News Release

Bolton: Trump’s Most “Dangerous” Move

Simon Kuper writes in the Financial Times piece “Don’t get distracted. John Bolton is a huge threat“:  “A warmonger is about to start work a few steps from Trump in a White House devoid of procedure.”

RAY McGOVERN, rrmcgovern at gmail.com, @raymcgovern
McGovern served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then as a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years. He helped prepare daily briefings for presidents from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush. He just wrote the piece “Coming Attraction: Lunatic Loose in West Wing,” which states: “John Bolton’s March 22 appointment-by-tweet as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser has given ‘March Madness’ a new and ominous meaning. There is less than a week left to batten down the hatches before Bolton makes U.S. foreign policy worse than it already is.

“During a recent interview with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill (minutes 35 to 51) I mentioned that Bolton fits seamlessly into a group of take-no-prisoners zealots once widely known in Washington circles as ‘the crazies,’ and now more commonly referred to as ‘neocons.’

“Beginning in the 1970s, ‘the crazies’ sobriquet was applied to Cold Warriors hell bent on bashing Russians, Chinese, Arabs — anyone who challenged U.S. ‘exceptionalism’ (read hegemony). More to the point, I told Scahill that President (and former CIA Director) George H. W. Bush was among those using the term freely, since it seemed so apt. …

“John Bolton was Cheney’s ‘crazy’ at the State Department. Secretary Colin Powell was pretty much window dressing. He could be counted on not to complain loudly — much less quit — even if he strongly suspected he was being had. Powell had gotten to where he was by saluting sharply and doing what superiors told him to do. As secretary of state, Powell was not crazy — just craven. He enjoyed more credibility than the rest of the gang and rather than risk being ostracized like the rest of us, he sacrificed that credibility on the altar of the ‘supreme international crime.’

“In those days Bolton did not hesitate to run circles around — and bully — the secretary of state and many others. This must be considered a harbinger of things to come, starting on Monday, when the bully comes to the china shop in the West Wing. While longevity in office is not the hallmark of the Trump administration, even if Bolton’s tenure turns out to be short-lived, the crucial months immediately ahead will provide Bolton with ample opportunity to wreak the kind of havoc that ‘the crazies’ continue to see as enhancing U.S. — and not incidentally — Israeli influence in the Middle East. Bear in mind, Bolton still says the attack on Iraq was a good idea.”

McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. In January 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and still serves on its Steering Group.

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com, @marjoriecohn
Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and just wrote the piece “Trump Finds Fellow Bully in Bolton,” which states: “Nothing Donald Trump has done since his inauguration 14 months ago is more dangerous — to the United States, and indeed, to the world — than his selection of John Bolton for National Security Adviser. It is not surprising the president would feel most comfortable receiving advice from a fellow bully. …

“Bolton was such a lightning rod that in 2005, even the GOP-controlled Senate refused to confirm him as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. To avoid the need for Senate confirmation, George W. Bush named Bolton to the post in a recess appointment.

“But Bolton doesn’t just bully individuals. He pushed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, advocates military attacks on North Korea and Iran, favors Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, and falsely claimed that Cuba had biological weapons.

“As undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security in the Bush administration, Bolton was instrumental in withdrawing the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which heightened the risk of nuclear war with Russia.

“Anthony J. Blinken, deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, wrote in The New York Times, ‘Mr. Bolton had a habit of twisting intelligence to back his bellicosity and sought to remove anyone who objected.'”