Search This Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Don’t Worry, Trump Will Not Trust John Bolton

Trump’s writings reveal his attitude toward selecting his subordinates
Among all Trump’s possible cabinet nominees, perhaps the one which has raised the most concern from many quarters (including Trump’s own transition team) is former Ambassador to the UN John Bolton
In the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Bolton played a leading role in lying and falsifying evidence of “weapons of mass destruction.” Bolton has been and still is a prominent chickenhawk advocating for war with Iran. And he has not been known for supporting better relations with Russia either – until now.
Remarkably, the US Senate appears to agree. Some senators are threatening to block Bolton’s potential nomination as Deputy Secretary of State even more strongly than they have Russia-friendly Rex Tillerson to be Bolton’s boss. That would replicate George Bush’s inability to get Bolton confirmed the last time around.
John Bolton, the mustache-sporting, Iraq War-cheering former United Nations ambassador, is possibly one of the least diplomatic diplomats ever to serve in the U.S. government. He has argued the U.S. should bomb Iran to stop its nuclear program, dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state and called the United Nations a “twilight zone.” […]
Already, Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentuckian with a libertarian bent, has threatened to block Bolton, a man he considers a warmonger. On Tuesday, Chuck Schumer, the incoming leader of the Senate Democrats, explicitly compared Tillerson and Bolton in a statement that clearly laid bare his preference, saying: “Mr. Tillerson’s worldview may not seem to be as dangerously interventionist as Mr. Bolton’s.”
Back in 2005, Bolton, who was serving as undersecretary of state for arms control, failed to get confirmed by the Senate when then-President George W. Bush nominated him as U.N. ambassador. Bush circumvented the process by appointing Bolton during a recess, but not before significant doubts were aired about him by Democrats and State Department colleagues.
If Trump does manage to get Bolton confirmed, his influence on Trump’s foreign policy is likely to be limited. Not only did he pass over Bolton for the top post at state, but Trump has shown no inclination to bend his views to be politically correct thus far.
Another clue is Trump’s philosophy for selecting subordinates. After recovering from near bankruptcy and the collapse of his finances in the 90s, in the early 2000s Trump wrote “Think Big” in which he offered this advice:
“DO NOT TRUST ANYONE,” reads one chapter subheading.”
I used to say, ‘Go out and get the best people, and trust them.’ Over the years I have seen too many shenanigans, and now I say, ‘Get the best people and don’t trust them.'”
There are a few reasons Trump might consider Bolton to be one of “the best people.” He shares Trump’s nationalism, support for Israel, and criticism of Iran (for better or worse). He also has previous state department experience, so he knows the system. This could make him a useful deputy for Secretary-designate Tillerson, who has never served in government and will have the career foreign service bureaucrats to contend with at every turn.
But when it comes to Russia, on which Bolton has an established record as a hawk until a recent change of heart, or even with his advocacy of further intervention in the middle east, Bolton may find neither Secretary Tillerson, nor “America First” President Trump eager to trust his counsel.

No comments: