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News About Bush-era War Hawk Makes Comeback
- Mar 23, 2018 -

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The decision comes as a surprise, not least because Mr Trump was reported to have decided against naming Mr Bolton 

secretary of state last year as he disliked his walrus moustache.


Mr Bolton's new role will prove controversial since he remains an unapologetic cheerleader of the 2003 Iraq war, which the US 

president himself once lambasted as "a big mistake".Known for that bushy facial hair, curmudgeonly manner and tousled 

appearance, Mr Bolton is praised by conservative admirers as a straight-talking foreign policy hawk.


But the Republican was also once memorably branded by a cable television host as "a massive neocon on steroids".Kentucky 

Republican Senator Rand Paul described Mr Bolton last year in an op-ed as "hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign 

policy mistake the US has made in the last 15 years".A Baltimore fireman's son, Mr Bolton has been a staunch conservative 

from his boyhood.

 

At the age of 15 he took time off school to campaign for Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential campaign.He ruffled feathers 

in the second Bush administration where he initially worked as US Department of State under-secretary for arms control.

Mr Bolton was accused of trying to force out two intelligence analysts who disagreed with him and of seeking to undermine his 

boss, Colin Powell.He also helped build the case that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which turned 

out to be wrong.But Mr Bolton was praised for his work establishing the Proliferation Security Initiative, an international 

agreement to prohibit fissile material shipments.Nevertheless, President Bush dismayed diplomats when he named Mr Bolton as 

US ambassador to the United Nations.More than 100 former US envoys signed a letter urging senators to reject the nomination.

This was, after all, the man who had once said there was "no such thing" as the UN and called the US the world's "only real 

power".Mr Bolton had also previously declared that if the 38-storey UN building "lost 10 storeys today, it wouldn't make a bit of 

difference".President Bush had to use a recess appointment to crowbar Mr Bolton into the job in 2005 after Senate Democrats, 

and even a few Republicans, blocked the move.Diplomats at the UN privately criticised his style as abrasive.Even the state 

department was not spared the ire of Mr Bolton, who is known for his scorn of dovish multilateral institutions.

 

Mr Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, does not appear to have modified his views since his last spell in 

government.As he briefly weighed his own run for the US presidency in 2016, he maintained the American-led invasion of Iraq 

had been "correct".He also called in a New York Times op-ed for Iran to be bombed, and pilloried President Obama's nuclear 

deal with the Islamic Republic as a "diplomatic Waterloo".


In his memoir, Surrender is Not an Option, Mr Bolton railed against the "deadening Brussels bureaucracies" of the European 

Union.And in a recent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, he set out the case for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea.


His new role at the commander-in-chief's ear may perplex those who voted for Mr Trump because of his vow to avoid US military 

adventures overseas.

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