WORLD

Bolton's departure brings small sigh of relief for world conflicts

Many countries welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to sack National Security Adviser John Bolton, a hardliner accused of pushing Trump towards war against Iran.

Trump's choice of John Bolton as national security adviser in 2018 reflected the embracing of more hard-line policies in the U.S., especially regarding his pronouncements, typically in the form of calls to bomb countries like Iran and North Korea. He was a strong supporter of the Iraq war and an advocate for aggressive use of American power. A leading foreign policy hawk, Bolton was widely known to have pressed the Republican president not to let up pressure on North Korea despite diplomatic efforts. He had also argued against the president's suggestions of a possible meeting with the Iranian leadership and advocated a tougher approach on Russia and, more recently, Afghanistan.

Iran's president urged the U.S. yesterday to "put warmongers aside" as tensions simmer the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between Washington and Tehran in the wake of the collapsing nuclear deal with world powers. Hassan Rouhani's remarks signaled approval of President Donald Trump's abrupt dismissal of Bolton. Rouhani's website quoted him as further urging the U.S. to "abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy" on Iran. Ali Rabiei, a government spokesman, said after the meeting that Bolton's dismissal may help the U.S. have a "less biased" attitude toward Iran.

In Latin America, Venezuela's embattled socialist government also expressed delight on Tuesday over the firing of Bolton. Industry Minister Tareck El Aissami, who was a special target of Bolton for his alleged drug involvement in cocaine trafficking, called Bolton the "biggest liar" who caused untold damage to the Venezuelan people. "The historical truth has vanquished the demons of war!" El Aissami celebrated on Twitter. "The future is ours!" But it wasn't clear if the U.S. stance on Venezuela might change without Bolton. Cuba and Nicaragua also had little affection for Bolton.

Meanwhile, Russia said yesterday it did not expect any improvement in relations with Washington after the dismissal of Bolton. "We don't think that the presence or dismissal of any single official, even such a senior one, can seriously influence adjustments to American foreign policy," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier in comments to the RIA Novosti state news agency: "We have observed several times in the past that changes in the U.S. administration bring no improvement. That's why we have no expectations due to the shakeup."

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