Reports that John Bolton met with President Trump in the White House on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of him succeeding H.R. McMaster as national security adviser should send a chill down the spines of every American — and indeed of every person on the planet.
In a country with a less bellicose foreign policy establishment, Bolton would be considered a warmongering lunatic. But America’s foreign policy establishment inclines toward reflexive militarism (on the grounds that American bombs, troops, and special operations forces are invariably a force for good in the world), and so Bolton comes off as merely somewhat more unhinged than his peers. But that shouldn’t blind us to the enormous danger confronting us all if he were to ascend to such a powerful position in the Trump administration.
Bolton thinks that war — by which I mean everything from the launching of missiles to the deployment of ground forces to foreign theaters of battle — is the solution to every problem the United States confronts in the world. That is not an exaggeration. I challenge readers to find any statement Bolton has made against any American act of war at any time anywhere. And no, Bolton’s harsh words for the Obama administration’s plans for a limited air strike against Syria in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the country’s civil war doesn’t count, since the criticism amounted to the argument that the bombing would be too limited in scope.
The pattern goes all the way back to the Vietnam War, which Bolton supported as a young man (while personally avoiding deployment to Southeast Asia by joining the Maryland National Guard). Like most Republicans, he supported Ronald Reagan’s confrontational stance against the Soviet Union and George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War to turn back Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. During the Clinton administration, he advocated military interventions in the Balkans and the use of force to topple Saddam Hussein. He strongly advocated for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as recently as 2015 defended the latter as the “correct” decision, despite our failure to find the weapons of mass destruction that were Bolton’s primary reason for supporting the war in the first place.
Along the way, he also tried to assimilate Cuba into the “axis of evil” by accusing the country (on the basis of intelligence that was later debunked) of developing biological weapons and distributing them to Libya and Syria. He later advocated the targeted assassination of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and then backed the Obama administration’s military intervention there (which of course didn’t stop him from blasting the Libyan action after it had devolved into Iraq-like chaos as “too little, too late”). He thinks the U.S. should have invaded Syria and overthrown Assad shortly after the Iraq invasion of 2003, just as he’s made clear over and over again that he thinks it would be a splendid idea for the U.S to bomb Iran — and perhaps …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics