The profile doesn't surprise, it reveals Bolton as the madman who wants to fix the entire world.
At one point he tells the interviewer, Graeme Wood:
I would describe myself as pro-American. The greatest hope for freedom for mankind in history is the United States, and therefore protecting American national interest is the single best strategy for the world.Note well, it is Bolton's view of "American national interest" that he is talking about here which is to pick a fight with pretty much every country that doesn't fall in line with U.S. demands.
Wood suggests that Bolton is setting up Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the fall guy when Bolton sabotages the North Korea talks:
He seems to have left North Korea to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But that is a tactical surrender...
“He’s going to make [North Korea talks] fail if he can,” another ex-Boltonite says. Bolton’s record with the North Koreans suggests that he would rather have Kim as an enemy than as the condo-developing, nuclear-armed friend Trump and Pompeo are trying to create. Bolton’s motives will also be professionally self-serving, says his ex-colleague: “Why should I break my pick fighting my boss over this? When it fails, I need someone to be the one associated with it instead of me.”Bolton is a skilful Machavelian operator according to Wood
Bolton will shiv not only his enemies but also his friends—is one reason nearly everyone is nervous about Bolton’s rise. The person in whom power has been consolidated knows every trapdoor, booby trap, and strategically placed banana peel in the federal government. He says he models himself on Scowcroft. Others say he is more like Kissinger (“but without the sentimental streak”)...Wood also informs:
In previous roles, Bolton gave career bureaucrats meaningless tasks to keep them preoccupied. He worried about the risks of having idle, undirected staffers who would usurp politicians’ power and claim it for an unelected bureaucratic class...
Or—and here the shiv flashes from its scabbard—he can call the meetings, for the sole purpose of sinking rivals. “He knows which memos have been written, by whom, and when, and he doesn’t bring up an issue unless he knows how it’s going to land,” says a Bolton acquaintance. “I’m sure when these principals’ meetings take place, he is trying to game it to get Pompeo to say this or that,” accidentally owning the failures and giving away the wins...
Notice a familiar rhythm: Trump says something, Bolton says he agrees, then Bolton reinterprets Trump to mean the opposite of what he said and pushes to implement his reinterpretation, presumably with Trump’s blessing...
His defense of “America first” was one such maneuver, twisting a slogan of Lindberghian isolationism into the interventionist foreign policy of John McCain. ..
Another example is the American exit, or non-exit, from Syria. In December, Trump announced, “Our boys, our young women, our men—they’re all coming back, and they’re coming back now.”...Mattis resigned in principled dudgeon, and wrote an open letter to Trump. Bolton moved more slyly. After a brief delay, he stressed the “consistent U.S. position on standing by the Kurds and those who fought with the U.S.” He added, “There is no change to the U.S. position against the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Any further use will be met by a swift, strong response.”
If the U.S. position were consistent, Bolton would not have had to describe it as consistent. But he seems to have achieved the delay in withdrawal that Mattis did not. In January, when Trump himself tweeted a revision of his previous promise, Bolton tweeted, “My thoughts exactly.”
Carl Ford, called Bolton a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy”—a terror to work for, but a groveler before power. Nevertheless Bolton knows a moron when he sees one. “John doesn’t suffer fools,” one acquaintance told me, speculating that his private meetings with Trump must be torture.-RW