are starting to do their job by keeping reckless proposals as far as possible from the gates of the White House.
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