With President Trump’s announcement of the nomination of former UN Ambassador John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor, Americans tired of endless wars despaired for the future with the addition of a notorious hawk to an administration already hell-bent on provoking regimes from North Korea to Iran.
The announcement was met with nearly universal condemnation by political analysts, with The Washington Post publishing an editorial entitled “Reaction To Bolton: Stunned, worried, horrified.”
It was The New York Times, however, that took the prize for the most alarmed reaction to the news. Consider the opening paragraphs of their editorial titled “Yes, John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous.”
“The good thing about John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, is that he says what he thinks.”
“The bad thing is what he thinks.”
“There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made so far.”
As Trump continues to rid the White House of any experienced personnel who might act as a restraining influence on his own worst impulses, the addition of the former Bush administration veteran brings the wrong kind of experience to the table, someone who will push the president into bad decisions rather than preventing them from being made.
The Times cites Bolton’s belief that “the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law, treaties or the political commitments of previous administrations” as proof that he will indulge the president’s worst nationalistic impulses.
They also refer back to his calls for a preemptive strike on North Korea and for a withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal as indications of how his dangerous views can push the country into the kind of military adventurism that leads to : unneeded deaths and vast destruction.
Bolton, like Trump, disdains diplomacy and is a proponent of unilateral action by the United States, even if that action may have horrendous consequences for our ostensible allies, as any military strike on North Korea would have for the people in South Korea.
Unfortunately, the role of National Security Advisor that Bolton is being appointed to does not require any sort of Congressional confirmation, so there is little anyone can do to prevent it at this point.
Given the warning in closing paragraph of The New York Times’ editorial:
“Mr. Bolton is certain to accelerate American alienation from its allies and the rest of the world. Congress may not be able to stop his appointment, but it should speak out against it and reassert its responsibilities under the Constitution to authorize when the nation goes to war,”
One has to worry that relying on Congress to step up to prevent another bloody decade of war is a foolhardy and depressing proposition.