UPDATE: December 19, 2016
The New York Times has reported that there is opposition within the ranks of GOP Senators to confirming John Bolton’s appointment as deputy secretary of state. The NYT also reports that Rex Tillerson, who has been tapped for the lead role at the State Department, also doesn’t appear keen on having Bolton as his second in command. Perhaps the greatest negative factor in weighing Bolton is his support from Weekly Standard editor and leading neocon, William Kristol, who the NYT quotes saying “I like John Bolton and hope he gets a senior position.”
More from the NYT:
Though Mr. Bolton, 68, is admired by conservatives like Mr. Kristol who agreed with the Bush administration that American military intervention was a necessary force for promoting stability throughout the world, there are also many Republicans who want to leave the Bush years in the past.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump professed to be one of them. He called the war in Iraq “a big fat mistake” and accused the Bush administration of lying to the American people about Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
The selection of Bolton would be a stick-in-the-eye to Americans who voted for Trump based on his promises to avoid foreign entanglement.
UPDATE: December 14, 2016
It appears today that John Bolton will be chosen by Donald Trump as his Deputy Secretary of State. There couldn’t be a worse choice. Appointing Bolton would be a breach of trust with voters who supported Trump for his promises of a less aggressive foreign policy. Bolton is a neocon of the first order and we would oppose any confirmation attempt by the Senate.
On This Week, Senator Rand Paul said he’s an automatic “no” vote on any confirmation for Bolton:
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 11, 2016
Originally posted November 14, 2016.
My friend Jon Basil Utley calls this perfect. WE DO NOT APPROVE BOLTON. Far from it! Trump may as well have Bill Kristol or Charles Krauthammer running foreign policy. That’s not what Americans voted for.
Nearly all of Donald Trump’s appointments to his transition team are very encouraging. Indeed, I have known many of them for years. But he could undermine his whole agenda by allowing neocons back into their former staffing and leadership role over Republican foreign policy. The New York Times reported how many are now scrambling to get back into their old dominant positions. And now National Review, which supported all the disasters in Iraq, has come out to promote Bolton for secretary of state.
I have written about the neocons for many years. Their originators were former leftists who later became anti-communists. After the collapse of communism, they provided the intellectual firepower for hawks and imperialists who wanted an aggressive American foreign policy. Having lived and done business for many years in the Third World, I thought they would only bring about disasters for America. What especially interested me was their almost total lack of experience in and knowledge about the outside world, particularly Asia and Latin America. I even set up a web page called War Party Neoconservative Biographies as I researched their education and experience.
Brilliant academics as many of them were, their “foreign” experience was at best a semester or two in London or, for the more daring, some studies in Paris or, for the Jewish ones, a summer on a kibbutz in Israel. They are above all Washington insiders. John Bolton is very typical. A summa cum laude graduate of Yale, then Yale Law School, time with a top Washington law firm, and then various academic and political appointments, but no foreign living or work experience. Also, as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls. Long ago Peter Viereck explained them with his observation about the vicarious “lust of many intellectuals for brute violence.” No wonder they urged Bush on to his disastrous war and occupation policies. Even before Iraq they were first urging dominance over Russia and then military confrontation with China, when a U.S. spy plane was collided by a Chinese fighter plane. It wasn’t just the Arab world which was in their sights.
I write about all this based on my own experience of studying in Germany and France, working 15 years in South America, and speaking four languages fluently.
Trump appointments so far are really showing his focus upon getting America back on track with faster economic growth, which has been so stunted by Obama’s runaway regulatory regime. To understand their costs, see analysis in the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Ten Thousand Commandments.” But more unending wars will continue to sap America’s strength and prejudice the world’s former goodwill toward our nation. Empires all eventually make a transition from where they are profitable to when they become destructively bankrupting. Few would now doubt that America has crossed this threshold. When it costs us a million dollars per year per man to field combat infantry in unending wars, we will face economic ruin just like happened with the Roman Empire.