Another troubling replacement on the Trump team

28 March, 2018, 01:23 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • John Bolton Changes US-North Korea Equation

Incoming national security adviser John Bolton, the third under President Trump's administration, reportedly has plans for a "massive shakeup" at the National Security Council that involves the removal of "dozens" of White House officials, according to a Foreign Policy report Friday.

Amid speculation about McMaster's fate CNN has reported that the three-star general has been in discussions with the Hoover Institution. McMaster 'will always remain my friend, ' the United States president tweeted. "But it's the job of the national security adviser to be the enforcer and to make sure that it happens".

The former ambassador is a foreign policy hawk who should play a significant role in the president's dealings with America's adversaries. (Twisting the intelligence to suit policy preferences is another hallmark of Boltonism.) The Republican national security dis-establishment, which includes Trump's new designee to be Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has militarized nonproliferation diplomacy, replacing it with heavier sanctions and confrontational postures based on threats to use force and the ultimate sanction - the use of force. Trump is scheduled to participate in trilateral talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May.

Bolton, 69, has been an especially outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear agreement. Two State Department officials and two Western diplomats in Washington said Friday that their offices are now operating under the assumption that Trump will nearly surely pull out of the Iran deal. Trump did it anyway.

Pompeo echoes Bolton. He wants to roll back "the disastrous deal" with Iran, and said previous year, on Fox News, that the only diplomatic option left with North Korea was "to end the regime". The story caused Trump to speed up McMaster's departure, the sources said.

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McMaster had told confidants he would leave the post if at any point he lost credibility on the global stage, according to three White House officials. According to the New York Times, McMaster chose to accelerate his departure, partly because rumors about his status were casting a shadow over his interactions with foreign officials.

The unusual thing is that Trump had already considered Bolton as national security adviser when first putting his cabinet together.

In a late Thursday statement, Bolton called the appointment "an honor", saying he looks "forward to working with President Trump and his leadership team" to "make our country safer at home and stronger overseas".

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The revolving door in the West Wing was swinging quite a bit this week. No suitable postings had been identified, leaving McMaster - long an iconoclast among the top brass - with no choice but retirement.

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Veteran Israeli diplomat Ambassador Yoram Ettinger told WIN, "The appointment of Bolton serves as a thundering message to the world that the U.S. is serious about overhauling and upgrading its posture of deterrence which was severely eroded during Bush's second term and during eight years of the Obama presidency". Bolton has cheered on, or been involved in, every one in the string failed US interventions and asked for more: Iraq, Libya, Syria and now, heaven forbid, Iran and North Korea. The national security advisor traditionally has little formal power and is supposed to be an "honest broker" of interagency decision-making.

And so, when Trump was debating whether to certify the Iran deal last summer, and was unhappy with advisers urging him to do so on substantive grounds, then-adviser Steve Bannon handed him a piece by Bolton urging him to decertify. What's really happening is that Trump is increasingly surrounding himself with advisers who are better than the "adults in the room" at manipulating his erratic and shifting impulses and whims, by giving a shape to them that he can accept and act upon.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton arrives for a meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York, Dec. 2, 2016. This, too, gave a shape to Trump's impulse that he will very likely find flattering, but also one that might move Trump towards Bolton's position.

Bolton is known around Washington political circles, and from his time as a Fox News Contributor, as being direct- though some would call him abrasive.

The military strategist, who joined the administration in February 2017, has struggled to navigate a tumultuous White House.

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