John Bolton, who served as Donald Trump's national security adviser, has predicted that the former U.S. president will disregard Washington's deepening ties with Japan and other allies, as well as its like-minded partners, if he returns to the White House.

"He does not really think in policy terms," Bolton said in a recent interview with Kyodo News, claiming that Trump, the clear front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, prioritizes what benefits him "politically and economically."


"I think the general trend of his approach and foreign affairs is isolationist. So I'm very worried he would withdraw from NATO. I'm worried he would cut back on American alliances in the Pacific," Bolton said. "I think that'd be very damaging to the United States, not to mention to our allies."

Photo taken on Aug. 20, 2019, shows National Security Adviser John Bolton (R) listening as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media in the White House in Washington. (Getty/Kyodo)

Bolton said he does not want Trump to be the nominee and supports all the other candidates challenging the former president, although he recognizes they face an "uphill climb."

A variety of polls have shown that the United States is poised for a rematch between President Joe Biden and Trump, with some finding the incumbent is narrowly trailing his predecessor ahead of the November election.

During the online interview on Dec. 20, Bolton said he believes that 2023 was "the end of the post-Cold War period" and now the world is in a new era that is characterized by "the Chinese-Russian axis."

Unlike the Sino-Soviet alliance during the Cold War, he said "China is the dominant partner and Russia is the junior partner."

"This new axis is emerging as a global threat," said the 75-year-old, who served in the key post from April 2018 until he was ousted by Trump in September the following year due to disagreements over North Korea and other policy issues.

Screenshot shows former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton speaking during an online interview on Dec. 20, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Bolton pointed out that countries such as North Korea and Iran are part of the axis and "there are a lot of things moving together here."

He views Iran as the major reason behind the deteriorating situation in the Middle East since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war in October.

"I don't think Hamas woke up one morning and said, 'Let's attack Israel.' I think this is part of a bigger operation," said Bolton, who pushed the Trump administration to step up sanctions on Iran. "There's a bigger picture."

Referring to "the ring of fire strategy" around Israel, based on Iranian support for militant groups including Hamas and Hezbollah, he argued that the Biden administration is not approaching the situation strategically.

Bolton, a well-known hawk in Republican foreign policy circles for decades, said the administration of the Democratic president looks at the ongoing war simply in the context of the Oct.7 attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel and does not understand "the nature of the Iranian threat."

He also criticized the current administration's interest in reviving the nuclear deal with Tehran that Trump withdrew from in 2018.

The United States needs to take a harder line toward Iran, he said, adding a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, advocated by the Biden administration, was "not viable" even before the Oct. 7 attack.

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