The president likes former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. They may not agree on every issue of strategic importance, especially the question of America’s role in “regime change” internationally, but they are kindred spirits in their love of our republic and their commitment to sacrificing the sacred cows of the establishment’s conventional “wisdoms.”
As a result, Thursday’s decision by President Trump to replace his national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, with Ambassador Bolton — coming so soon after the decision to move another outspoken fighter, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, to head up the Department of State — will solidify the international and national-security gains of the last 14 months. It will provide an incredibly strong platform for the next seven years of “America first” foreign policy.
From The Hill
As I write this, I am fully aware that designers in “mainstream” newsrooms are already updating their screen graphics of White House employees who have left the administration to now include a headshot of Gen. McMaster. Reporters and editors are working on yet another batch of “revolving door,” “chaos in the White House” pieces that have, at this point, become so run-of-the-mill. Yet, for all their feverish activity, they will miss the point. Again.
Donald Trump and his White House are not about process. They are about results. And this is something the good general failed to understand. Especially when it came to our policy in Afghanistan, a topic on which the current national security adviser held no less than six principals meetings, each time trying to convince the commander in chief that a large-footprint presence was required in that benighted nation — until, that is, President Trump pointed out to Gen. McMaster that he was not elected to continue the broken nation-building policies of the post-9/11 years. This commander in chief can stand — actually encourages — disagreement among the ranks, but only if it is based on common sense and the realities of his mandate.
Already one can hear the voices of those who think Bolton’s public statements on Iraq and, more recently, North Korea will bring him into instant conflict with his new boss. Not so. For as the ambassador made clear in a rather lengthy Fox News interview given just minutes after the president posted his tweet announcing the personnel change, the ambassador has fully internalized that which McMaster never did.
Quoting legendary Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s response to the question of why he and President Truman had such a good relationship, Acheson replied that the answer was easy: “Neither the president or I ever forgot who is president.”
The fact that this was the quote the NSA-designee highlighted, in his very first interview after the announcement, speaks greatly to just how much Bolton “gets” what his new job is. That is not to say that Bolton will be a “yes man.” Anyone who knows the ambassador knows how unlikely a scenario that would be. Just one Bolton speech of yesteryear makes that abundantly clear. He is not, and never was, a shrinking violet.
In sum, John Bolton will be an outspoken adviser to the president, one who sees America’s interests as paramount, but one who understands that it was Donald Trump who was chosen to be president and, to quote his Fox interview: “He’s a different kind of president but that’s what the people voted for.”
Indeed they did. The “Make America Great Again” platform was more of an effective rallying cry after the Obama-era institutionalization of an “America last” stance. In the past year, however, thanks to the results-oriented drive of President Trump, MAGA has been filled with tangible content in a range of achievement, spanning the stupendous economic turnaround already achieved to the crushing of the “caliphate” of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
With new team members such as Secretary of State-designee Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton, MAGA has a real chance to graduate from a results-based mission to an “America first” doctrine for the Trump era and beyond. Until that shape of the new “Trump doctrine” is fleshed out, all we can say with certitude today is that the “Never Trumpers” of the “swamp,” former KGB colonels in Moscow, politburo members in Pyongyang and Beijing, and the mullahs of Iran are a tad more uneasy today than they were yesterday.
And for many Americans like myself, that is a decidedly good thing.