As far back as 1998, three years before 9/11, John Bolton was pushing for an invasion of Iraq. He finally got his wish, and the resulting war became one of the worst foreign policy disasters in American history. Now, Bolton will be national security adviser to the worst presidential disaster in American history.
This Thursday, President Trump announced that his outgoing NSA H.R. McMaster will be replaced by Bolton, effective on April 9.
“I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend.”
McMaster’s resignation, which has been speculated about for some time now, comes the heels of another top White House national security team member’s exit. Just last week, Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
As Trump enmeshes himself in high-stakes foreign policy entanglements with North Korea, the war in Syria, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions among others, the entry of Bolton has many worried that his hawkish ideology will draw the U.S. deeper into conflicts around the world.
According to Gareth Porter of The American Conservative, Trump’s pick of Bolton heightens the likelihood of a war with Iran.
Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy.
Porter argues that Bolton’s Iran stance isn’t just rhetorical.
Bolton actively conspired during his tenure as the Bush administration’s policymaker on Iran from 2002 through 2004 to establish the political conditions necessary for the administration to carry out military action.
Now, it looks like he’s going to get another shot.
Ironically, one of Trump’s main talking points during his run-up to his presidency was how much of a “disaster” the Iraq war was, repeatedly claiming that he was against the Iraq war before it was cool. During a speech in April of 2013, Trump tried to take a stance that broke with the hawkish wings of his party.
Numerous times, Trump tweeted that “we should never have gone into Iraq.” And then there’s this tweet from 2013:
All former Bush administration officials should have zero standing on Syria. Iraq was a waste of blood & treasure.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013
It’ll be interesting to see how Bolton shapes Trump’s Syria policy now.
Featured image via Flickr