“I’m really good at war…I love war,” Donald Trump brags. Is it any wonder that he’s reportedly looking to tap one of the Republican Party’s most prolific war hawks as his cabinet’s top diplomat?
When John Bolton was nominated as ambassador to the United Nations in 2005, even “leading Republicans (including Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel)” reportedly acknowledged that “given his long record of bashing the U.N. and berating allies and enemies alike, Bolton was temperamentally and ideologically ill-suited to the job.”
Perhaps concerns arose from the fact that Bolton opposes the very concept of the United Nations. Bolton reportedly “does not believe in the mission of the United Nations” and he once even said, “If the U.N. Secretariat building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” Another time, Bolton promoted a conspiracy theory that President Obama was colluding with the United Nations to impose global gun safety measures on the U.S., via a U.N. Treaty.
Clearly, Bolton doesn’t have much reverence for any sort of spirit of global diplomatic cooperation. (Appropriate, given Trump’s own disdain for NATO.) But does the guy who Trump hopes to have serve as the nation’s top diplomat at the very least get along with others?
It turns out that Bolton is about as temperamentally erratic as Trump — equal parts vindictive, sexist, and extremist rhetorician. An example: “[Bolton] once threw a file folder and a tape dispenser at an American businesswoman in Moscow, disparaged her weight and alleged she was gay in an attempt to get her to withdraw criticism of a foreign-aid project.” On another occasion, Bolton suggested that it might take a nuclear bomb destroying the city of Chicago for President Obama to consider foreign policy “a priority.”
It’s easy to see why Trump is interested in appointing Bolton. Trump “loves” war; Bolton thinks war is the “only way” to deal with Iran. And they both have nasty tempers that make them uniquely unfit to serve as diplomatic emissaries.
It’s fine if Bolton and Trump want to pal around, but there’s a reason Republicans like Colin Powell worked to block Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the U.N. in 2005 — and why then-Senator Chuck Hagel said he was “troubled” by the prospect of Bolton’s nomination.
John Bolton is today — as he was back then — a hawkish loose cannon with an enthusiasm for war and disdain for diplomacy.
Published: Nov 15, 2016