Written by David Lee
One of the latest departures from the Trump Administration is H. R. McMaster, the former national security advisor. He was actually the replacement for disgraced Michael Flynn, who due to lying about meeting with Russians holds the distinct dishonor of being the first official in Trump’s administration to get fired. (At least Flynn received a letter from Trump telling him the news rather than a tweet). The question is, who is now Trump’s new national security advisor? The answer is John Bolton. With his impressive moustache, he looks like a man fit for his job. But is he really qualified or is he just another one of those all talk but no action people? Surprisingly, he is more than qualified for his position, but his strong biases could pave the way for massive upheavals in American foreign policy, with consequences that could lead to war.To start off, John Bolton has the political ability and experience to put Donald Trump’s policies in action. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen. A Politico article states that Bolton is already well-known amongst politicians. The moustache is one defining factor of him, but his most distinctive trait is his persuasiveness. Bolton has preached his views since the late 1990s on nearly every major American foreign action, from the Iraq War to the Iran nuclear plan. Some credit him partially for helping the Iraq War happen. So what makes him “better” than McMaster? NPR writes that McMaster contributed heavily in making the America First plan and also translated much of Trump’s proposals into workable policy. Unfortunately, he was more of a behind the scenes guy. Although he could write good legislation, his efforts would be for naught if he couldn’t pass it. This is what Bolton promises to bring to the table. The concerns start with Trump’s policies themselves. The border wall is still mired in political argument and other plans have been shot down by Congress. If Bolton performs to his full capacity, American allies and rivals who previously laughed at Trump may now have to take him seriously.Of course, with Bolton, American foreign diplomacy is in for a wild ride. Obviously, the rift between America and our ally Mexico over the border wall is worrying. Bolton, with strong convictions not unlike Trump, could shake up relationships with other countries like what is happening with Mexico. According to The Independent, Bolton, who kept a defused grenade as a desk ornament during his tenure under President Bush, has a strong hatred for the United Nations. As he quote-unquote said in 1994, “There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that’s the United States, when it suits our interests and when we can get others to go along.” He also said that if the UN building lost 10 stories, no one would notice. While someone like Trump may agree with Bolton that the United Nations is unnecessary, others (namely, other members of the UN) will probably take offense. As Bolton’s role requires interaction with other foreign powers, he may not be the best choice for someone who can ensure diplomatic peace. In fact, during times of crisis, Bolton is prone to go in guns blazing. In an interview with the Seattle Times, four-star general Barry McCaffrey said, “Ambassador Bolton does not understand the terrible uncertainty that accompanies the use of our massive U.S. military power to deal preemptively with national-security threats.” This could potentially put US soldiers in tricky positions and cause unnecessary violence.What this means is that John Bolton could spark an all-out war. The New York Times reports that Bolton had been a strong advocate to destroy North Korea’s nuclear arsenal before it got too strong. It’s been some time since he said that, but if he decides that sending a nuke to North Korea is still viable (or something that will protect American national security), then North Korea could retaliate. According to CNN, if North Korea’s claims (among which is that they can bomb American interests like Guam and even the mainland itself) are even partially true, America is in huge trouble. However, war takes time and effort to instigate properly and it is usually never an easy option, which is why even with Bolton, war is unlikely. Let’s hope it stays that way.While John Bolton may seem like another official coming and going through the Trump administration, he’s actually got some skills that will make him a formidable and effective national security advisor, but with his bellicose, loose-cannon attitude, America could be thrown in the wrong direction.