On April 9th of this year, former UN Ambassador John Bolton will replace Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as President Trump’s National Security Advisor. He will be the third person to become National Security Advisor in this administration – the first Advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn, was forced to resign over concerns that he lied to the FBI and had to be replaced by General McMaster. It appears McMaster resigned voluntarily, and given his previous record (briefly covered in a post I made last year) I suspect he’s leaving under much better circumstances than Mr. Flynn. The New York Times is reporting that McMaster split on fairly amicable terms with the president and is retiring from the Army altogether.
General McMaster led tanks into Iraq in the Gulf War as a young officer, and probably knows a thing or two about the cost of war. I don’t necessarily agree with the stuff he said, especially when he advocated for a limited “bloody nose” strike on North Korea, but it wasn’t difficult to see that he was a competent officer who at least cared about global security.
John Bolton, on the other hand, helped get us into the 2003 Iraq War (you know, the bad one), and spent his time in the Bush administration champing at the bit to invade Iran (you know, the large nation that borders Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, filled with mountains, a functioning military with air/land/sea presence, and a population of 81 million people who probably wouldn’t appreciate a U.S.-led invasion of their home). To this very day, Bolton claims he has no regrets about the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq and takes zero responsibility for the utter chaos that ensued, contradicting his former boss at the State Department, Colin Powell. Powell helped justify the invasion to the world, but today he publicly recognizes that his actions represented a massive intelligence failure based largely on groupthink and paranoia.
Bolton, undeterred by evidence that he helped create the greatest geopolitical shitstorm of the decade, has moved his focus from Iraq to his next target: Iran. To Bolton, a full-scale invasion with the goal of regime change is absolutely necessary to stop Ayatollah Khamenei from getting into an exchange of nuclear hellfire with Israel (which, fun fact, is armed with roughly a few hundred nukes, though they don’t admit it in public). Does it matter that an invasion of Iran would be ridiculously difficult, or that it would ruin 81 million lives and start a refugee crisis and a massive terrorist movement equipped with high-tech gear, or that it would blow a Neptune-sized hole in the deficit? Not to John Bolton. He’s not worried that regime change would go badly, because it worked so well the last time we tried.
Bolton’s friends in the Trump administration will point to his record as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and one-time Ambassador to the United Nations as proof that he is a qualified candidate to become National Security Advisor. They’ll probably leave out the fact that he helped start the Iraq War in his first major role, and that he failed to get Senate confirmation for UN Ambassador. Twice. That wasn’t just a result of a partisan hatred of Bolton, mind you. His immediate successor, Republican Zalmay Khalilzad, sailed through the Senate with ZERO opposition.
So where does that leave us? We have a National Security Advisor who has no regrets about championing the worst war in a generation in his first office, and twice failed to qualify for his second office. This man has demonstrated no capacity for introspection and taking responsibility for his dangerous past, and in just two weeks he will be able to whisper “hey let’s bomb iran lol” into President Trump’s ear.
What’s the worst that could possibly happen?
Vo lhwo cs iwudy gshw Samqcudo.