McCall: John Bolton is a threat to our national security

John Bolton should not be our next national security advisor. He’s a threat to our national security. Here’s why.

First of all: Former President George W. Bush appointed Bolton to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations back in 2005. However, Vice President Joe Biden (then the top Democratic senator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) said Bolton in the United Nations would be like a “bull [in] a china shop.” Carl Ford, who headed the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) from 2001-2003, called Bolton a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.”

These criticisms, among others, were enough to postpone the end of debate in the Senate concerning Bolton’s nomination. That means that the Senate could not reach the 60 votes necessary to bring Bolton’s nomination to a vote. Fortunately for the Republicans who supported Bolton, however, President Bush made a recess appointment of Bolton on Aug. 1, 2005.

According to the New York Times, President Bush believed that the position of Ambassador to the United Nations was “too important to leave vacant any longer.” While it may be true that it reflects poorly on the country as a whole to leave the post empty for too long, that is no reason to appoint an abusive bureaucrat like John Bolton.

One of the most alarming stories about Bolton, in my opinion, was recounted on both Crooked Media’s “Pod Save America” podcast (aired March 28, 2018) and the New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast (aired March 28, 2018). It concerns Bolton’s treatment of his subordinates, and it highlights one of Bolton’s most distressing qualities: his willingness to manipulate and cherry-pick facts in order to support his agenda. Here’s what happened.

According to the 2005 Senate Report on the Nomination of John Bolton, Bolton repeatedly sought the removal of intelligence analysts who disagreed with him. Bolton also evidently attempted to stretch intelligence in order to fit his views, meaning he manipulated facts in order to push his agenda.

What’s more, the New York Times reported that Christian Westermann, an analyst at the INR, was instructed by Bolton to collect analyses on the possible existence of biological weapons in Cuba. The analyses Westermann collected ended up being contrary, according to the Times, to what Bolton wanted to say in a speech (his “Beyond the Axis of Evil” speech) about Cuba, Libya and Syria. In response, Bolton called the analyst into his office, shouted at him, berated him and then called for his firing.
In other words, Bolton wanted to fire an analyst because they disproved Bolton’s opinion using factual evidence. Bolton did not protest because the analyses gathered were incorrect; they just happened to be facts which contradicted his opinion.

In a way, it is not surprising that a White House which coined the term “alternative facts” has chosen to appoint a man who himself appears to conflate fact and opinion. However, now Bolton, a man who manipulates facts in order to fit his political agenda, will advise President Trump on matters of national security. Taking into account the painfully evident impressionability of the president, I am deeply concerned about what Bolton’s appointment means for the future of United States foreign policy.

The New York Times editorial board said, “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton to lead the country into war,” and I wholly agree.

Let’s face it: President Trump is not good at being the president. He has no political experience (something his supporters seem to approve of), and despite writing a book named “The Art of the Deal,” he clearly cannot make deals with Democrats on the issue of immigration (especially regarding DACA and the border wall). Even conservatives and Fox News pundits like Ann Coulter, who now refers to herself as a “Former Trumper,” are starting to realize President Trump’s ineptitude.

This means that a politically experienced, manipulative and war-hungry bureaucrat like John Bolton is a dangerous man to appoint national security advisor—a position of tremendous power in the Trump White House. I am not surprised that Bolton was appointed, but I am outraged. And I am deeply concerned.

Thomas McCall is a second semester fourth-year student studying cognitive science, philosophy and math. Check out his other poorly written pieces on his Medium blog.