CLOSINGS: View Closings

Bolton's move to White House signals a more hawkish turn

John Bolton promised President Donald Trump that "he wouldn't start any wars" if he were hired to be the third nation...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 11:19 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 11:19 AM

John Bolton promised President Donald Trump that "he wouldn't start any wars" if he were hired to be the third national security adviser at the White House in just 14 months -- a claim that generated skepticism across Washington.

Bolton, a hawkish neoconservative, has advocated war with Iran and a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, and remains an unapologetic supporter of the Iraq War despite the flawed intelligence used to justify the US invasion.

So the claim that Bolton would avoid conflict, described to CNN by a source familiar with negotiations between the President and the former ambassador to the UN, raised eyebrows when news broke Thursday that Trump was ousting H.R. McMaster and replacing him with the 69-year-old Baltimore native.

For many, the concern is that the appointment of Bolton -- exactly the kind of advocate for US overseas intervention that Trump pilloried on the campaign trail -- marks a belligerent turn for the Trump administration that could doom attempts to save the Iran nuclear deal, increase the possibility of a clash with North Korea and ratchet up tensions with Moscow.

Bolton drew praise from some Republican senators, including South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, who said the Yale law school graduate will do "an outstanding job," but a veterans group called the appointment "frightening" and advocacy groups warned that Trump was assembling a "war cabinet."

The anxiety is as much about Bolton's track record -- a disdain for diplomacy, a thirst for military adventures and accusations that he manipulated intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq War -- as it is about the role that he will now play in shaping US foreign policy.

The national security adviser's job is to act as a synthesizer of security issues across the administration, coordinating and summarizing for the commander in chief the various policy suggestions that come from the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies.

A national security adviser offers his or her own analysis, and then conveys the president's policy decisions back down the chain and makes sure they're carried out.

But many express doubt that Bolton is wired to put aside his own views and offer the kind of impartial summary of diverse policy views that would help a president weigh all options, instead of emphasizing the more hawkish positions he prefers.

"I think my long-standing hope for a fix to the Iran deal just died," Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a longtime critic of the international pact, tweeted Thursday. "Time of death: Afternoon of March 22, 2018. Now what?"

Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, said, "Ambassador Bolton's stated positions on today's major issues, most notably North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs, are overly aggressive at best and downright dangerous at worst."

"Let there be no mistake -- there is no war for regime change, anywhere, that John Bolton wasn't for," said Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran who serves as chair of VoteVets. "We are undoubtedly closer to a war in Korea now, and a war with Iran, with John Bolton as national security adviser and with Mike Pompeo as the nominee for secretary of state."

Some foreign policy analysts reported that the concern extends to US allies.

"I've spent the past week in Seoul and Tokyo," Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia Program at the Kissinger Institute, said in a tweet. "One question they raised repeatedly was if Bolton will be appointed" as national security adviser. This question, Denmark said, was "always asked with a mix of incredulity and dread. Asian allies will worry this indicates diplomacy is a farce and that military action is more likely."

A rumpled dresser with a walrus mustache and a cantankerous manner, Bolton was in the running to be Trump's secretary of state and since then has made visits to the West Wing every few months to discuss foreign policy and national security.

He'll start his new job on April 9 with deep experience, having served in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Along the way, though, he drew accusations that he had manipulated intelligence on weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq War, kept information from Secretary of State Colin Powell and was abusive to subordinates with differing views at the State Department, where he served as the undersecretary for arms control.

Among neoconservatives, Bolton is admired for his dismissal of the UN and his promotion of the US as the world's sole significant power.

To that end, many see a welcome rigor ahead in the way the Trump administration will approach potential talks with North Korea and ongoing skirmishes with Russia, which intelligence officials say continues to try to interfere in US elections.

Harry J. Kazianis, director of Defense Studies at The Center for the National Interest, said Bolton's hire "is bad news for those who were hoping the Iran deal would somehow survive. That deal is RIP as of right now."

Kazianis also sees an unyielding approach to North Korea and the planned summit meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un in May. "Bolton will not tolerate any sort of games from Pyongyang," Kazianis said, referring to Pyongyang's pattern of demanding economic concessions in exchange for talks. "If the North Koreans ask for bribes or incentives to talk, look for the administration to snap to an even harder line -- think maximum pressure on steroids," he said.

And on Russia, despite Trump's repeated conciliatory tone toward President Vladmir Putin, Kazianis predicts that, "the appointment of John Bolton might be Moscow's worst nightmare."

Bolton himself spent Thursday insisting through intermediaries and in an interview with Fox News, where he has worked as a commentator, that while he has strong views, he would channel only the President's wishes and "absolutely go along with Trump."

In the interview with Fox, Bolton said his past comments are now "behind me" and what matters is "what the President says."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 270157

Reported Deaths: 3297
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin579261084
Ramsey24528470
Anoka19211213
Dakota18738176
Washington12351104
Stearns1200389
Scott735654
St. Louis712297
Wright646135
Olmsted604730
Sherburne499538
Clay435954
Carver397312
Blue Earth367011
Rice350331
Kandiyohi337613
Crow Wing306729
Nobles293828
Chisago27778
Benton256338
Otter Tail251415
Winona240928
Mower232822
Polk222221
Douglas211929
Morrison207521
Lyon189810
McLeod18089
Beltrami177115
Goodhue173126
Becker16769
Itasca165223
Steele16396
Todd161412
Isanti159115
Carlton148310
Nicollet144523
Freeborn13625
Mille Lacs129030
Le Sueur12899
Waseca128710
Pine11625
Cass11538
Brown112610
Meeker10117
Martin97020
Roseau9443
Hubbard92822
Wabasha8961
Dodge7770
Watonwan7604
Redwood75118
Chippewa7437
Renville68818
Sibley6844
Cottonwood6800
Wadena6706
Pipestone65618
Aitkin64722
Rock6259
Houston6012
Fillmore5910
Yellow Medicine55310
Unassigned52756
Murray5173
Pennington5076
Kanabec49711
Swift4835
Faribault4650
Pope4620
Stevens4342
Clearwater4156
Marshall4047
Jackson3981
Lake3463
Koochiching3275
Wilkin3175
Lac qui Parle3123
Lincoln3081
Norman3006
Big Stone2711
Mahnomen2404
Grant2256
Red Lake1833
Kittson1786
Traverse1190
Lake of the Woods821
Cook570

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 210482

Reported Deaths: 2173
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk31270322
Linn13252158
Scott1022075
Black Hawk10209126
Woodbury9870111
Johnson900835
Dubuque866490
Story637819
Dallas595555
Pottawattamie574666
Sioux349925
Webster330928
Marshall327841
Cerro Gordo323041
Clinton303637
Buena Vista290214
Muscatine266964
Des Moines266116
Plymouth257937
Warren254610
Wapello239971
Jones221112
Jasper202739
Marion191518
Carroll188220
Lee188015
Bremer176012
Henry16847
Crawford168215
Benton157414
Tama145140
Jackson13608
Delaware134721
Boone127711
Washington126513
Dickinson126210
Mahaska119027
Wright11425
Buchanan10789
Page10774
Hardin105810
Clay10434
Harrison101428
Clayton10084
Cedar98913
Hamilton9877
Mills9806
Calhoun9787
Fayette9588
Lyon9458
Floyd92614
Kossuth9214
Poweshiek91512
Butler8943
Winneshiek88910
Winnebago87423
Iowa86711
Louisa79916
Hancock7947
Chickasaw7853
Grundy77310
Sac7617
Cherokee7484
Cass73519
Appanoose7336
Shelby7184
Allamakee71111
Mitchell7074
Emmet70123
Guthrie69215
Union6866
Franklin67619
Humboldt6495
Madison6414
Jefferson6121
Palo Alto6044
Unassigned5810
Keokuk5237
Pocahontas5072
Howard4999
Osceola4941
Greene4860
Clarke4564
Ida42810
Monroe42812
Montgomery42610
Davis4225
Taylor4162
Adair4066
Monona3912
Fremont3432
Worth3330
Van Buren3294
Lucas3056
Decatur2950
Wayne2836
Audubon2811
Ringgold1832
Adams1521
Rochester
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 26°
Mason City
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 24°
Albert Lea
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 23°
Austin
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Charles City
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Colder Monday, Rain & Snow Tuesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean's Weather 7/23

Image

Holiday cooking safety for Thanksgiving

Image

Turkey farmers adapting to the pandemic for Thanksgiving

Image

Jefferson Elementary students sending messages of hope

Image

Salvation Army needs support

Image

Rep. Bennett on restrictions

Image

Christmas drive for foster children

Image

Sunday weather

Image

Nupa responds to new COVID-19 restrictions

Image

Saturday Weather

Community Events