By Ralph Nader
John Bolton’s career of pushing for bombing countries like Iran and North Korea, and his having played an active role in the Bush/Cheney regime’s criminal war of aggression that destroyed Iraq, makes him a clear and present danger to our country and world peace. He is about to become Donald Trump’s personal national security advisor with a staff of 400 right next to the White House. He must be stopped!
For Bolton, the Constitution, federal law, the Geneva Conventions, and other international laws are pieces of paper to be thrown away with unctuous contempt. This outlaw – the shame of Yale Law School—should have been cast away as a pariah if not prosecuted and imprisoned. A bully to his subordinates in the government and known as “kiss-ass” to his superiors, Bolton is aggressive, relentless, and consistently wrong, when not prevaricatory.
Under Secretary of State Colin Powell, during the imperial Bush/Cheney presidency, Bolton told the media that Fidel Castro was developing chemical and biological weapons. False. Secretary Powell, who believes Bolton is impetuous and dangerous, overrode his in-house liar and corrected the record. While in Cuba with a group, I heard Fidel Castro say he feared Bolton’s words were a precursor to a U.S. attack until Bolton’s remarks were dismissed by his superiors.
There is a remarkable liberal/conservative dislike and fright about Bolton having Trump’s ear daily. Especially since Trump is susceptible to adopting the positions of the last person who reaches him. The added danger is that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has privately told people that he, like many who have experienced Bolton in government, cannot work with him. So does that mean that Trump will have to choose between the restraining hand of General Mattis and the recklessness of the draft-avoiding torture advocate John Bolton?
Will Republicans, who refused to confirm Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005, assume some responsibility for opposing this sociopath? They could easily pass a joint resolution of Congress demanding withdrawal of the appointment by Trump.
There are many vigorous critics of Bolton’s career and subsequent belligerent stances ; Just last month Bolton wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal demanding the bombing of North Korea. His juvenile, lethal positions avoid considering the consequences, responses, backlash and danger to our country’s own safety. He likes to bet on the world—a Dr. Strangelove on steroids.
A lengthy New York Times editorial (March 23, 2018) declares, “Yes, John Bolton Really is that Dangerous.” It begins: “there are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton to lead the country into war.” Especially since Trump – mired in domestic scandals, investigations, and personal lawsuits—may wish to wag the dog and start wider, distracting, armed hostilities abroad.
The American Conservative magazine is stirring that segment of the political spectrum with Gareth Porter’s article, “The Untold Story of John Bolton’s Campaign for War with Iran.” Trump didn’t like General McMaster’s (Trump’s outgoing National Security Advisor) counsel that the U.S. remain in the Iran nuclear accord and not isolate itself from other major country signatories who say Iran is complying with its terms.
Then there is Bolton’s bigotry against Arabs and Muslims and his alliance with Pamela Geller—the notorious Islamophobe. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has elaborated on Bolton’s outrageous falsehoods against Arabs and Muslims (the “other anti-semitism” in the words of James Zogby in 1994 at a conference in Israel).
How does such a deep hatred in the White House connect to Trump’s repeated declaration that he allegedly seeks a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians?
Republican constitutional law analyst, Bruce Fein, presents a strong case that the powerful position of national security advisor to the President must be confirmed by the Senate. In which case, Bolton would be gone.
Fein argues: “The Appointments Clause of the Constitution militates against the National Security Advisor aberration. It makes Senate confirmation of ‘officers of the United States’ the rule. But Congress may by statute create exceptions for ‘inferior officers.’ But it has not done so for the Advisor—even assuming the office qualifies as ‘inferior.’”
The other obstacles to Bolton’s assuming his position is that it will take the FBI many weeks to decide whether he can receive a top security clearance. At age 69, Bolton has a long trail of entanglements and intrigues in and out of government, not to mention his tantrums—some involving female public servants.
Fein recounts Bolton’s “unmasking the names of Americans whose conversation has been intercepted by the National Security Agency under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).” He still defends the catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq (for more information see Madea Benjamin’s “10 Reasons to Fear John Bolton“).
How does such a madman like Bolton keep coming back? Two reasons stand out. First, the more aggressive parts of the military-industrial complex, bolstered by the neocons, see him as a useful tool—for bigger military budgets and empire. Second, he is a staunch collaborator with the Israel lobby’s support of Israel’s militaristic, increasingly autocratic regime that regularly works against a two-state solution (The majority of American Jews support a two-state solution).
If President Trump gives Bolton a waiver while he works without a security clearance, as he has done, under wide condemnation, for his family and a few others already, the political firestorm may be enough, with other factors, to cause Trump to have Bolton bolt the White House with only his Trump-irritating walrus mustache intact.
In the immediate meantime, members of congress and aroused citizens must use their influence to block or evict John Bolton from our White House.
– Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! Visit: Nader.Org.