John Bolton

Trump Picks John Bolton to Be New National Security Advisor

Non-interventionists, consider yourselves repudiated.


Michael Brochstein/ZUMA Press/Newscom

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton would replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor.

Bolton is a strident neoconservative who invariably takes the position that the U.S. military should intervene in more conflicts around the globe. He was a prominent backer of both the Iraq War and the Obama-era intervention in Libya, and has advocated for nuclear war with Iran. Less than a month ago, he penned an op-ed making a legal case for attacking North Korea. (Read Reason's Eric Boehm for more on Bolton's blood-thirsty foreign policy approach.)

Bolton is thus a rebuke to Trump supporters who thought they were voting for a less interventionist GOP when they backed candidate Donald over more hawkish alternatives.

Trump himself has frequently criticized former President Bush's neoconservative foreign policy, but the choice of Bolton as National Security Advisor suggests Trump isn't particularly committed to a less hawkish foreign policy. In fact, Trump's biggest beef with Bolton might have been the man's mustache, rather than his enthusiastic support for the kind of nation-building Trump supposedly rejects, according to Vox's Zack Beauchamp.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a skeptic of endless wars, previously told me that he would do anything he could to prevent Bolton from becoming secretary of state. The National Security Advisor position, however, is not subject to Senate confirmation, which means the senator from Kentucky probably can't do much to stop him.

For more on Bolton's awfulness, read Matt Welch and Brian Doherty.