By appointing Mr John Bolton as his National Security Adviser, Mr Trump, due to attending a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jung-Un before the month of May 2018, sends out a further message of ‘America First’. Make no mistake about it, when choosing for Mr Bolton as security adviser at the start of an impending trade war with China, US President Trump is forcefully telling both North Korea and Iran that all bets are off at this point.
Both European diplomats and Democratic politicians in Washington are eager for Mr Bolton to get started, as they don’t really know what to expect at this point. Mr Christopher Preble, the vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, spoke for Washington Democrats when he said: “I operate on the assumption that John Bolton should be kept as far away from the levers of foreign policy as possible.”
“I think I would rest easy if he was dog catcher in Stone Mountain, Georgia. But maybe not.”
Mr Bolton became famous back in 2002, just after then President Bush’s famous SOTU speech which connected Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an ‘Axis of Evil’. Asked about the President’s speech afterwards, Mr Bolton claimed that this wasn’t mere rhetoric, but that there was “a hard connection between these regimes, an ‘axis’ along which flow dangerous weapons and dangerous technology”.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Bush (w/ Cheney/Rice) identified so-called Axis-of-Evil in 2002 SOTU. Not so long after, US forces wrecked Iraq. Now Trump/ Pompeo/Bolton triumvirate may want a turn w/ Targets #2 & #3. If so, they too will play “It’s a Dangerous World” mind games on us. <a href="https://t.co/9Vk1dOdaQS">https://t.co/9Vk1dOdaQS</a> <a href="https://t.co/8s3mKqpQ8b">pic.twitter.com/8s3mKqpQ8b</a></p>— Roy Eidelson (@royeidelson) <a href="https://twitter.com/royeidelson/status/977257997784281088?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 23, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The appointment of foreign policy hardliners like Mr Bolton on National Security and Mr Pompeo on Foreign Affairs may seem surprising to some, but let’s not forget Mr Trump is above all a businessman and picks the team required for the job. His job, according to his maiden speech, is to put America First. When starting a trade war with China by imposing tariffs both on steel and intellectual property, those appointments actually make sense.
In the midst of a trade war, the foreign policy problems of Iran and North Korea remain. Mr Trump has sent a message to both the Mullahs in Teheran and the regime of Mr Jung-Un in Pyongyang with these appointments, echoing what President Theodore Roosevelt once said was his foreign policy: "speak softly, and carry a big stick.".