John Bolton is Getting Restless About China, Iran, and Russia Strengthening Ties

Former United States national security adviser John Bolton has been worried about China’s brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations.

In an interview on March 12, 2023 Bolton warned that the US can’t afford to be caught “sitting still” as China expands its influence on the world stage and strengthens its ties to other Eurasian countries such as Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

“We’re sitting still, and the Chinese, the Russians, Iran, North Korea, and several others, are moving to shore up their relations and threaten us in a lot of different places,” Bolton noted during an interview on a morning radio show in March 12.

Bolton’s worrisome remarks were made a few days after Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic relations and re-open their embassies  and diplomatic missions in the next months. 

This diplomatic breakthrough was largely hammered out in Beijing. In the joint statement issued by China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the latter two stressed the need to respect national sovereignty and eschew foreign interference. 

The two Middle Eastern countries came to an agreement on the implementation of a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and an additional agreement signed off in May 1998 to increase cooperation in the fields of economics, commerce, investing, technology, science, culture, sports, and youth affairs.

“It’s an indication that the Saudis and others are trying to hedge their bets with China and Russia, because they don’t think the United States has the resolve and the fortitude necessary to do what they need to do to protect the world against Iran and its intentions,” Bolton observed.

“The Chinese have a strategy they’ve been following,” he continued. “We kind of wander around from day to day.”

“One of the biggest winners of the war in Ukraine has been China,” Bolton proclaimed. “If Russia were to win, and at the maximum retake all of Ukraine, that would be a victory for China’s ally that would strengthen China as well.”

“But, frankly, if Russia continues to get chewed up in Ukraine, that just makes Russia more dependent on China,” he added. “So China wins there as well.”

Superhawks like John Bolton can’t fathom the idea of geopolitical multipolarity. They’re still stuck on the 1990s-style unipolar moment when the US could throw its weight around on the world stage with little to no pushback. However, the game has changed with China and Russia rising to the occasion and exerting their geopolitical will. 

If US policymakers can’t adjust to these new geopolitical realities, they will invariably sleepwalk into a geopolitical disaster of epic proportions.

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