Published:  12:25 AM, 19 September 2019

White House expels a war hawk

White House expels a war hawk

John Bolton was another ornament hanging in Trump's office. He is an American attorney, political commentator, Republican consultant, and former diplomat who was the 27th National Security Advisor of the United States from April 9, 2018 to September 10, 2019. In a pair of tweets, Trump said he had disagreed with much of Bolton's advice and had asked for his resignation. He resigned on 10 September 2019.

He was born on November 20, 1948 (age 70 years), Baltimore, Maryland, United States. He was United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the time of 2005-2006.

A war hawk who previously served as US ambassador to the UN in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton had led the administration's maximum pressure policy against Iran designed to cripple the country's economy and possibly bring down the ayatollah regime.

He is seen as the architect of the White House's hard-line policy toward Iran. His exit comes as Trump moves closer to direct talks with Iran after pulling out of the nuclear deal, and likely signals a shift in the administration's strategy toward a softer line with Tehran. Bolton was reportedly displeased that Trump indicated he was ready to meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran to renegotiate a nuclear deal.

He had been widely cheered by Israel's right-wing government, which had pushed the administration to abandon the nuclear deal and take a more hawkish stance toward Iran.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposed what he said was a former secret Iranian nuclear weapons development site, and urged the international community to join the Trump Administration in maximizing sanctions, sanctions, sanctions on Iran. Netanyahu said last week that now was not the time to talk to Iran, but also that he does not tell Trump who to meet with.

Bolton has deep ties to the mainstream pro-Israel community dating to his outspoken Israel advocacy during his stint as UN ambassador in the mid-2000s and to his pivotal role as a State Department official in the early 1990s in repealing the body's infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution.

Trump did not elaborate on what strong disagreements he had with Bolton, but reports said the two disagreed over the scope of a peace plan Trump hoped to extract from the Taliban in Afghanistan. Traditional conservatives who identified with Bolton were especially appalled that Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David to finalize the peace agreement.  Trump cancelled the peace deal.

 Bolton was always an unlikely pick to be Trump's third national security adviser, with a world view seemingly ill-fit to the president's isolationist "America First" pronouncements.

Inside the administration he advocated caution on the president's whirlwind rapprochement with North Korea and against Trump's decision last year to pull US troops out of Syria. He masterminded a quiet campaign inside the administration and with allies abroad to convince Trump to keep US forces in Syria to counter the remnants of the Islamic State and Iranian influence in the region.

He also led the administration's aggressive posture toward Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. Bolton was named Trump's third national security adviser in April 2018 after the departure of Army Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Trump's twists and turns with his policies towards Iran shows that he really doesn't know what he is doing. So many behind the curtain support went into making him the president, now the rest of the world is stuck with his ignorance. Bolton didn't know what he was doing either, the only difference was that he had a stupid moustache and loved NRA.

Bolton and the other national security advisers before him knew a lot more than Trump in general and as far as what they were doing. And that is the main reason why this idiot president fires just about everybody in most important positions in the administration - he cannot tolerate people with brain, ideas, and convictions. Just watch, Pompeo is on the clock.

Terrible news is for Israel. This is a real pity. Trump is all over the place, as his diplomacy with North Korea has shown. Nothing achieved beyond the symbolic. Trump seems to fire everyone who doesn't resign. No need to take it personally.

President Trump's national security adviser has been portrayed as a dangerous bully on the world stage. But now, he finds himself in an unusual role: adult in the room.  Bolton may think he is Machiavelli pulling the strings of power, but he has to know that Trump can have one more call with Erdo?an and it's over.

The announcement was a blow to Bolton, who months earlier had devised a Syria strategy that would keep U.S. troops in the country indefinitely as a bulwark against Iran. Soon after Trump's about-face, Bolton jetted to Israel and Turkey on a cleanup tour. His message: America's 2,000 troops would only leave after key conditions are met, including the Islamic State's total defeat.

Suddenly, a man once seen by Washington's foreign policy elites as a dangerous enabler of the president's worse impulses had taken on a surprising new identity: the adult in the room. It's an unfamiliar role for Bolton, who made his name in Washington as an uber-hawk known for his mastery of international legal arcana and his hair-raising calls for military action in places like Iran and North Korea.

The New York Times wrote that Bolton's diplomatic mission "reflected the disarray that has surrounded the president's decision," a widely held view that implicitly condemns his management of Trump's foreign policy. The media cast Bolton as working at cross-purposes with the president, trying to put Trump's withdrawal order back in the bottle even as the military announced it had already begun.

 "I am the national security adviser," he told in an interview. "I am not the national decision maker. And the privilege of being here about to advise the president gives me and other senior advisers the latitude to tell him what we recommend he do. But, ultimately, he is the one who makes the decision," Bolton said. "Nobody who has ever served in government at a senior level has any misunderstanding of whose views are actually going to control."

Together the mementos represent more than an isolated policy victory lap. They are realization of a 30-year career in which Bolton's fierce unilateralism, long seen by Washington foreign policy elites in both parties as fringy and dangerous, was then the beating heart of America's foreign policy under Trump. Since taking office, Bolton has quietly engineered a U.S. retrenchment from the international system from pulling out of international bodies, such as, the U.N Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court to scrapping arms-control treaties with Russia.

That's exactly what worries Bolton's detractors. "A lot of things happen without the involvement of the president, and the national security adviser sits on top of all that policy," said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama. "Bolton strikes me as someone with an incredibly ideological worldview, perhaps more than any national security adviser I can remember.

The concern I have is he is using the chaos of this administration and a president who is disinterested to advance his own ideological agenda by running roughshod over the agencies. With the smaller issues it may not be important, but on an issue like Iran, there is a potential for this to escalate very quickly."

But the ongoing whiplash over Trump's Syria policy is a reminder that Bolton is not perfectly in sync with the president. Who can be? Trump tries out ideas on advisers, friends and even guests at Mar-a-Lago before making decisions, only to change his mind on a dime. Often Bolton maade a judgment call based on what he thought was the direction Trump wants to go, asking forgiveness instead of permission.

 "Bolton may think he is Machiavelli pulling the strings of power, but John Bolton has to know that Trump can have one more call with Erdogan and it's over," says David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official who wrote Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power. "The system breaks down at Trump."

One sign that Bolton was relishing being back in the fray was the unusual amount of travel he was doing. On trips to places like Russia, the Middle East and Latin America, he made at times seemed more diplomat than White House adviser.

On late December Bolton's trip to Israel and Turkey, he travelled in a government 757 used by the vice president. For the first time in his tenure, Bolton took a group of reporters along with him. That was surprising: He is notoriously disdainful of Washington reporters who cover his work through a political lens.

But on his plane, dressed in khakis and a blue sweater, Bolton was relaxed and candid with the seven journalists aboard, including his longtime friend, conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt, even posing for pictures.

While in Washington Bolton is up at 3:30 each morning and in the office around 6 a.m. and attends the president's daily intelligence briefing, often working a 12 to 15-hour day. Aides say he has not taken a vacation in the nine months since joining the Trump White House. "The man is always working. Always," said Hewitt. "His capacity for focused work is like his capacity for information: apparently limitless."

Bolton is known for populating the administration with his allies and either sidelining or purging his detractors, who he maintains was not ideologically aligned with president. And he is unapologetic about his reputation as a bureaucratic infighter in pursuit of his policy goals. "John will never use a blunt instrument when a sharp, pointy one is available," jested a former colleague and longtime friend. It was meant as a compliment.


The writer is a senior citizen, writes on politics, political and human-centered figures,
current and international affairs

Leave Your Comments



Latest News


More From OP-ED

Go to Home Page »

Site Index The Asian Age