Monday, November 19, 2018

The Neocon in Charge

John Bolton 
The Wall Street Journal reports on a very dangerous operator in the White House:

Soon after taking the helm as President Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton installed a gold-framed painting of President George H.W. Bush sitting at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by his vice president, national security adviser and the secretaries of State and Defense as they discussed plans to invade Iraq in 1990.

The painting, which hangs above Mr. Bolton’s West Wing desk, serves as a symbol of his approach to the job, seven months in. He favors high-level, small group, centralized decision-making.

Mr. Bolton, who turns 70 years old Tuesday, has pared back the number of people accustomed to playing a bigger role in important national security debates and has convened fewer meetings than his predecessor of the White House “Principals Committee”—made up of Cabinet-level, national-security officials. Instead, he confers regularly over breakfast or lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and has frequent one-on-one audiences with the president...

Mr. Bolton’s ability to shape Mr. Trump’s priorities and pursue his own causes have given rise to a new nickname among some critics: President Bolton...

Mr. Bolton has animated the president’s “America First” national-security agenda, overseeing Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from former President Obama’s nuclear-containment deal with Iran...

[N]ot an issue Mr. Trump had focused on until Mr. Bolton arrived—and getting out of a landmark nuclear-arms treaty with Russia.

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