Why did Trump give John Bolton the boot?
Washington was shook by Trump’s sacking of National Security Advisor John Boltonon Tuesday. Trump’s two previous National Security Advisors were soldiers. Bolton was not a soldier, but a tougher hawk militarist and an even bigger imperialist Neocon. In fact, it’s no surprise Bolton was fired. Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan created a deep rift with Bolton. More precisely, the Taliban and peace talks have widened the rift between Trump and Bolton. Trump and Bolton brewed conflicts with Afghanistan, as well as with North Korea, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Syria. His sacking was a matter of timing.
In 2003, Bolton continued to remain center stage, although other members of the Neocon team, which had George W. Bush invade Iraq, retreated to their silent corners. Bolton’s 2015 article in the New York Times titled “Let’s bomb Iran to stop the Iranian bomb” caused a stir.
The one who delivered “Bomber Bolton” to Trump was billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who financed the far-right wing of the Israeli Lobby. Adelson was a supporter of Trump, but the latter didn’t look too kindly on Bolton because he promised to pull the U.S. out of endless wars abroad. Bolton was only brought to the White House in April 2018.
When Bolton arrived, Adelson’s other ally in the White House, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, was already fired. The common features of Bannon and Bolton were not only that they were strict pro-Israel hawks. Both names, who regarded themselves as ideologues, had “special agendas.” Therefore, they thought that they would be able to lead Trump, who they see as a businessman with more flexibility and as an ideological blank slate, whom they could drag in any direction.
However, both names were extras for Trump’s “Good cop-Bad cop” game. The problem was that Bannon and Bolton wanted to go beyond the role assigned to them. They both wanted to lead Trump rather than give him advice. Although not so different from Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo maintains his position and promotes his political career. Pompeo’s secret is that he knows his limits and is obedient enough not to cross them.
There is an extensive list of names on Trump’s backbench that might replace Bolton. They share the same worldview with him, particularly Fred Fleitz, CEO of the pro-Israeli Center for Security Policy. The possibility that any one of these names could end up as National Security Advisor depends both on their working in harmony with U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and the Pentagon, and the belief that, like Pompeo, they do not cross Trump. Another option is for Pompeo to assume the role of National Security Advisor. Henry Kissinger was the only one to juggle two hats at the same time.
Trump had promised taxpayers that America would end its endless wars, which were costly. Trump has not yet fulfilled his promise. In this regard, Bolton was a bogeyman. Therefore, Trump does not want to enter the presidential elections in 2020 with Bolton in the picture.
For Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson, the sacking of Bolton was so out of left field. Both Democrats and mainstream Republicans were relieved by Bolton’s departure. The most striking reaction came from Republican Senator Rand Paul, the most ardent supporter of Trump’s discourse on “ending endless wars.”
“With the firing of Bolton, the threat of war in the world has been greatly reduced,” said Senator Paul, who thanked Trump.
Trump wants to withdraw from Afghanistan, negotiate with Iran and North Korea. Bolton, on the other hand, wanted to make Trump wage more wars. While Trump was welcoming Irish guests at the White House, he jokingly asked Bolton, “John, is Ireland one of the countries you want to invade?” Trump highlighted Bolton’s war-mongering on every occasion. He was an ideologue-bureaucrat who was hellbent on advancing his own agenda. Trump was obviously not going to allow it.