The bombshell news came as it always does, with a thundering Donald Trump tweet:
I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
The reaction to the former Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, becoming Trump’s third national security advisor in fourteen months, was met with concern by many in the press. Bolton, “whose shock-white handlebar moustache gives him an unmistakeable Asterix-like appearance” is rightly loathed by many on the progressive left.
As one commentator noted in the New York Times: “First, H.R. McMaster and John Dowd are out. John Bolton and Joseph diGenova are in. The common theme: President Trump is replacing advisers who tried to moderate him with those who play to his worst impulses.”
Vox added that “In his second year, Donald Trump is building a more extreme, confrontational presidency.”
The Guardian contended “In the febrile days after Donald Trump’s election, one of the more terrifying prospects was the appointment of John Bolton to a senior position in the incoming administration. Bolton is the hawk’s hawk, the neocon’s neocon”.
Well now it has happened. The terrifying prospect has happened. Bolton’s appointment will make the headlines for those who worry it will fuel Trump’s worst impulses for a full on confrontation between the US and Iran and the US and North Korea.
But it is also bad news for those who thought that Trump might re-consider pulling out of the UN Paris Agreement. When Trump signalled he was pulling out of the Paris agreement last year, Bolton said he thought it was a great idea: “The Paris accord is a self-licking ice cream cone. Its purpose is to exist,” he said, before adding that “The overall effect on climate by any reputable scientific analysis is zero.”
“The overarching, constitutional question was, ‘are we going to govern ourselves here or are we going to cede governance authority to international organizations,’ and that’s what’s been rejected” said Bolton.
It is also worth remembering that Bolton was “a leading advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq”, who said once said: “The critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.” So the hawk Bolton wanted to invade Iraq for oil, like many critics always argued.
As Trump goes deeper into dangerous territory with Bolton’s appointment, anyone who is concerned about international peace and security should be seriously worried. And if you care about climate change you should be deeply alarmed too.