The Bolton factor

The appointment of John Bolton as President Trump’s National Security Advisor has induced another round of hysteria among the Democrats and their media adjunct. He is the man, if there is one, who can help the president achieve his objectives with North Korea, Iran, and elsewhere around the world. See, for example, my daughter Eliana’s Politico piece on Bolton’s bureaucratic skills.

Bolton is a man of the Churchillian persuasion. For him, facts are better than dreams. In this sense, Bolton is a true realist.

Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin now draws attention to the speech Bolton gave last month at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security. Rogin notes that in this speech “Bolton laid out his proposed strategy to respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and to Russian aggression around the world.” Rogin adds that Bolton contended the Trump administration has not done enough to respond to Russia’s attack on the United States and our democratic institutions advocated the exaction of a heavy price from Putin for his actions.

Rogin quotes Bolton: “I think that this is actually now a perfect time for President Trump to pivot to make it clear that he’s not going to permit additional [Russian] meddling, or meddling by any other foreign government in our election process. Whether you think [the Russians] were trying to collude with the Trump campaign or trying to collude with the Clinton campaign, their interference is unacceptable. It’s really an attack on the American Constitution.”

Bolton advocated an overwhelming response in the interest of deterrence. Quotable quote: “I don’t think the response should be proportionate, I think it should be very disproportionate.”

Bolton’s views do not on their face differ from the positions Democrats have taken to impugn Trump. If the Democrats were operating in good faith, Bolton would get credit from them for his views. They would weigh heavily in his favor. If Democrats credited Bolton for his stated views, however, they would find it somewhat more difficult to wage their permanent campaign to delegitimize Trump with claims of collusion with Russia.

Bolton’s speech thus bears on a number of our present concerns. I am posting the video below for readers who may find it of interest.