As Scott notes below, John Bolton is out as President Trump’s national security adviser. That much is clear.
There’s a dispute, though, over whether Bolton left voluntarily, as he says, or was sacked by Trump, as the president insists. Trump may be telling the truth. However, while there a few people in the world I would disbelieve if their account of events differed from Trump’s, John Bolton is not among them.
The odd thing isn’t that Bolton is out; the odd thing is that he was ever in. Bolton’s view of the world and of foreign policy never aligned with Trump’s. Bolton is far more hawkish and committed to robust American engagement in the world’s hot spots than Trump is. Trump seems to believe he can make a good deal with almost any leader, no matter how odious or fanatical. Bolton is skeptical that Trump possesses this ability.
I’m more in Bolton’s camp than in Trump’s, so I was happy when Trump selected Bolton. But the choice had me scratching my head at the time.
When Trump replaces Bolton, and he’s expected to do so soon, the lucky selectee will be Trump’s fourth national security in less than three years. Combine that fact with the strange nature of Trump’s decision to select Bolton, and it’s almost enough to suggest that Trump isn’t quite sure what he’s doing in the realm of national security policy.