Uh-oh, the liberals are having a conniption. They’ve decided that President Trump ousted General McMaster and brought in Ambassador John Bolton because he is assembling a war cabinet. After all, Bolton has a reputation as a saber-rattler and there were stories (sadly on the conservative side) that McMaster fought against Trump’s pro-Israel policies, supports the Iran deal, thinks Trump was too hard on North Korea and not hard enough on Russia.
Allow me to start with the McMaster rumors. NONSENSE!
We’ve has twice addressed McMaster’s strong relationship with Israel in these columns. He was one of the authors of the president’s strategy announced in October that he was not going to recertify the Iran deal and giving the lousy deal’s supporters in Congress and in Europe six months to make it better before the U.S. pulled out.
A Wall Street Journal editorial after the president announced the personnel switch, praised McMaster for helping the Trump maneuver through the North Korean crisis. As far as Russia goes, McMaster’s policy before the 2016 election was to rethink the way the U.S. military approached Russian aggression without getting the nation into World War II, -but he did not eliminate the possibility of talks.
So why is McMaster out and Bolton in? It isn’t ideology, because McMaster’s take on most issues is probably closer to the president’s than Bolton’s. It’s really a matter of style. McMaster is an incredibly talented strategist; however, his style is too verbose for this president. As the Washington Post suggested, “The president has complained that McMaster is too rigid and that his briefings go on too long and seem irrelevant.”
As for Bolton, he was chosen for a few reasons. Bolton’s style is very direct and bottomline. Trump knew that if he was going to replace McMaster it would be best if he did it with a well-known name, to calm down the claims of chaos. And finally, while it’s true that the ambassador is more “hawkish” than the general, despite what the liberal media claims President Trump likes to be challenged with differing positions (just as long as the challenger understands that once the president makes his decision it’s time to fall in line).
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month, Bolton outlined a legal case for attacking North Korea before it can develop the capability of a first strike against the U.S. His argument wasn’t far removed from that of the president, who promised that rocket-man would not be allowed the ability to put a nuclear weapon atop a missile that can reach American territory or the territory of our allies.
Over the past year, Bolton has periodically visited the White House to advise the POTUS. Those visits built a relationship.
Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, a think tank founded by former President Nixon, said he believed that Trump and Bolton have “jelled” through conversations over the past year and predicted Bolton could be a forceful presence in the West Wing.
“Trump likes someone who will tell him straight how it is,” Kazianis said. “I don’t think Trump would have brought him in as national security adviser if he didn’t think it would work out. It could be a very strong marriage, where Bolton serves out the whole tenure of the administration.”
Bolton certainly has the credentials for the position, having served as undersecretary of state for arms control and United Nations ambassador during the Bush administration. The only issue where he diverges from the president is that he was an early advocate for the Iraq war, which Trump has severely criticized.
Like his domestic policy, Trump’s foreign policy is based on the idea of “America first.” That doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in military intervention to promote democracy and nation building, but that will he will only commit new forces when America or our close allies are is in danger. The liberals need to calm down because the bottom line is no matter who the national security advisor this president is not going to be bullied into a military action that isn’t crucial to protect America and her allies.
Bolton is not the shoot first ask questions later type that has been portrayed in the liberal media. He does hate the Iran deal (as does the president), but in a detailed National Review essay in August 2017, Bolton advocated for dumping the JCPOA but only after an extended diplomatic effort
It’s been much easier for Bolton to rattle sabers as Fox commentator with two minutes to be controversial and make an impression, than it will be as a national security adviser who makes recommendations that could be the difference between war and peace, life and death. Bolton is a smart man who understands his role.
I was and remain a big fan of McMaster, who served this country honorably for 34 years. But if he was going to be replaced, John Bolton, who was described by Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island as “ridiculously knowledgeable,” is a perfect choice. He will be an asset to the administration, and more importantly, to the security of the United States.