John Bolton plans to fire dozens of White House officials


"Iraq was a waste of blood and treasure".

"John Bolton is a national security threat", declared Colin Kahl and Jon Wolfsthal, who were senior advisers to former president Barack Obama, in a stark commentary for Foreign Policy magazine.

Bolton, an attorney, diplomat, and general commentator, is well known for his super-war hawk stances, which he states emphatically on his BoltonPAC, but he is widely covered in the media as having explicitly promised to be compliant in his new position, and to carry out Trump's wishes.

Chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had been pushing Trump to get rid of McMaster and had been escalating their campaign in recent weeks.

Trump's instinctive affinity for Bolton's bellicose style will now be a feature of daily White House decision-making.

He forcefully argued that Iraq had WMDs - "we are confident that Saddam Hussein has hidden weapons of mass destruction", as he put in one 2002 speech.

"He's also a leading hawkish voice on North Korea". 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.

"The risks of a war with Iran or North Korea are now significantly greater than they were this morning", he says. According to a report in The Weekly Standard, Bolton told the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference: "The next step in the bilateral relationship with Russian Federation is for this administration to abrogate the New START Treaty so that we have a nuclear deterrent that's equal to our needs to prevent future conflict".

The North Korean government responded to his exclusion by saying "such a human scum and bloodsucker is not entitled to take part in the talks".

Journalists have reported often over the past year or so that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was a steady force at the White House who wasn't afraid to push back against the president on issues of foreign policy and engagement. If Trump's planned summit with Kim Jong-Un does not lead quickly to North Korea's nuclear disarmament he has a team that is more ready than his last to contemplate pre-emptive war.

One can assume the president approves of his new adviser's ideas on how to exit the Iran nuclear deal. But describing Bolton in that way is to praise him with faint damnation.

But if he and Trump bond, Bolton's America First philosophy could give shape and consistency to Trump's most reckless instincts.

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This is the ideological foundry in which Bolton's views were cast - and he is one of its most hardline products.

Donald Trump has repeatedly said the United States war in Iraq was a mistake.

Back in 1994 he was quoted saying the U.S. was the world's "only real power".

"Yes, John Bolton really is that risky", wrote an alarmed New York Times editorial board.

The Pentagon said it does not have an official comment to make at this time. But Bolton's background complicated his chances for Senate confirmation.

He has shown similar disdain for other multilateral institutions, including the International Criminal Court.

Yet officials said the president still has genuine respect for McMaster.

"With him as Nat Sec Adv, @POTUS will continue to keep America strong and secure".

But critics on both sides of politics have slammed the appointment.

There was discussion in the West Wing about replacing him last fall, but he ultimately survived because officials, including the President himself, were skeptical about the optics of appointing a third national security adviser in less than a year, several sources told CNN. "It is past time for Washington to bury this ineffective "carrots and sticks" approach", Bolton wrote in August in a Wall Street Journal op-ed calling for pre-emptive military strikes.

Many have referenced his 2013 tweet opposing the appointment of any former Bush administration officials.