On Jun 1, 2018, The Wall Street Journal published an article that rang alarm bells around Washington. National Security Advisor John Bolton appointed Fred Fleitz as Chief of Staff of the NSC.
Fleitz is a very conservative author with an equally controversial history.
Fred Fleitz was Chief of Staff to John Bolton, then Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is one of three reporting to the Under Secretary.
Fleitz also worked at the CIA, with Bill Casey, then its Director. Lately, Fred Fleitz served as senior Vice President for Policy and Programs at the Center for Security Policy; he was a colleague of Frank Gaffney, its founder.
As a senior official with the NSC, I worked occasionally with Casey, under the Reagan leadership; Fleitz served with George W. Bush. So, Fred Fleitz and I never met. Not so, however, with Bolton. He and I share a history of appearing at rallies of supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) — he as a speaker, and I as a scholar, conducting on-the-spot interviews at rallies and then reading books, like the following, which I combined with interviews: "John Bolton, Surrender Is Not an Option."
Both Bolton and Fleitz incurred the wrath of left-of-center policymakers and pundits. One of those served in the government: Michael McFaul, who was U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during the administration of President Barack Obama.
Per Colum Lynch and Elias Groll, McFaul tweeted, "Bolton doesn’t believe in coercive diplomacy. Instead, he believes in regime change, as the goal and the use of military force, as the means in places, such as North Korea and Iran. His theories about American foreign policy are deeply flawed."
Speaking at an event in Brussels, during 2011, McFaul added, "Bolton said he unequivocally, supports the movement’s goal of overthrowing the Iranian regime. Several well-known Republicans, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and some Democrats, including former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, have also lent support to the group.”
As a scholar interviewing at that event, and many others, for over a decade, the author never heard anyone calling for the violent overthrow of the Iranian regime. Rather, they called for peaceful protests, which would build momentum, for rogue regime change from within.
In "Objectivity Missing in Report on Iran Resistance" yours truly states, “Yellow journalism,” is a style of reporting emphasizing sensationalism over facts. This usage is over two centuries old and is equivalent to “fake news.”
See MSNBC’s “On Assignment” narrated by Richard Engel. On May 25, Engel brought up unfounded allegations against a leading Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), described as Iran’s Parliament in Exile. Again, the claims fly in the face of the facts. The NCRI is a coalition of opposition organizations, calling for peaceful change of the rogue regime in Tehran.
Instead of presenting a balanced report rich with evidence, MSNBC reached out to an infamous agent of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), for two decades, as the key witness to discuss the main opposition movement to Iran.
The Way Forward
First, recognize John Bolton and Fred Fleitz are defenders of our national interests, which is a reasonable inference from research undergirding this article.
Second, understand differences between regime change, as in the Iraq Wars of choice, by the United States, on one hand, and protests, which bring down a regime, by the circumstances of demonstrations, on the other. See Richard Haass, "War of Necessity, War of Choice—A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars."
Third, understand that when Former Director of CIA Jim Woolsey stated, on Jun. 17, 2015, (after he left the Agency):
If we cannot bring about a change of regime through the brave operations… [supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)] and their friends and allies in Iran and elsewhere, the only way to keep Iran and the mullahs themselves from having this kind of horrible power is war. I do not welcome it. I do not urge it. I do not wish it.
Woolsey, however, was calling for regime change from within, as an alternative to war, not his first preference!
Taking such steps should lead us to understand why John Bolton and Fred Fleitz are defenders of our national interests.
Prof. Raymond Tanter (@ProfRTanter) served as a senior member on the Middle East Desk of the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration, Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense to international security and arms control talks in Europe, and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Tanter is on the comprehensive list of conservative writers and columnists who appear in The Wall Street Journal, Townhall.com, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The American Spectator, and now in Newsmax. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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