Iran Pits The Machiavellian Pompeo Against Policy Ideologue Bolton

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton(L) listen to US President Donald Trump address the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons annual meeting at the... US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton(L) listen to US President Donald Trump address the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons annual meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 17, 2019 8:51 a.m.

Discussions on how to deal with Iran have thrown two of President Donald Trump’s top advisers on the issue into stark relief.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the perennial politician, a yes man looking out for his own career future, versus National Security Adviser John Bolton, a man at the end of his career who’s aggressively pushing his own vision.

According to a Politico report, Pompeo tries to carry out Trump’s foreign policy vision, never one to push back or ruffle his feathers. Bolton, on the other hand, is intent on shaping that policy in alignment with his own views, no matter if it makes him the unpopular kid in class.

Bolton has also been trying to circumvent Pompeo in the policy decision process, taking to Twitter to deliver his decisions without the Secretary of State’s input.

Though both men are hawkish, in this case Pompeo has been erring more on the side of negotiation, or at least mixing it into his saber-rattling, while Bolton is advocating for pure force.

Trump this week denied reports of infighting and told Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he doesn’t want war with Iran.

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