John Bolton

John Bolton, Trump's Likely Secretary of State, Is Addicted to Regime Change

How does this square with the candidate's stated foreign policies?

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John Bolton
Gage Skidmore/ZUMA Press/Newscom

When George W. Bush nominated John Bolton to be his ambassador to the United Nations in 2005, it was cathartic for many conservatives, who had been stewing for years over the bureaucracy at Turtle Bay. A working-class guy from Baltimore with a Yosemite Sam mustache, Bolton had once opined that if U.N. headquarters "lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." It was easy to imagine him hurling abuse and possibly heavy objects at gelatinous U.N. functionaries as they fled down the hallway.

Alas, Senate Democrats filibustered Bolton's nomination, limiting him to a recess appointment. His term was brief, controversial, and idealistic, as he set about trying to reform the U.N.'s farcical and mass murderer-dominated Human Rights Commission, which earned him rare praise from the New York Times. So when Donald Trump announced he was mulling Bolton to be his secretary of state, it seemed like a solid pick. Who wouldn't want a sworn foe of bureaucracy at the cumbersome State Department?

The problem with Bolton isn't his aversion to the UN, but his penchant for counterproductive war. Whereas Trump, for all his faults, has laid out a foreign policy that attempts to correct some of the mistakes of the past (even if it ultimately replaces them with new ones), Bolton remains immersed in the failed thinking of the Bush administration.

On the calamitous invasion of Iraq, he remains steadfast. "I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct," he told the Washington Examiner last year, and anyway, "you can't assume if [Saddam] had stayed in power, sweetness and light would prevail in the Middle East today." That's true, but you can assume that if Saddam had been removed from power, mayhem and madness would prevail in the Middle East—because that's exactly what happened.

Bolton's support for regime change has remained a constant. In March 2011, he declared that the United States should assassinate Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and "end the regime right there." At the time, Gaddafi had surrendered his WMDs and was aiding the war on terror; after the Obama administration destroyed his government, Libya disintegrated into anarchy and ISIS opened up shop. The president, guilty of taking Bolton's advice, was later excoriated by Bolton for being weak on Libya.

On Iran, Bolton's prescription was to drop bombs, and then, once that was accomplished, to drop more bombs—all of it "aimed at regime change in Tehran." Heeding his counsel would have torn open a vacuum as Iranian moderate and hardline elements duked it out to replace the deposed government, and the Islamic State would have attempted to fill the space, eager to strike at the heart of Shiite Islam. It also would have crippled the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq, which is heavily dependent on Iran-linked militias.

The goal of bombing Iran's nuclear program, Bolton wrote, was, "rendering inoperable the Natanz and Fordow uranium-enrichment installations and the Arak heavy-water production facility and reactor." Today, all those sites are subject to daily weapons inspections, Fordow is being converted into a research center, and Arak has been filled with concrete, all thanks to diplomacy, not war.

Still, at least Bolton was merely advocating conventional ordnance against Iran and not thermonuclear war. During a speech in 2009, he said, "Unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran's program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future." He was wrong again: Israel didn't nuke Iran and Iran today doesn't have nukes.

Even when Bolton finds a way around destructive policies, he still manages to lasso his ankles in the process. "I would vote against an authorization to use force," he said in 2013 of the Obama administration's plan to attack Syria's Bashar al-Assad. But this was merely a matter of timing: "In the days just after Saddam's ouster in 2003, conditions were optimal (if nonetheless imperfect) for overthrowing Assad," he wrote. Yes, because then we would have opened the Syrian front to jihadists nine years earlier and saddled our financial books with the rebuilding of two nations. What could have been more brilliant than that?

John Bolton might be allergic to U.N. meandering, but he's also chemically addicted to regime change. He never plans for the day after a binge. He can't break his habit even after the wicked hangovers of Iraq and Libya. Those who try to wean him off are shouted down. And if Trump puts him at the State Department, it's the rest of us who will end up with his tab.

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  1. Uh, because he’s an idiot?

    1. If Bolton is an idiot, what does that make you?

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    3. Seems to me it is you who do not know much about the World or World history…

      Good for him! In a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

      I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

      When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

  2. OT: Ellen under fire for racist tweet.

    http://www.aol.com/article/201…..lp00001361

    1. Tempest in a teapot.

      1. No shit-I’m outraged at the outrage.

      2. It makes me smile. I’m sure she was all “I’m one of the good guys, you can’t do this to me!”.

    2. Seems like a bit of a stretch.

      1. Slaves were sold. Horses were sold. People ride horses. Ellen is a racist. Get it now?

        1. Horse riding is slavery.

      2. Racistphobia rears its ugly head again. Shameful.

    3. She claims she’s not a racist so that should end it. Right?

    4. Progressivism is a non-factor going forward.

      They will certainly eat themselves.

      1. The question, as always, is how many people will suffer, and how badly, under reality reasserts control over the situation.

    5. The tweet was actually funny, classic Ellen.

      What is even funnier to me are the people who can think of nothing but racism because they are racist bigots, and thus see racism in every shadow.

      1. If she had done one riding Phelps saying “my next cruise” no one would have cared. People need to lighten up.

        1. “Lighten up!?” RACIST, I’M SO TRIGGERED!

    6. The most shocking thing about all this?

      That aol.com is still around

  3. Because he’s trying to lose.

    I think it’s pretty obvious at this point.

  4. Considering it and “likely” aren’t the same thing. Hopefully Trump won’t choose Bolton because, yeah, he sucks-way too trigger happy.

  5. I think it must be the mustache.

    1. Those free mustache rides are no small factor with Trump

  6. Even when Bolton finds a way around destructive policies, he still manages to lasso his ankles in the process.

    This should be the entirety of the column. *Waves cowboy hat over head*

  7. Seriously?

    John Bolton?!?!?

    1) IF Trump is being honest (and since Trump bullshits all the time, the safest thing to do is to ignore everything he says about his plans – his actions are pretty much independent of whatever he says), this puts lie to the idea that he is any sort of non-interventionist. Bolton would basically continue the GWOT along the path its been following in both the Bush and Obama admins.

    2) Or Trump is throwing a bone to the neocons in a hope that they will flock to his standard, and has no plans to do anything with Bolton other than to use him as if he were a whore cut to look like Ivanka.

    Nonetheless, it’s farcical watching him fuck up what should be an easy cruise to the nomination.

    1. Wait, how did SF find about that time at Epstein’s?

  8. Seriously?

    John Bolton?!?!?

    1) IF Trump is being honest (and since Trump bullshits all the time, the safest thing to do is to ignore everything he says about his plans – his actions are pretty much independent of whatever he says), this puts lie to the idea that he is any sort of non-interventionist. Bolton would basically continue the GWOT along the path its been following in both the Bush and Obama admins.

    2) Or Trump is throwing a bone to the neocons in a hope that they will flock to his standard, and has no plans to do anything with Bolton other than to use him as if he were a whore cut to look like Ivanka.

    Nonetheless, it’s farcical watching him fuck up what should be an easy cruise to the nomination.

    1. Fuck the squirrels! I only clicked the button once.

      1. Always the server’s fault, isn’t it, tarran?

        1. If you weren’t such a racist your post would only appear once.

    2. Nonetheless, it’s farcical watching him fuck up what should be an easy cruise to the nomination.

      I’m pretty sure he’s already been nominated…

      1. I need a goram beer.

        1. Have some mudder’s milk. Works faster.

  9. So, Bolton’s basically the Trump of the State Department. He’s great at angering people I don’t like, but I have next to nothing in common with his policies.

  10. Seriously? “……crippled the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq, which is heavily dependent on Iran-linked militias.” Iranian militias in Iraq by the thousands is GOOD? and “….Iran today doesn’t have nukes.” This guy Purple really believes this sh*t?

    1. You think Iran already has nuclear weapons?

  11. So either way, it looks like another 25 years of bombing the middle east?

    1. So, you’re saying we’re closer to the end than ever before!

    2. Hey, it’s gotta work sooner or later.

      1. It’s maddening how often I think of this with respect to our politics…

        This time for sure!

      2. We’re gonna need some bigger bombs.

  12. Waiting for John to say how completely awesome of a move this is and how it evidences Trump’s strategic greatness…

  13. Bolton? You told me it was Ipswitch!

    1. Now Mrs. Teal, if you’re looking in tonight, this is for 15 pounds: and is to stop us from revealing the name of your LOVER IN BOLTON!!

      Eww, that didn’t come out right.

      1. political fund raising = Stop The Film

  14. I thought Bolton was pretty popular among the conservative base (or whatever the right descriptor is). I don’t find this all that surprising.

    1. I like him,,, at least you know where he stands and does not bull$hit like the Left.

      ..and he would be a good choice iIn a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

      I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

      When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

    2. I like him,,, at least you know where he stands and does not bull$hit like the Left.

      ..and he would be a good choice iIn a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

      I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

      When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

    3. I like him,,, at least you know where he stands and does not bull$hit like the Left.

      ..and he would be a good choice iIn a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

      I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

      When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

    4. I like him,,, at least you know where he stands and does not bull$hit like the Left.

      ..and he would be a good choice iIn a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

      I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

      When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

    5. I like him,,, at least you know where he stands and does not bull$hit like the Left.

      ..and he would be a good choice iIn a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

      I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

      When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

  15. John Bolton, Trump’s Likely Secretary of State, Is Addicted to Regime Change
    How does this square with the candidate’s stated foreign policies?

    It doesn’t. In all likelihood Trump thinks (or has been told by his advisors to think) that floating Bolton as SoS will bring some of the Neocon #NeverTrump-ers back into the fold. They’re stupid enough it might just work.

  16. If and when Trump wins, he may have a better choice of candidates. How many qualified applicants out there do you think there are who want their names associated with the father of loose cannons right now?

    Bolton may have been the only one on the list with actual foreign policy experience who’s said he’s willing to endorse Trump in public before the election. The next name on that list may have been Turd Ferguson.

    Meanwhile, what else has Bolton got to do but sit around and wait for Kennedy to call and ask him to play whipping boy again?

    1. If Trump had a shitty palette of candidates to choose from, I expect he would keep his whore mouth shut.

      He doesn’t need to submit any names to anyone.

      He choose to do this, ergo he wants people thinking that he’ll appoint a deranged warhawk as secretary of state.

      1. Yes, that’s the explanation. Trump wants voters to think his Administration will be deranged.

        You and Hazel should go bowling. Have some drinks. Play some miniature golf or something.

        Another possibility is that Trump is trying to buck the image that he’s an amateur by finding someone with foreign policy bona fides–even if his credentials are in being evil.

        For all we know, he may be trying to win the election–rather than trying to convince everyone that he’s deranged by refusing to keep his whore mouth shut.

        You people crack me up.

        1. Kenny,

          I get the sense that you think I have a personal problem with you. And, it’s understandable, since I do look like I’m birdogging you. It’s not personal; lately you’ve been saying some really stupid shit; your idiotic defense of the illegal war against Libya, the nearly impenetrable thicket on nonsequiturs about the ICC yesterday, etc that I find myself having to speak out against.

          Now, I understand your butthurt; those conversations tend to start off with you pontificating – and it’s clear that you think you are coming up with some great pearls of wisdom – and you find yourself flailing about trying to not admit that you just wrote something pretty childish or idiotic.

          The path forward, though, isn’t to try to make me feel bad. That’s something you can’t really do, since I genuinely am indifferent what you think of me. The path forward is to stop and ask yourself “is my brilliant idea not quite so brilliant?” and, as is inevitable when one debates a lot, having the maturity to accept it when you are wrong.

          That way you avoid making yourself look like a moronic imbecile as you just did above by denying the undeniable truth; that Bolton is a deranged warhawk.

  17. There is no more hawkier hawk than John Bolton.

    1. Ooooh yes there is, and it is her turn. Ready for Hillary?

      1. Clinton is a hawk, but I’d be very interested if you could document her suggesting that nuclear weapons be used against Iran….

        1. I don’t think he suggested that Israel use nukes. I think his point was that nukes were Israel’s only option, and therefore it was better for us to bomb Iran ourselves.

  18. I hope Bolton finds himself in a crowd at a Hillary rally where she sees him and forms her open-mouthed, hideous face of recognition and POINTS HIM OUT.

    1. It’s Hillary’s political program, isn’t it?

      There’s no pain.
      Suddenly, while you’re asleep…
      they’ll absorb your minds,
      your memories…
      and you’re reborn
      into an untroubled world.
      Where everyone’s the same?
      Exactly.
      What a world.

      1. Didn’t Huxley already cover this barren ground?

        1. Not much body snatching in Huxley as I recall.

    2. So, Mongo want Hillary to show Bolton her gape?

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  20. Chemically addicted to regime change…and never plans for the day after the binge.

    Also called nation building and exporting democracy and American values.

    Pretty much the bedrock of US foreign policy for the past 70 years, no?

  21. Neo-con that he is, I always loved the guy when he was on Red Eye.

    1. Red Eye makes a lot of people likable. *cough* Andy Levy *cough*

    2. Could he be SoS AND president of Red Eye at the same time? Or would he have to step down from the presidency first?

  22. Is Matt Purple a pen name for our Purple haired goddess KMW?

    1. I think co-written by Welch and KMW.

      1. Love child. Now I know how it works at Reason. Waiting to see Robby and Nick’s bundle of joy. Hair/Jacket = Fonz.

  23. How about Roose Bolton for SoS? Or even Ramsay?

    1. Christie as Reek?

  24. there is a good point to Bolton though. If your going to go in, go all in, none of this tippy toeing around like we’ve been doing.

  25. Because Trump’s anti-interventionist foreign policy is a ruse and Bolton is the Wizard behind the Curtain.

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  27. He wants to invade countries that are pushovers.

    Why not invade China or Russia?

  28. Eh, I like Bolton. I think it’s a plus.

  29. Don’t see how Bolton can help Trump. Hillary scores much higher on the neocon scale already.

  30. Don’t see how Bolton can help Trump. Hillary scores much higher on the neocon scale already.

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  32. And if Trump puts him at the State Department, it’s the rest of us who will end up with his tab.

    ?????? 7

  33. Good for him! In a world where governments can track your every move, a Press that is controlled by the government, have weapons far beyond those of the people, has an infrastructure that support the mass movement of the military, and is willing to us the military against the people it is great that there is a nation in the world that cares about Liberty and Freedom for all and is willing to do something about it.

    I mean, you do not see Russian and China promoting Democracy do you? Tibet was taken, the Crimea was taken, North Korea is a slaughterhouse 50 years, China is trying to take the South China Sea, Russia is expanding again (40,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine).

    When allowed to go through the process, the US has been very successful in building free and peaceful nations,,, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Germany are fine examples… BUT nation building takes time…. basically you have to let the old hatreds dies away,,, it is not a one or two year project, it takes decades…

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