In just over a year, John Bolton has become President Trump’s fourth National Security Advisor. He has a storied past, one that demonstrates a preference for confrontation rather than diplomacy and cooperation.
Bolton served as Ambassador to the United Nations under George Bush, where he was widely disliked at a time where Bush was trying to build alliances.
President Trump has often said he was against the war in Iraq. He has stated it was one of America’s biggest blunders. under President George W. Bush, Bolton was a chief advocate for the Iraq War. Worse, he can’t admit in hindsight the war was a huge mistake. “I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam [Hussein] was correct,” he told the Washington Examiner in 2015.
Perhaps drawing from his own experience as a failure in the negotiation process, Bolton prefers to strike first, and then try to negotiate. “I think obviously this needs to be done in a careful and prudent fashion,” Bolton said in 2008 of a strike on Iran. “But I think that the strategic situation now is that if we don’t respond, the Iranians will take it as a sign of weakness.” A year later in 2009, he added “A strike accompanied by effective public diplomacy could well turn Iran’s diverse population against an oppressive regime.”
About North Korea, in 2018 Bolton wrote a February 2018 Op-Ed segment in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Legal Case For Striking North Korea First.” One of his quotes was “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”
It’s thinking like this that led Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, to blast the prospect of John Bolton replacing General H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. “John Bolton was by far the most dangerous man we had in the entire eight years of the Bush Administration,” Painter tweeted last Friday. “Hiring him as the president’s top national security advisor is an invitation to war, perhaps nuclear war.”Tweet