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

Left to himself, Nitin A. Gokhale would rather watch films and sports matches but his day job as a media entrepreneur, communications specialist, analyst and author, leaves him little time to indulge in his primary interests. Gokhale in fact started his career in journalism in 1983 as a sports reporter. Since then he has, in the past 41 years, traversed the entire spectrum across print, broadcast and digital space. One of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Gokhale has moved on from conventional media to become an independent media entrepreneur running three niche digital platforms—BharatShakti, StratNewsGlobal and Interstellar—besides undertaking consultancy and training workshops in communications for military institutions, corporates and individuals. Now better known for his conflict coverage and strategic analyses, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years between 1983 and 2006, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 and also brought us live coverage from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009.    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, Australia, South and South-East Asia to take part in various seminars and conferences. Gokhale is also a popular visiting faculty at India’s Defence Services Staff College, the three war colleges, India's National Defence College, College of Defence Management and the IB’s intelligence school.