South Asia and Beyond

China’s Aggression Against India Deliberate: John Bolton

NEW DELHI: He has been one of those who have got closest to observing how the unpredictable U.S. President Donald Trump makes decisions with regard to foreign policy. 17 months into being the U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton was fired or he quit, as he insisted. Now, just months before the scheduled U.S Presidential election, Bolton’s book ‘The Room Where It happened’ is turning out to be a bestseller but not without its share of controversy. Speaking to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Bolton defended his book, saying it had no classified information, while pointing out that only when ‘the author gets critical about the incumbent that people get upset about it’. Trump came to the job not well informed about a number of international issues. No president comes equipped 360 degrees when they start in office but Trump is not terribly interested in learning either and so for many of the issues that are complicated, it’s hard to get his attention, said Bolton, adding that ‘Trump has trouble distinguishing between his personal relationships with foreign leaders on the one hand and the underlying bilateral U.S. relationship with the country in question as the other’. So what guides Trump’s foreign policy decisions? “All politicians in democratic societies take politics into account in their decision making. The difference with Trump is politics can go from being a factor in decision making to the factor. And that happens all too often,” said Bolton. He says the recent Chinese aggression in Ladakh was ‘deliberate, with an objective in mind’. And he revealed that the United States played a role in ensuring the India-Pakistan conflict didn’t escalate in the aftermath of last year’s strike on Balakot by the Indian air force.

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Nitin A. Gokhale

Author, thought leader and one of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Nitin A. Gokhale has forty years of rich and varied experience behind him as a conflict reporter, Editor, author and now a media entrepreneur who owns and curates two important digital platforms, and focusing on national security, strategic affairs and foreign policy matters. At the beginning of his long and distinguished career, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years, writing and analysing various insurgencies in the region, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 during the India-Pakistan war, and also brought live reports from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009. Author of over a dozen books on wars, insurgencies and conflicts, Gokhale relocated to Delhi in 2006, was Security and Strategic Affairs Editor at NDTV, a leading Indian broadcaster for nine years, before launching in 2015 his own digital properties. An alumni of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii, Gokhale now writes, lectures and analyses security and strategic matters in Indo-Pacific and travels regularly to US, Europe, South and South-East Asia to speak at various international seminars and conferences. Gokhale also teaches at India’s Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), the three war colleges, India's National Defence College, College of Defence Management and the intelligence schools of both the R&AW and Intelligence Bureau. He tweets at @nitingokhale


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