John Bolton is U.S. President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser. The former United Nations ambassador and arms control official started work Monday replacing HR McMaster. Bolton is known for his extreme views on Iran, the DPRK and voicing opinions on a number of other issues.
CGTN’s Nathan King reports.
Despite a number of years in the public eye, Bolton has only held high office once before – temporarily as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. He was in that position for less than a year and a half but never confirmed by the U.S. Senate as he was considered too controversial.
But Bolton has been a fixture as an analyst on Trump’s favorite TV channel, Fox News, where he has been espousing his hawkish views for years.
Bolton believes in the preeminence of the U.S. in world affairs and American exceptionalism. He often pushes unilateral military solutions to solve the thorniest of diplomatic problems. He supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq before and after.
He wrote an opinion piece less than two months ago in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First.” He wrote in part …“Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an “imminent threat.” They are wrong.”
In the lead up to the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, he wrote a New York Times opinion piece… with the headline “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” In it, he advocated Israeli or U.S. attacks against Iran’s nuclear fuel installations and called for the overthrow of the government in Tehran – writing in part…“Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”
Bolton has strong views on Taiwan too- backing more military sales to the island, diplomatic contacts and U.S. port calls. He has encouraged independence.
Trump has been listening to Bolton for a long time. He was reportedly on the short list for U.S. secretary of state before Rex Tillerson.
The big question now is will John Bolton’s views become U.S. policy?
The extent of John Bolton’s influence on President Trump will be known soon. Next month, the White House has to decide whether to scrap or stay in the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. is also planning a high stakes summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un later this year. And as John Bolton takes up his new job, the U.S. is mulling over its response to another alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria and a potential trade war with China. Lots of diplomacy needed from a national security adviser in his first days on the job.