Will John Bolton's hawkish views rub off on Trump?

Lucy Bush
March 24, 2018

Foreign Policy cited "sources" in its report, saying that Bolton and his staffers would be targeting "officials believed to have been disloyal to President Donald Trump, those who have leaked about the president to the media, his predecessor's team, and those who came in under [President Barack] Obama".

Trump and McMaster both released written statements thanking each other, with the president describing McMaster as an architect of his "America First" foreign policy. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. Bolton's pick rounds out a team that in Trump's second year will be composed nearly entirely of hawks whose publicly stated views about national security veer decidedly to the right.

The national security adviser is the person who makes sure the president hears the views of all the national security agencies, including the State Department and Defense Department, and drives policy toward a decision. "Mr Bolton's position on Russia", it declares, "that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation must have a strong response to the Kremlin-linked poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain is somewhat better than Mr Trump's".

"He has won many battles and his bravery and toughness are legendary".

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Environment Minister Ze'ev Elkin said that Bolton had been "unquestionably a friend of Israel for many years, including in his position as US ambassador to the U.N".

Bolton's appointment does not require Senate confirmation. While well aware of the huge casualties that such a war would bring to South Korea and Japan, he nevertheless insisted that the U.S. had no option but to carry out pre-emptive strikes on North Korea and set out several strategies up to and including a full-scale air war and invasion. While Mr. Trump has often threatened North Korea with military action, he accepted Mr. Kim's invitation to a summit, brokered by South Korea's president, who is eager for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis.

"The important thing is what the president says", Bolton said on Fox News late Thursday after news broke of his selection, declining to repeat his past bellicose rhetoric about North Korea, Russia or Iran. Recently, on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal and the airwaves of Fox News, he has emerged as a leading proponent of a preemptive strike on North Korea.

Left-leaning Israeli news website Haaretz was less enthusiastic, quoting 2016 comments by Bolton that the idea of two states, Israel and Palestine, existing side by side had "been dead for a long time", according to Reuters.

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Going to war in either of these cases would not only create unnecessary bloodshed, it would be disastrous for the United States and its allies, South Korea and Japan. Europeans, who widely support a 2015 deal to restrict Iran's nuclear program, fear its imminent demise. Negotiations between the United States and North Korea, given a new impetus by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim, need to be tested.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads Jewish Home, tweeted that Bolton was "an extraordinary security expert, experienced diplomat and a stalwart friend of Israel."Environment Minister Zeev Elkin of Netanyahu's Likud echoed his cabinet colleagues, telling Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM Bolton was "unquestionably a friend of Israel for many years, including in his position as United States ambassador to the UN".

Another unknown: how Bolton's world view and Trump's "America First" doctrine will intersect.

McMaster was Trump's second national security adviser after Michael Flynn was dismissed in 2017 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the US.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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