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Re The End of Israel by Gilad Atzmon, from Peter Myers

(1) The End of Israel - Gilad Atzmon(2) Israel’s religious right is now in the driving seat - Jonathan Cook(3) Israel spied on Trump(4) Israel denies Spying Allegations(5) Trump accepts Israeli denial(6) John Bolton was Israel’s "Trojan horse" in the White House(1) The End of Israel - Gilad Atzmon End of IsraelGILAD ATZMONSEPTEMBER 12, 2019The lesson to be drawn from the current Israeli political stalemate is that Israel is imploding, breaking into the elements it has never managed to integrate into one. The schism is no longer the more quotidian dichotomy of Ashkenazi vs. Arab Jews (aka Sephardim); this divide is ideological, religious, spiritual, political, ethnic and cultural. Nor does it break down to Left and Right, Jewish Israelis are politically with the right even when they pretend to be ‘Left.’ Although some of the most astute critical voices of Israeli politics and Jewish fundamentalism are Israelis (such as Gideon Levi, Shlomo Sand, Israel Shamir and others), there is no political Israeli Left. Israeli politics break down into a lot of extreme right voters and many ordinary hawks. The Arab Joint List Party is practically the only Left party in the Israeli Knesset. This should not be surprising any more. Jewish Left, as I have been arguing for many years, is an oxymoron; Jewishness is a form of tribal identification and Left is universal. The ‘tribal’ and the ‘universal’ are like oil and water, they do not mix very well.What is peculiar about the Israeli political divide is that the Israelis are more united than ever in their nationalist beliefs and in the primacy of their Jewish symptoms. Why is it, if the Israelis are so unified, that no one can form a government in their so-called ‘Jewish State’?Avigdor Lieberman, formerly an enthusiastic Netanyahu ally and himself a radical Jewish nationalist, delved into the Israeli political deadlock yesterday. He maintained that the elections had already been decided: "The ultra-Orthodox and Messianic bloc reaches 62-61 seats." The leader of the rabid nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu said, "If there is no voting rate of at least 70% in Gush Dan and Sharon, the Halacha government will be established."Basically, Lieberman said that unless secular Israelis in Tel Aviv go to the polls, they should expect to live in a Halacha State under an ultra right wing Netanyahu government. Lieberman appears to hold the key to Israel’s political stability. Although he and Netanyahu are ideological twins regarding Israeli security and nationalist matters, the two are bitter rivals who fight aggressively against each other. Netanyahu has known for a few years that, absent a strong ultra right wing government, he can expect to spend some time behind bars, an adventure that has become common for Israel’s prime political figures. Netanyahu’s natural partners are the ultra right parties and the orthodox parties. Ideologically, Lieberman should also feel comfortable within such a political coalition but Lieberman has made a crucial political decision, essential for his political survival. A while back he grasped that his political home base, Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, many of them barely Jewish and subjected to constant rabbinical terror, regard the Jewish Orthodox parties as their ultimate foes. Many of these Russian and Ukrainian Jews hold ultra right wing political positions but also see the Rabbis as an imminent threat to their survival.Theoretically, Lieberman could broker a huge unity coalition with Netanyahu at the top, joined by Blue and White (Kachol Lavan) and its three right wing field marshals, Lieberman’s own party and probably the Labour party. Such a coalition would hold around 80 Knesset seats, more than enough to sustain a strong government but this coalition would refuse to guarantee Netanyahu’s immunity.Netanyahu gambles instead on a weak ultra right wing religious government, a government that may not hold for very long but would buy more time for its PM to stay out of jail.This conflict at the heart of Israeli politics is a window into the Jewish state and its fears. Israel is rapidly becoming an Orthodox Jewish state. Israel’s Orthodox Jews are the fastest growing group in the country. They are also the country’s poorest population, 45 percent live below the poverty line in segregated communities. Ordinarily, one would expect the poor to support the left, but Israeli Torah Jews are rabid nationalists and openly lend their support to Benjamin Netanyahu and his party.Prof. Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University warned recently that Israel could cease to exist in a couple of generations. He pointed to the astonishingly high birth rate among ultra Orthodox Jews and predicted that, based on current trends, they will comprise 49% of Israel’s population by 2065. The ultra Orthodox parties are destined to dominate the Knesset within a generation or less. Ben David predicts that their dependence on Israel’s welfare system will lead to a rapid decline is Israel’s economy. This is economically damaging enough and is made worse by the refusal of most rabbinical schools to incorporate standard Western subjects such as mathematics, science and English into their core curriculum. Consequently, Israel is educating a growing percentage of its population in a fashion that fails to equip them to contribute to the needs of a hi-tech society that is immersed in a conflict for survival.The picture that comes across is peculiar. As Israel becomes increasingly Jewish and fundamentalist in its nationalist and religious ethos, it has also become more divided on everything else. The Russian immigrants find it impossible to live alongside the ultra Orthodox and vice versa. The secular enclave in Tel Aviv is committed to seeing their metropolis as an extension of NY. The Israeli Left has morphed into an LGBT hasbara unit. It has practically removed itself from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Jewish settlers adhere to the concept of a ‘Two Jewish States Solution.’ They want to see the West Bank become a Jewish land. Orthodox Jews are barely concerned with any of these political issues. They well know that the future of the Jewish state belongs to them. All they need to do is sustain a productive secular Jewish minority to serve as their milk cow. On top of all of that we face Bibi’s survival wars that threaten to escalate any minute into a world conflict.In light of all of this, the Palestinians are in relatively good shape.. They simply need to survive. Israel seems to be Israel’s fiercest enemy.(2) Israel’s religious right is now in the driving seat - Jonathan Cook Israel’s religious right is now in the driving seat2 September 2019Next month’s election is not a contest between the right and centre-left. It’s a battle between different nationalist campsMiddle East Eye – 9 August 2019The real fight in Israel’s re-run election next month is not between the right wing and a so-called "centre-left" but between two rival camps within the nationalist right, according to analysts.The outcome may prove a moment of truth for the shrinking secular right as it comes up once again against an ever-more powerful camp that fuses religion with ultra-nationalism.Will the secular right emerge with enough political weight to act as a power-broker in the post-election negotiations, or can the religious right form a government without any support from the secular parties? That is what the election will determine.An earlier election in April, which failed to produce a decisive result between these two camps, nonetheless confirmed the right’s absolute dominance. The Zionist centre-left parties, including the founding Labor party, were routed, securing between them just 10 seats in the 120-member parliament.Netanyahu, the interim prime minister, was forced to stage new elections, on 17 September, after April’s ballot left him unable to rope together secular and religious parties on the right.To secure a majority in parliament, he needed to include the five seats of the anti-religious Yisrael Beiteinu party, led by Avigdor Lieberman.Lieberman eventually pulled out of coalition talks, saying he was not prepared to sit in a government with two parties effectively run by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate. This time, he has indicated he won’t sit with any of the religious parties.Much of the rest of the secular right has deserted Netanyahu’s Likud party. At the last election, they mostly found a political home in the new Blue and White party, led by a former military chief of staff, Benny Gantz.Polls suggest Lieberman may also attract a larger share of these voters after his recent stand-off with Netanyahu. He has demanded an exclusively secular right-wing government, comprising Likud, Blue and White, and his own Yisrael Beiteinu party.Blue and White has presented itself chiefly as a vehicle for protest against Netanyahu. They oppose a decade of governments in which he has allowed the religious right to play an increasingly assertive role, and the ever-deepening corruption scandals he has been embroiled in. Netanyahu is expected to be charged with fraud and breach of trust in the immediate wake of next month’s election.Blue and White has been misleadingly labelled as centrist by some observers. But it tied with Netanyahu’s Likud, at 35 seats each, in April by appealing to a largely secular strain of right-wing nationalism that three decades ago was the domain of the Likud party.Now Netanyahu and the religious right hope to work in tandem to secure between them a narrow majority of seats to form a government without relying on the secular right-wing parties of either Lieberman or Gantz.A more polarised IsraelYossi Gurvitz, an Israeli journalist and researcher on religious extremism, said the rise of the religious right was an indication of wider shifts in Israeli society."Israel is getting more religious, and its religious parties are getting more extreme, while much of what’s left of Israeli society is becoming more militantly secular in response," he told Middle East Eye. "Israel is polarising, and each is side is increasingly intolerant of the other."The secular camp, however, has been playing a less significant role with each passing government.Menachem Klein, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, near Tel Aviv, said he doubted whether it was still possible for a secular government to be established without including some of the religious parties."It would be a nightmare," he told MEE. "Any move, whether allowing transport on Shabbat, dismantling settlements or talking to the Palestinian leadership would face an enormous social backlash if it was made without the sanction of the religious factions."‘Chosen people’ A poll of Israeli Jews last year by the liberal Haaretz newspaper highlighted Israeli society’s growing religiosity, which closely aligns with the rise of ultra-nationalism.Some 54 percent of the Jewish public expressed a belief in God, with that figure rising to 78 percent among those describing themselves as on the right.An overwhelming majority of right-wing Israelis – 79 percent – view Jews as the chosen people, and a similar number, 74 percent, believe Israel exists by divine promise.Younger voters are markedly more religious than their grandparents – 64 percent compared to 22 percent. Exactly half of young Israelis reject the scientific theory of evolution, and 58 percent believe in life after death. Haaretz noted a clear correlation between Israeli youth’s growing religiosity and their embrace of right-wing views."If you think Israel is religious, conservative and hawkish enough as it is, wait for the fundamentalist theocracy that’s lurking around the corner," the paper’s analyst Chemi Shalev concluded. ...The religious right itself is characterised by three main blocs. All believe that the occupied territories belong exclusively to the Jewish people, and are united in their unabashed support for the settlements and the entrenchment of the occupation.Political differences relate chiefly to matters of how quickly and brazenly the occupied territories should be annexed and how the Palestinian population there should be dealt with. ...Likud, Gurvitz noted, has moved more firmly into the religious camp since 2005 when its then-leader, Ariel Sharon, pulled the last remaining settlers out of Gaza. A backlash from the settlers effectively forced Sharon and his supporters out of Likud to create a short-lived secular faction called Kadima."What was left behind in Likud was the hard right," he said. "The party has been moving ever further to the right under Netanyahu."Since then, the settlers and their allies have come to dominate Likud’s internal committees, meaning none of its parliamentary candidates wish to risk alienating them, according to Gurvitz.... The second bloc comprises two ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, which look to their respective chief rabbis for political direction. Between them they won 16 seats in April.The main difference between the two relates to ethnicity. United Torah Judaism represents the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox community, whose recent ancestry is traced to Europe. Shas, meanwhile, represents the Mizrahim, Jews whose families hailed mostly from the Arab world.Shas, observed Gurvitz, has blended its rigid belief in divine law with nationalism more easily than UTJ because of its long-held anti-Arab positions. A section of its followers serve in the army. Some also work, unlike most Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox men, who devote themselves to studying the Torah.The UTJ, by contrast, has adapted more slowly. Historically, it was anti-Zionist, rejecting the secular institutions of an Israeli state – including the army and the courts – until the Messiah arrived to build God’s kingdom.But over the past two decades, its leaders too have gradually, though more reluctantly, moved into the nationalist fold.That change, according to Gurvitz, has happened because, given the ultra-Orthodox public’s high birth rates, many have been forced to seek cheap housing solutions in the settlements."As they move into the settlements, their politics shift further rightwards," said Gurvitz. "Nowadays they give their leaders hell if they don’t stick fast to ultra-nationalistic positions, or if they try to cut deals with parties outside the right."Gurvitz added: "This means the ultra-Orthodox parties are today effectively in the bag for Netanyahu." ...The third bloc comprises various small far-right parties representing what are known in Israel as the national-religious camp – those who subscribe to the ideology of the settler community.Gurvitz estimates the camp numbers close to one million – or about one in seven of Israel’s Jewish population. About half live in the settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The majority are religious, but not all of them. ...(3) Israel spied on Trump accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White HouseThe likely Israeli spying efforts were uncovered during the Trump presidency, several former top U.S. officials said.By DANIEL LIPPMAN 09/12/2019 05:14 AM EDTThe U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as "StingRays," mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.President Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cell phone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that "Chinese spies are often listening" to Trump’s cell-phone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as "so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it." (A former official said Trump has had his cell phone hardened against intrusion.)By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top DHS official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.That analysis, one of the former officials said, is typically led by the FBI’s counterintelligence division and involves examining the devices so that they "tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are." For these types of investigations, the bureau often leans on the National Security Agency and sometimes the Central Intelligence Agency (DHS and the Secret Service played a supporting role in this specific investigation)."It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible," said a former senior intelligence official.An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: "These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period."A senior Trump administration official said the administration doesn’t "comment on matters related to security or intelligence." The FBI declined to comment, while DHS and the Secret Service didn’t respond to requests for comment.But former officials with deep experience dealing with intelligence matters scoff at the Israeli claim — a pro forma denial Israeli officials are also known to make in private to skeptical U.S. counterparts.One former senior intelligence official noted that after the FBI and other agencies concluded that the Israelis were most likely responsible for the devices, the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government."The reaction ... was very different than it would have been in the last administration," this person said. "With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this."The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which likely would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government condemning its actions."I’m not aware of any accountability at all," said the former official.Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials — prized information for any intelligence service — foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani."The people in that circle are heavily targeted," said the former Trump official.Another circle of surveillance targets includes people who regularly talk to Trump’s friends and informal advisers. Information obtained from any of these people "would be so valuable in a town that is like three degrees of separation like Kevin Bacon," the former official added.That’s true even for a close U.S. ally like Israel, which often seeks an edge in its diplomatic maneuvering with the United States."The Israelis are pretty aggressive" in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official. "They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to to achieve that objective."So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government — such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions — Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices."You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who’s been accessing them to pull the data off the devices," another former senior U.S. intelligence official explained.Washington is awash in surveillance, and efforts of foreign entities to try to spy on administration officials and other top political figures are fairly common. But not many countries have the capability — or the budget — to plant the devices found in this most recent incident, which is another reason suspicion fell on Israel.IMSI-catchers, which are often used by local police agencies to surveil criminals, can also be made by sophisticated hobbyists or by the Harris Corporation, the manufacturer of StingRays, which cost more than $150,000 each, according to Vice News."The costs involved are really significant," according to a former senior Trump administration official. "This is not an easy or ubiquitous practice."Among professionals, the Israeli intelligence services have an especially fearsome reputation. But they do sometimes make mistakes and are "not 10 feet tall like you see in the movies," a former senior intelligence official noted.In 2010, the secret covers of a Mossad hit team, some of whom had been posing as tennis players, were blown after almost 30 minutes of surveillance video was posted online of them going through a luxury Dubai hotel where they killed a top Hamas terrorist in his room.Still, U.S. officials sometimes have been taken aback by Israel’s brazen spying. One former U.S. government official recalled his frequent concern that Israel knew about internal U.S. policy deliberations that were meant to be kept private."There were suspicions that they were listening in," the former official said, based on his Israeli counterparts flaunting a level of detailed knowledge "that was hard to explain otherwise.""Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking. Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X,’" said the former official.Back when the Obama administration was trying to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians, for example, the Israelis were eager to get advance knowledge of the language being debated that would describe the terms of reference of the talks."They would have had interest in what language [President Barack] Obama or [Secretary of State John] Kerry or someone else was going to use and might indeed try to find a way to lobby for language they liked or against language that they didn’t like and so having knowledge of that could be advantageous for them," the former official said."The Israelis are aggressive intelligence collectors, but they have sworn off spying on the U.S. at various points and it’s not surprising that such efforts continue," said Daniel Benjamin, a former coordinator of counterterrorism at the State Department and now director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth.He recalled once meeting with a head of Mossad, the premier Israeli intelligence agency. The first thing the official told Benjamin was that Israel didn’t spy on the U.S."I just told him our conversation was over if he had such a low estimate of my intelligence," Benjamin said.Israeli officials often note in conversations with their American counterparts — correctly — that the U.S. regularly gathers intelligence on Israeli leaders.As for Israel’s recent surveillance of the White House, one of the former senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged it raised security concerns but joked, "On the other hand, guess what we do in Tel Aviv?"(4) Israel denies Spying Allegations Officials Deny The Country Is Spying On Donald Trump - ReportAccording to Politico, a US government investigation concluded that Jerusalem was behind several devices that were uncovered in Washington.BY ROSSELLA TERCATIN, HERB KEINON  SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 15:46Israeli officials are strongly denying allegations that Israel planted surveillance devices in the proximity of the White House and in other sensitive locations in Washington, as was reported by Politico on Thursday."A blatant lie," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. "There is a longstanding commitment, and a directive from the Israeli government, not to engage in any intelligence operations in the US. This directive is strictly enforced without exception."Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who is also intelligence minister, also categorically denied the report."Israel does not conduct any spying operation in the US," he said in a statement. "The US and Israel share a great deal of intelligence information and act together to prevent threats and to strengthen the security of both countries."According to Politico, a US government investigation concluded that Israel was behind several devices that were uncovered in the past two years, most likely aimed at spying on US President Donald Trump, his closest circle and other government officials.The American paper added that the FBI and other agencies working on the case believe that Israel is to be blamed because of the high level of know-how and budget needed for the operation."You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who's been accessing them to pull the data off the devices," a former senior US intelligence official told Politico."It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible," another former senior intelligence official said.According to the paper, a number of so-called "StingRays" were found in DC. StingRays are phone trackers designed to track phones even when they are not being used to make a call.The report added that the Trump administration chose not to hold the Israeli government accountable."The reaction... was very different than it would have been in the last administration," an official told Politico. "With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this."(5) Trump accepts Israeli denial ‘I don’t believe’ Israel is spying on USBy Ronn Blitzer | Fox NewsSept 13, 2019Israel denies allegations it spied on President TrumpThe Israeli government is denying a new report accusing them of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House; Trey Yingst reports.President Trump on Thursday cast doubt on a report that the Israeli government may be spying on the United States, touting the enduring strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship.A Politico story based on interviews with former senior U.S. officials claimed that the government believes Israel planted cellphone surveillance devices in the nation’s capital over the past few years. Devices were reportedly planted near the White House and other locations. The report said the U.S., following a forensic analysis, determined that agents from Israel most likely brought them here."I don’t believe that. No, I don’t believe that the Israelis are spying on us," Trump said on Thursday evening from the South Lawn, before heading to a GOP retreat in Baltimore. "I find that hard to believe."Current and former Israeli officials pushed back hard against the Politico report on Thursday. Amos Yadlin, the former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, reportedly called it "fake news spiced with anti-Semitism," stating that Israel bans spying on the U.S.A reporter for Israeli newspaper Haaretz traveling with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his office was calling the report a "blatant lie." Like Yadlin, the office said the Israeli government has a directive not to engage in intelligence operations on U.S. soil.The president touted the strong relationship between his administration and Israel, specifically citing the establishment of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and harsh U.S. sanctions against Iran."I wouldn’t believe that story," Trump reiterated. "Anything’s possible, but I don’t believe it."Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.(6) John Bolton was Israel’s "Trojan horse" in the White House’s Exit Impacts US Foreign PolicyWritten by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR on 13/09/2019At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon in Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned against any rushed estimation that the exit of National Security Advisor John Bolton signalled a seismic shift in the Trump administration’s foreign policy.Pompeo said, "I don’t think that any leader around the world should make any assumption that because some one of us departs that President Trump’s foreign policy will change in a material way."One can go further and say it is futile to attribute logic to President Donald Trump’s actions. Most certainly, POTUS and his NSA were birds of the same feather in their shared disdain for multilateralism, the United Nations, international law, the European Union and even the western alliance system.Indeed, both Trump and Bolton are great believers in military force.Where the two differ narrows down to the alchemy of their hawkishness. If Bolton is the unvarnished tough guy, Trump is a reluctant tough guy.Trump views America as a country that just wants to be left alone. He has little interest in the Wilsonian project of spreading democracy and liberty across the globe. He’s against nation building. He couldn’t care less whether other countries are democratic. But when "animals" attack the US, Trump rejects virtually any moral limits on America’s response.Nuclear weapons? Well, Trump won’t rule it out. Bolton, in comparison, consistently believed in the utility of military force as a tool to proactively reorder the world in America’s interest. He was a fervent advocate of the Iraq War, and today, a decade later, he still advocates the same arguments on Iran. He advocated pre-emptively bombing North Korea.Now, Trump is no peacenik, either. He has boosted the US defence budget, torn up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, is militarising the outer space and is unabashedly spurring an arms race. But where he differs from Bolton is that his "hawkishness" is of a different kind.In a 2016 essay titled Donald Trump’s Jacksonian Revolt, the noted American strategic analyst Walter Russell Mead compared Trump’s foreign policy outlook with that of the 19th-century US president Andrew Jackson — in the sense that Trump believes strongly in the utility of force, but only if the US national security comes under threat, while remaining instinctively sceptical of the idea that the US needs to overthrow regimes in faraway lands in order to protect US national security.Fundamentally, Trump’s Jacksonian instincts and Bolton’s casual willingness to deploy force to reshape the world grated against each other. Situations such as North Korea, Iran and Venezuela found them crossing each other’s path, with Trump deeply reluctant to be dragged into war.Equally, Trump genuinely fancies diplomatic trophies (and the photo-ops) and prides himself as a master negotiator and deal maker. Despite his hawkishness, Trump instinctively wades into diplomacy in search of a masterstroke even without a compass to navigate him. Bolton irritated him often by muddying the waters.To be fair to Trump, he prioritises his foreign policy moves with an eye on his re-election bid in 2020 but Bolton had no such political compulsions. Bolton has nothing to lose in a new Middle Eastern war whereas it would be a reckless thing to happen in Trump’s scheme of things.Bolton was too hawkish for Trump’s calculus and the divergences over Iran and the negotiations with the Taliban probably culminated in their parting of ways.Having said that, Bolton is also not entirely incapable of grasping nuances in diplomacy. The influential Moscow daily Kommersant has written that Bolton left mixed feelings in the Russian mind.A senior Moscow pundit told the daily, "One thing that turned heads (during Bolton’s visits to the Russian capital) was that Bolton did not view Russia as the United States’ ‘natural’ adversary. He saw Russia as Washington’s potential partner in countering common enemies, mentioning Iran and China among them." Doesn’t that sound almost Kissingerian?However, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who knew Bolton rather well from his stint in New York as Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, has been quoted as saying, "Speaking on Bolton’s political views, we disagreed with him on most issues. He has a harsh style, and he relies on using heavy-handed methods, including military ones. As you know, he had put forward a number of initiatives on modern crises, such as in Venezuela, Iran and somewhere else."Lavrov stressed, "How will [Bolton’s dismissal] influence Russian-US relations? You know, I won’t be guessing. It is President [Donald Trump] who outlines US policy, and he has spoken many times in favour of normalising trade and economic, humanitarian and political ties between our countries and boosting cooperation on the international arena.""Will the US stance on some foreign policy issues change? Yesterday I heard Mike Pompeo saying at a news conference that the US foreign policy would remain unchanged. So, let’s just be guided by what really happens. And then we will understand whether there are changes or not." (TASS)In comparison with the Russian ambivalence, the Chinese commentators welcome Bolton’s ouster. A Global Times analyst noted, "Bolton has also never been of any good use to China. And he is clearly one of the players pushing China-US relations to a deep impasse."The one country that will regret Trump’s decision for sure will be Israel. Bolton was Israel’s "Trojan horse" in the White House. Israel watches uneasily as Trump lurches toward engaging Iran in negotiations.Typically, PM Netanyahu has been quick on his feet to stake claim for a consultation prize from Trump by declaring just as Bolton’s departure was announced in Washington, that he would annex Jordan River Valley, which is about a third of the occupied West Bank.The prospect of a meeting between Trump and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has distinctly improved with Bolton’s ouster. Tehran has consistently differentiated the "B Team" of hardliners manipulating Trump’s Iran policies — Bolton, Netanyahu and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.Bolton’s departure from the White House will enhance the flexibility of the US foreign policy. As Senator Rand Paul put it, "the threat of war worldwide goes down exponentially." We may expect the White House to put more emphasis on diplomacy.