John Bolton’s inclusion in the Trump administration as Donald Trump’s new national security advisor is nothing short of a nightmare.
Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush, will be replacing General H.R. McMaster as Trump’s national security advisor, who replaced former “disgraced” national security advisor Michael Flynn. When the president struck a Syrian airbase in April 2017, it was McMaster who drew up and briefed Trump on the strike proposals, one of which was reportedly very extensive.
McMaster was also reportedly one of the main backers of a secret plan to give North Korea’s Kim Jong-un a “bloody nose strike,” a limited strike to dismantle its nuclear ambitions without risking an all-out war.
However, despite this, it appears McMaster wasn’t hawkish enough for Donald Trump’s needs. While McMaster publicly berates Iran and North Korea on a regular basis, he persistently warned against Trump’s plan to completely derail the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) formed with Iran in 2015. He also later denied the claims that the Trump administration was looking to deliver the “bloody nose strike” on North Korea, perhaps indicating he was not completely on board with the idea after all (or had decided otherwise at that particular juncture in history).
Enter John Bolton. Less than month ago, he wrote an op-ed article published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) entitled “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First” — an idea so bad, it seems, that about a week later, the WSJ published a counter viewpoint simply entitled “Striking North Korea First Is a Bad Proposal.”
In Bolton’s short-sighted op-ed — aside from the fact that he offers no real legal analysis at all ( those who do consider it a legal analysis must explain why the argument of preemptive self-defense applies to the U.S. but not to North Korea, which faces American aggression near its borders on a routine basis) — it’s also quite telling that he relies on the evidence of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who alleged in January that Pyongyang was only “a handful of months” away from being able to strike the American mainland with nukes.
It is no coincidence that next in line for Donald Trump’s secretary of state position is Pompeo himself. Together, Bolton and Pompeo will be able to advise Trump on anti-North Korean and anti-Iranian platforms so hawkish there is no telling what’s to come (though we have a fairly decent idea).
As some of you may know, Bolton’s hawkishness has already led to some of the most despicable foreign policy agendas of our generation.
“We are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction and production facilities in Iraq,” Bolton famously said in 2002 while serving as President George W. Bush’s undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security. He also called Hussein a “threat to the region” and claimed he needed to be “disarmed.”
“But the end of the story is clear here. And if Saddam Hussein does not co-operate we have made it clear this is the last chance for him…I think the Iraqi people would be unique in history if they didn’t welcome the overthrow of this dictatorial regime,” he added.
Even when this rationale for invading Iraq and destabilizing an entire region turned out to be one of the worst editions of “fake news” ever to sting the planet, in 2015 – some 12 years later – Bolton still claimed the Iraq War was worth it and said that, conversely, the worst decision involving Iraq was the “2011 decision to withdraw U.S. and coalition forces.” In 2016, he then changed his mind to say that the only mistake of the Iraq War was that the U.S. did not get rid of Saddam Hussein sooner.
If Bolton leads the cheers to invade Iran or North Korea, who will hold him accountable?
Apparently having learned no lessons at all from the criminal invasion of Iraq, Bolton also wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” in 2015. He made it quite clear that “only military action” could accomplish what was required to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In Bolton’s eyes, the JCPOA doesn’t cut it.
He also openly called for the assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, only to later condemn the Obama administration for doing just that (an invasion is bad if a Democrat does it, and vice versa, of course, depending on who you are running against).
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