Terry H. Schwadron
Sept. 11, 2019
Man, it is very hard today feel bad for John Bolton, the uniquely pro-war blowhard with a lifetime of offending allies and enemies, creating and promoting problems where there were none, and pressing for sending American troops all over the world and who lost his job yesterday as national security adviser.
Donald Trump claimed that Bolton’s hawkishness was too much even for him, but it has been clear to those paying attention to our foreign policy-making that Bolton’s has not been the key voice in recent decisions involving Afghanistan, Venezuela, North Korea or even Syria and Iran.
Whatever the real reason — Bolton says he resigns, Trump says he fired Bolton — the important thing here to me is that Trump has removed his third national security advisor and has left the nation with a non-functional White House on conducting itself on the world stage.
As Trump is fond of saying, he is relying on himself to make decisions. Without process and without encouraging channels to you for new information, you are left with the picture of a president acting for you and me based only on utterances that flatter and agree with Trump’s own very variant ideas. This is a guy who does not easily hold a position on any one matter for very long without changing, even flipping it.
Indeed, it is just as logical to conclude that Bolton died in his job because he wouldn’t shake his moustache enough on television to defend whatever it was that Trump did about insisting on, then canceling the Camp David meeting with Afghan foes.
So, while we have no one actually overseeing national intelligence, we have some strange CIA situation in which we are lifting our in-place spy for years, we have a North Korea out of control, firing off missiles with abandon and continuing development of nuclear weapons; we have a simmering dispute with Iran also involving nuclear ambitions; we have an increasingly fragile relationship with European allies and in a position of supporting the breakaway of Britain from Europe; we have a homemade crisis in Venezuela; we have an alliance with Benjamin Netanyahu to allow Israel to grab already-occupied Arab West Bank territories whole even as we discuss a peace plan for the region; we have a continuing and contentious immigration policy debate under way; we have a hapless United Nations and a weird friendship going with Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
And then there are the endless trade wars, chiefly with China.
We have had what looks to be an open break between Bolton and Trump over negotiations proposed for Camp David virtually on the anniversary of September 11 in a deal that many are denounce as total capitulation to the Taliban — all in hopes of a photo op of Trump appearing to settle America’s longest war.
And no one at the helm of 17 US intelligence agencies to make sense of it all.
One person does not an effective government make, of course, and Bolton’s departure doesn’t change anything at all about Trump’s drive for isolationism in the world.
Just as Trump has scorned Science and scientists for using non-Trump-approved information to follow climate change and eve. Hurricane forecasting, Trump is once again pushing a politically palpable line about Bolton’s hawkishness to cover for ignoring any advice that might collide with his own statements.
It all seems confirmation that Trump actually only wants puppets in his circle who look good on camera promoting the White House propaganda of the day, not thinkers who will help mold foreign policy.
How does this make Trump a good president? How does this make Trump’s thinking seem anything but fleeting fancy, not strategic solidity? How does this make Trump crow that other nations finally are respectful of a halting, coughing foreign policy that rewards tyrants and punishes friends.
Have we resolved strategic questions in Syria — or the fate of millions refugees? No. Have we sanctioned our way with Iran to capitulate to U.S. demands to stop all kinds of activities that Americans see as wrong? No. Have we stopped nuclear weapons development in North Korea? No. Have we knelt before Russia? Yes.
Or put another, simpler way, are you feeling safer today than you did three years ago?
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Meanwhile, after northwards of $10 million of spending in an election declared null because of election fraud, the Republican Dan Bishop narrowly beat out Democrat Dan McReady in the remaining North Carolina House race. But the narrow edge — even in a Republican dominated district — should make it difficult for anyone outside partisan propagandists to draw a wider conclusion about the resurgence or dying chances of Donald Trump. What you can scratch your head about is why we all are spending this much money?