April 12, 2018 | Quoted by Tom Rogan - The Washington Examiner

John Bolton: A complex worldview that just might work for Trump

Long before John Bolton was named as President Trump's new national security adviser, a position he assumes on Monday, his name sparked diametrically opposite reactions in Washington.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, neoconservative scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who was an acquaintance of Bolton's when they were colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute, says Bolton is “not really interested in democracy” but rather in the binding of American sovereignty and security. Gerecht offers the anecdote of a trip to France with Bolton and another AEI scholar, Gary Schmitt, during the Iraq War.

“We were being interviewed by French journalists,” Gerecht explains, “and the journalist asked John his opinion about whether Iraq could become a functioning democracy under American guidance. John pointed to Gary and me and said, 'That’s not for me. Ask them.'”

While Gerecht said Bolton is both “tenacious” and predisposed to “ruffling feathers,” he rejects as “false” the suggestion that Bolton has no regard for foreign allies. On the contrary, Bolton cares particularly about effective “transatlantic diplomacy.”

Gerecht disagrees, saying that the 69-year-old Bolton “knows how to work the system” and has “never been fearful of debate” and thus is not as likely as critics assume to throw dissenting voices overboard. One compensating influence here might be Mike Pompeo's arrival at State Department headquarters in Foggy Bottom.

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