Trump team sends mixed signals to Europe
National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday carefully doubled down on President Donald Trumpâs thr eat that European countries could be sanctioned by the United States if they continue to be involved with Iran.
âItâs possible,â Bolton said during an interview on CNNâs âState of the Union.â
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Boltonâs statement came as he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to amplify the reasons behind the Trump administrationâs deal to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement and explain how it will work, given that the international community, other than Israel and some Arab nations, has not jumped on board with the president. Both Bolton and Pompeo suggested they believed the great powers of Europe might eventually see the light.
Trump on Tuesday said he was going to reimpose sanctions on Iran â" dealing a blow to what he called the âdecaying and rottenâ Iran nuclear deal. Those sanctions could involve secondary sanctions, which would penalize countries whose companies continue to trade with Iran. âAny nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States,â the president said.
After Trumpâs announcement, the leaders of France, Germany and Britain said in a joint statement that they remain committed to preserving the Iran deal and urged the U.S. âto ensure that the structures of the [deal] can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal.â China and Russia also have affirmed support for the deal, which was designed to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons.
âI think the Europeans will see that itâs in their interest ultimately to come along with this,â Bolton said to CNN host Jake Tapper.
Despite the lack of support from other world powers, Bolton said he thought the U.S. sanctions would make a dent in and of themselves. âWeâve seen is that Iranâs economic condition is really quite shaky, so that they effect here could be dramatic,â he told Tapper.
Bolton went on to say that despite Trumpâs consistency in terms of saying he was going to get out of deal: âMany people ... thought we would never get out of it.â
âI donât know how to explain why people could miss what the president was saying,â Bolton said. âSo I think at the moment there is some feeling in Europe that theyâre really surprised that we got out of it and really surprised at the imposition of strict sanctions. I think that will sink in, and weâll see what happens then.â
Also Sunday morning, Pompeo said that withdrawal from the deal wasnât aimed at Europeans â" that the Trump administration will continue to work with our allies to fix the deal.
âI am hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program, but there missiles and their malig n behavior as well,â Pompeo said on âFox News Sunday.â âAnd I will work closely with the Europeans to try and achieve that.â
When pressed whether the U.S. is prepared to go against companies from our allies, Pompeo said the sanctions in place are âvery clear about what the requirements are.â
âMy mission that I've been given by President Trump is to work to strike a deal that achieves the outcomes that protect America,â he said. âThat's what we are going to do, and I will be hard at it with the Europeans in the next several days.â
Others were dubious that withdrawing from the nuclear deal would prove effective, particularly since it shattered an international alliance that worked to negotiate the deal with Iran.
âI donât believe we will ever be able to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again,â James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, said on âFareed Zakariaâs GPS.â He and fellow Zakaria guest Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, both said Trumpâs move on Iran is apt to complicate matters with North Korea.
On âFox News Sunday,â Pompeo also talked about the U.S. becoming more involved in North Korea if Kim Jong Un chooses the âright path.â Trump announced last week that his highly anticipated meeting with Kim will be June 12 in Singapore.
He said that more Americans from the private sector could help build the energy grid in North Korea and to work with them to develop infrastructure.
âAll the things that the North Korean people need, the capacity for American agriculture to support North Korea so they can eat meat and have healthy lives, Pompeo said. âThose are the kinds of things that if we get what it is the president has demanded, the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea that the American people will offer in spades.â
However, Pompeo said the U.S. is not yet at the place where âwe should be re motely close to declaring that we've achieved what it is we want.â
Bolton shared a different sentiment on what the United States might be able to offer North Korea in negotiations, adding that North Korea shouldnât look for economic aid from the United States.
âI think what the prospect for North Korea is to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way South Korea does,â he said on âState of the Union.â
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations also noted Sunday on ABCâs âThis Week with George Stephanopoulosâ that he doesnât âthink anybody believes youâre going to sign the complete ending of the nuclear program in one day.â
Trump is undergoing extensive preparations for his meeting with Kim, Bolton said, which included an extensive conversation with China President Xi Jinping.
âIâve been on the job about five weeks, I would say that Iran and North Korea probably taken up over half of my time, and a lot of that obviously â¦ is helping him make the decisions and get ready for these meetings,â he said âSo I think his preparations are very intense.â
Retired Adm. Michael Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Sunday said he gives the president âcredit for getting to this pointâ in terms of North Korea.
âHe has moved the needle on this one that has not been done in the past,â Mullen said of Trump. âBut I also think given the stakes it's a very much high-risk, high-reward opportunity, and I think the downsides potentially are really significant as well.â
During a recent speech in Washington, Mullen warned that if the talks between Kim and Trump fall apart, âthe failure is likely to stir the president's most bellicose aggressive instincts.â
Mullen clarified that statement Sunday, saying that âthe likelihood of options are dramatically reduced to potential conflictâ if the talks donât go as planned.
âDespite the progress thatâs been made to try to understand Kim Jong Un, there's a lot we don't understand,â he added. âAnd that he would be significantly different from his father and his grandfather to make the kind of changes that are being discussed would be a huge, huge shift and I'm more skeptical than I am optimistic that he would do that. That said, it could happen.âSource: Google News