I’m sorry to see him go, one of the original ‘swamp drainers’ from years ago, just listen to his opinion on the State dept., the UN in general, international law…
by Mark Steyn
On the eve of the annual 9/11 observances, America’s National Security Advisor John Bolton was either fired (per Trump) or resigned (per Bolton). The dispute is being portrayed as one between a Bush-era neocon and an “America First” Trump. But that is something of an over-simplification. As I wrote upon Bolton’s appointment a year and a half ago:
Bolton is viewed with suspicion as a ‘neocon’, which is not a term of much practical use these days. But then so was his predecessor – H R McMaster. So the substitution might be of no more significance than a neocon whom Trump likes the company of taking the job of a neocon whom Trump finds a bit of a cold fish. There may be a little more to it than that: McMaster was complacent, and conventional to a fault; Bolton is a realist, and harder-headed about the illusions of mankind. Beyond that, McMaster belonged to the group of foreign-policy panjandrums who expected Trump to move towards them; Bolton has moved towards Trump.
And, having moved towards Trump, he came to have ever more reservations about what he found there. Whatever the President now says, at the time Bolton’s appointment was a Trump choice reflecting a desire to regain control of an administration in danger of being neutered by the GOP establishment:
At this stage the Gullible Old Pussies of the Republican Party are pretty much openly advertising that giving them control of the House, the Senate and the White House is the equivalent of giving Yosemite Sam three sticks of dynamite to shove down his pants – with the additional nicety that this time round they’re actively flipping the finger at their president’s bedrock issue. I reiterate the point I first made on the radio a year ago: On January 20th 2017 Trump should have taken all those showboating showbiz no-shows at face value and held a businesslike inauguration at the southern border while laying the first brick. The brick remains unlaid – not because Vicente Fox refuses to ‘pay for Trump’s f**kin’ wall’ but because Paul Ryan does.
I’ve given up trying to discern ideological themes in Trump’s firings and hirings: as far as I can tell, it’s mostly about people he likes to hang out with – until he decides he doesn’t. In the case of John Bolton, I first met the new National Security Advisor a decade and a half or so back, in a roomful of European prime ministers and foreign ministers. He delivered a line that stunned the joint:
International law does not trump the US Constitution.
I was standing next to the Finnish Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, who had a genuinely puzzled looked on his face and eventually inquired of me: “He is making a joke, no?”
No. Since then, I’ve interviewed him at Fox a couple of times and passed him in the green room on many others. Once, when I was guest-hosting, he talked very amusingly about “the European Unionization of the world”, and I got a laugh out of him with a couple of Herman van Rompuy cracks. Off-air on on another occasion, during a break in “Fox & Friends” and after the Perth Declaration on proposed changes to the Succession to the Throne in Commonwealth realms, he asked me, seriously, what the governments of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands made of the end of male primogeniture: it surprised me – not because he was interested in the topic so much as that most commentators would be so entirely unaware of the topic as to not even know they were entirely uninterested in it.