Donald Trump named John Bolton, ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush, to the powerful post of National Security Adviser. Bolton is considered a major hawk who made the case recently for a pre-emptive strike against North Korea and who has ripped the Iran nuclear deal as a major blunder. (Two opinions also held by his new boss, President Trump.) Bolton replaces H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser.
Another world view Bolton shares with his boss is a highly critical assessment of Barack Obama‘s foreign policy. You don’t even have to open Bolton’s 2010 book, How Barack Obama is Endangering our National Sovereignty: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies to understand Bolton’s disdain for Trump’s predecessor. Here are 8 revealing quotes from Bolton’s books.
- Taking a Trump like pleasure in his enemy’s capitulation, Bolton quotes Joe Biden telling him at a confirmation hearing in 2001 for the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security: “My problem with you, over the years, has been, you’re too competent. I mean, I would rather you be stupid and not very effective.”
- Bolton admired failed presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, for whom he campaigned, not least because Goldwater said “My aim is not to pass laws but to repeal them.” (More Trump echoes.)
- Bolton proudly recounts being called “the Atticus Finch of Palm Beach County” by the RNC chair during the Florida recount/hanging chad affair that left the Bush/Gore election in limbo. (Finch is the protagonist of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird — and later her less loving portrait of Finch in Go Set A Watchman.)
- Like so many believers in rugged individualism, Bolton reveals that his father worked two jobs — as a firefigher and a machinist — to make an “adequate living.” Consequently, Bolton posits, his father was “not usually in a talkative mood.”
- Bolton was a huge factor in the repeal of the 1975 UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, a Soviet-influenced deal that in Bolton’s words “equated Zionism with racism” and was “a clear effort to delegitimize Israel.” Bolton reveals that by the end of his (and others) successful repeal efforts even “the Soviet Union voted to repeal the resolution it had inspired.” (Note: getting Russia to change its tune is on Bolton’s resume.)
- “During the Clinton years, I again wandered the political wilderness.” During this time as a VP of the American Enterprise Institute, he spoke and wrote often about “Clinton-era mistakes, which I thought would reduce America’s global influence and on challenges to American sovereignty, which I saw not in abstract terms.”
- “My own involvement in North Korea policy extended from 2001 to 2006. I struggled against inertia to put in place a tougher, more realistic policy, which culminated in two epic but successful battles in the Security Council. The worst happened after I left…”
- “In short, the Clinton policy and the Agreed Framework were classic illustrations of the delusion that a rogue state could be coaxed out of nuclear weapons, and were embarrassments to the United States.”