As had been predicted for some time, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is leaving his post as President Trump’s national security adviser. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton will replace General McMaster, effective as of April 9th.
Like President Trump himself, John Bolton is an iconoclast. He will bring a no-holds-barred attitude to his White House position as the president’s new national security adviser, taking on dictators, appeasers, globalists and bureaucrats alike.
Mr. Bolton indicated during an interview following the announcement of his appointment that, while he will not hold back from offering his candid opinions for the president’s consideration, he will also make sure that the president is presented with multiple viewpoints in helping him make key national security decisions. Moreover, he vowed to support whatever the president finally decides to do. Known as an infighter over the years against the foreign policy establishment bureaucracies, Mr. Bolton also said that part of his job will be “making sure the bureaucracies get the decision and implement it.” As reported by Foreign Policy, we can expect a “massive shake-up at the National Security Council, aiming to remove dozens of current White House officials, starting with holdovers from President Barack Obama’s administration.”
John Bolton shares the president’s America First instincts on such key foreign policy issues as North Korea, the Iranian nuclear deal, and entangling globalist institutions. Mr. Bolton will join C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s choice to succeed Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, in advocating a more assertive approach to national security. No wonder the left is so apoplectic with rage at the Bolton appointment.
The New York Times editorialized on March 24th, for example, that Mr. Bolton is a “dangerous” pick, “as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made.” The Times added that there are “few people who are more likely to lead the country into war, in more than one place.” The editorial cited a February 28th op-ed article that Mr. Bolton wrote for the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First.” In his article, Mr. Bolton presented a legal justification – not a policy recommendation – for a preemptive strike against North Korea to counter an “imminent threat” of a North Korean attack on the U.S. homeland with deliverable nuclear weapons. John Bolton is a realist, who with good reason does not trust the word of unstable dictators such as Kim Jong-un. However, he is not going out of his way to look for war. As he told Hugh Hewitt during an interview back in 2007: “Nobody should want a war on the Korean Peninsula.”
The New York Times also objected that John Bolton has “maligned the United Nations and other multilateral conventions, as Mr. Trump has done, favoring unilateral solutions.” Mr. Bolton is certainly no fan of those he called the “Globalists” (as opposed to the “Americanists” such as himself) in an essay entitled “Should We Take Global Governance Seriously?” published in 2000 by the Chicago Journal of International Law. Mr. Bolton noted quite correctly that global governance would impose “costs to the United States – reduced constitutional autonomy, impaired popular sovereignty, reduction of our international power, and limitations on our domestic and foreign policy options and solutions.”
Standing up first and foremost for America’s interests is a welcome change from decades of acquiescence to whatever other countries think, no matter what the cost. I was honored when Mr. Bolton’s office accepted a copy of my book Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom, while he was serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President George W. Bush. I started out my book noting Mr. Bolton’s remark, back in 1994, that nobody would notice the difference if we lost ten stories off the top of the United Nations headquarters building in New York. During his tenure as UN ambassador and ever since, John Bolton did not let up on his criticism of the globalist shrine adorning the East River of Manhattan and its far-reaching tentacles.
While serving as UN ambassador, for example, Mr. Bolton remarked to the Telegraph that the UN “is like a twilight zone. Things that happen here don’t reflect the reality in the rest of the world.”
In 2015, Mr. Bolton wrote an opinion column for the Boston Globe in which he said the UN is characterized “by speeches, meetings, reports, resolutions, and endless ways to spend money.” He added that “the UN’s political decision-making entities — the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the various ‘human-rights’ organizations — have largely been failures.” Mr. Bolton suggested that all U.S. financial support to the UN should be treated as voluntary rather than as mandatory assessments.
President Trump and his ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, share John Bolton’s critique of this mammoth out-of-control bureaucracy and the globalist ideology that underpins it. “We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism,” Mr. Trump said as a candidate in the spring of 2016. “The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down.”
Former President Barack Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with the Iranian regime (known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA for short) was the perfect example of how America’s national interests were sacrificed to “the false song of globalism.” As a candidate and as president, Mr. Trump has criticized the deal’s fundamental flaws and indicated a desire to exit the deal altogether if it could not be fixed. Likewise, John Bolton, writing and speaking as a private citizen, has been an implacable foe of the deal from the outset.
Commenting on Obama’s pursuit of the deal back in 2015, Mr. Bolton said that “President Obama is engaging in what I believe is the greatest display of appeasement from a president in history.” Finding a sympathetic ear with President Trump, Mr. Bolton urged the president to follow his instincts and take the U.S. out of the deal.
On August 28, 2017, Mr. Bolton wrote a column for National Review, entitled “How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal,” which he hoped would reach President Trump’s desk. Explaining a decision to exit the deal, he advised, would require the Trump administration to “stress the many dangerous concessions made to reach this deal, such as allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium; allowing Iran to operate a heavy-water reactor; and allowing Iran to operate and develop advanced centrifuges while the JCPOA is in effect. Utterly inadequate verification and enforcement mechanisms and Iran’s refusal to allow inspections of military sites also provide important reasons for the Administration’s decision.” There are other reasons as well, such as the Iranian regime’s development and launching of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons in violation of the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the JCPOA. The regime also uses funds made available to it as a result of the JCPOA to finance global terrorism.
President Trump was getting very different advice from key members of his national security and foreign policy team during the first year of his presidency. Both General McMaster and Rex Tillerson, along with Defense Secretary James Mattis, cautioned the president not to exit the Iranian nuclear deal. The president reluctantly followed their advice, but he was not happy about it. In January 2018, when the president once again waived reimposition of the sanctions that had been lifted as part of the JCPOA, he warned that it would be the last such waiver unless an agreement were reached to fix the deal to his satisfaction. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal,” President Trump said at that time. “And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately. No one should doubt my word.”
The president is clearly moving in the direction that his own instincts, urged on by John Bolton, are telling him to take. President Trump will next have to decide on waiving the sanctions in May. With Tillerson and McMaster gone, replaced by realists Pompeo and Bolton, it is far more likely than not that the president will make good on his word. Defense Secretary Mattis may still try to persuade the president to stick with the deal, backed by “deep state” bureaucrats in the State Department and elsewhere in the government. It is also unclear where Gen. John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, stands on the issue. However, the fact that President Trump chose to go with Mr. Bolton, no friend of the Washington establishment, as his national security adviser in the first place speaks volumes as to what the president is likely to do about the Iran deal in May.
John Bolton has spent his career fighting the globalists in and out of the U.S. government who are willing to sacrifice America’s best interests at the altar of global governance. The title of Daniel Greenfield’s Frontpage article last Friday says it best: “Trump’s Choice of Bolton Reflects American Greatness.”