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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2959

John Bolton’s Exit: fast revolving door at the White House and dizzy spells in foreign policy

By Hemantha Yapa Abeywardena writes from London

John Bolton, who was fired this week by his boss up until then, President Trump, did not intend to go quietly, when he publicly contradicted the latter on the events that preceded the ultimate humiliation.
Since firing and resigning are the two sides of the same coin, only one version could be true and only time will let us know what it could be.

Mr Bolton, with his characteristically-unique moustache, has always been an easily recognizable personality, in the arena of global politics. His rigid stance on the known US adversaries is uncompromising and the style of foreign policy implementation was pretty orthodox.

Although his political instincts shaped up his views on key policy issues, ranging from the US position on North Korea to Iran and Russia, his in-depth knowledge in the stuff he is supposed to be aware of was without a match; in short, he was a committed academic in that realm.

Mr Bolton used to effortlessly articulate his position and that of the US in the forums that really count; his tactical skills and the steely determination to achieve the strategic goals while letting the country walk along geo-political minefield are indisputable.

He was often portrayed as a hawk by both moderate Republicans, independent observers and of course, Democrats owing to his uncompromising stance on regime changes. They waste no time in blaming the spectacular military failures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya on him, as he advocated the military intervention in sorting out the challenges to the US in the early 90s.

The fact that he fought back after President Trump tweeted about his dismissal indicates Mr Bolton is not going to go away quietly from the public domain. On the contrary, he seems to be continuing his political activities as if nothing happened, which may cause a headache for President Trump when he is planning to run for the second term.

It’s quite possible that Mr Bolton may even write a book about his life at the White House during his tumultuous 17 months as the National Security Adviser. Since it can appeal to the Republican base in the US, President Trump may find it very unhelpful at a crucial time when he seeks re-election.

With the departure of the seasoned diplomat, the list of vacancies in key positions at the White House is steadily expanding; diplomats hold some significant posts in ‘acting’ capacity and President Trump shows no remorse for the continuation of the status quo.

In an unprecedented twist, meanwhile, there were reports about the existence of Sting Ray devices near the White House, which could be used to listen to mobile conversations that go around the premises, something blamed on Israeli Intelligence Services.

The news prompted Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to issue a public denial saying that his nation never spies on the US.

It’s well-known that Mr Bolton was a great friend of Israel, who had a visceral, intense hatred for Iran. In this context, the abrupt departure of Mr Bolton and the way the move was welcome by Iran may have rattled the Jewish state to the core, as the development leaves the door wide open for unconditional talks between the US and Iran.


Before being elected, Mr Trump insisted on hiring what he called ‘smart people’ for the key positions in his administration, while blaming his predecessors for hiring ‘political hacks’ for them.

President Trump, having been true to his word, did hire ‘smart’ people. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Jeff Sessions and John Kelly were some competent people in their respective fields. Unfortunately, their time at the White House was unusually short and the sudden departures were unprecedented.

The quick arrivals – and departures – of the officials at the White House clearly show the metaphorical revolving door at the corridors of power is turning much faster than it should and may show wear and tear due to its over-use in the coming months, perhaps making an irksome noise for every nation that looks up to the US for playing a leading role in global affairs.

- ASian Tribune -

John Bolton’s Exit: fast revolving door at the White House and dizzy spells in foreign policy
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