John Bolton, US President Donald Trump’s incoming hawkish national security adviser, is reportedly planning a massive dismissal of staff at the National Security Council, aiming to remove dozens of White House officials.
Sources aware of the changes told the Foreign Policy magazine that Bolton is preparing to “clean house” and remove nearly all of the political appointees brought in by his predecessor, H.R. McMaster.
McMaster had replaced Michael Flynn in February 2017 after he was forced to resign over contacts he had with the Russian government during Trump's presidential transition.
“Bolton can and will clean house,” one former White House official told Foreign Policy. One other source said, “He is going to remove almost all the political [appointees] McMaster brought in.”
Another former official said that any National Security Council officials appointed under former President Barack Obama “should start packing their s**t.”
Trump announced McMaster's replacement on Thursday, making Bolton his third national security adviser since coming to office and continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history.
A history of bellicosity
Bolton’s views have widely been described as neoconservative and hawkish, and similar Trump.
Bolton, an outspoken advocate of military action who served in the administration of former US president George W. Bush, has called for action against Iran and North Korea.
While serving under former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Bolton was also both a cheerleader and early architect of the Iraq war.
In a February op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Bolton made the "legal case for striking North Korea first" to stop what he deems an "imminent threat" from the nation's nuclear program.
Bolton is also strongly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal and has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic.
“He is unabashed about this,” said Mark Groombridge, a former top adviser to Bolton at the State Department and United Nations pointing to his views on preemptive warfare.
“He has no problems with the doctrine of preemption and feels the greatest threat that the United States faces is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
The Washington Post reports that at the White House, Bolton is likely to reinforce Trump’s “America First” view of the world. Both Trump and Bolton share a long-standing animosity toward any treaties, international laws or alliances that limit America’s freedom to act on the world stage.
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