That's what you get when you have an addled authoritarian head of state with an incoherent worldview who brings in a stronger guy who has an utterly diabolical worldview.
We'll have to wait and see but John Bolton could blossom into Donald Trump's Lavrentiy Beria, the guy who Joseph Stalin described to Franklin D. Roosevelt as "our Himmler."
Bolton is to aerial bombing campaigns what the NRA is to assault rifles, a shameless advocate. He wants to bomb the hell out of any country he perceives to stand in America's way.
Harvard professor and regular contributor to Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt, offers his take of America's new Dr. Strangelove.
The other shoe dropped. On the heels of his cowardly fire-by-tweet dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump has dismissed National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and replaced him with John Bolton, the hard-line former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Uber-hawk Mike Pompeo is headed from the CIA to the State Department, and Gina Haspel, a CIA loyalist who ran a torture site for George W. Bush and authorized the destruction of videotapes documenting what the CIA was doing, has been picked to replace him. Just how scared should you be?
There seem to be two general reactions to the latest upheaval in Trump’s topsy-turvy. One interpretation is that this latest reshuffle amounts to Trump getting rid of the “grown-ups” who have been trying to manage the tweeter-in-chief for the past year and replacing them with advisors who see the world as he does and will let “Trump be Trump.” In this view, the new team will enable him instead of trying to rein him in, and he’ll become the Trump of 2016, who called U.S. foreign policy a “complete and total disaster” and promised “America First.” Trump himself has encouraged this view by suggesting that he is finally assembling the sort of team he has always wanted. (Which raises an obvious question: Who was the idiot who picked his first team? Or his second? Oh, right.)...
Bolton’s appointment (along with Trump’s other personnel shifts) is not a bold move toward “America First” — if that term means a smarter and more restrained foreign policy that would reduce U.S. overseas burdens, improve the country’s strategic position, and actually make Americans safer and richer.
Instead, whether Trump knows it or not, putting Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel in key positions looks more like a return to “Cheneyism,” by which I mean a foreign policy that inflates threats, dismisses serious diplomacy, thinks allies are mostly a burden, is contemptuous of institutions, believes that the United States is so powerful that it can just issue ultimatums and expect others to cave, and believes that a lot of thorny foreign-policy problems can be solved by just blowing something up...
I’m not trying to “normalize” this appointment or suggest that it shouldn’t concern you. Rather, I’m suggesting that if you are worried about Bolton, you should ask yourself the following question: What sort of political system allows someone with his views to serve in high office, where he helps talk the country into a disastrous war, never expresses a moment’s regret for his errors, continues to advocate for more of the same for the next decade, and then gets a second chance to make the same mistakes again?
So by all means worry. But the real problem isn’t Bolton — it’s a system that permits people like him to screw up and move up again and again.