Last night, President Trump announced that John Bolton, famed Fox News personality and former Ambassador to the United Nations, would be his new National Security Advisor.
I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Trump’s decision was sudden, but not unexpected. It’s been rumored for weeks that Trump was looking to replace H.R. McMaster, a general whom the President rarely saw eye-to-eye with. We knew the change was coming, it was just a matter of timing.
It looks like Trump thought now was the time to replace McMaster with someone more his speed. Here are five fast facts you need to know about John Bolton:
1. John Bolton is regarded as an aggressive voice on foreign policy and has made no bones about his desire to see America lead the world through its unquestionable military might. In the past, Bolton has supported U.S. military action in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Russia. He recently made the case in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that America would be justified in striking North Korea first, should the rogue nation continue to test nuclear weapons.
2. John Bolton once confessed to being glad he did not serve in Vietnam, writing in his Yale 25th reunion book, “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” Bolton had enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard for what many presume was a way to dodge the draft. He later explained his decision in his own book, writing, “by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from.”
3. Bolton has served numerous Republican administrations in various capacities, including Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He also attended Yale Law School with Clarence Thomas, now a Supreme Court justice.
4. Bolton’s hawkish views on foreign policy are widely known. But he’s not a “neoconservative,” according to Commentary editor John Podhoretz. “He’s a conservative full stop. Goldwater ’64,'” Podhoretz notes. What’s the difference between a neoconservative and hardline conservative? Hell if I know. But the neoconservative movement was started by a handful of followers of the communist philosopher Leon Trotsky. Bolton is, apparently, not among them.
5. Bolton, while controversial, is not seen as a spring chicken. In fact, he’s widely seen as a competent analyst of global affairs. In his 2001 Senate confirmation hearing, here’s what then-Senator Joe Biden said about Bolton: “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.
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