Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton is being left out of key meetings and to all intents sidelined. No surprise there. He’s deranged.
Punctuating its history, crazed warmongers – people for whom war and conflict is the acme of purpose and meaning – have occupied key positions with US political and military establishments.
Take the seventh US president, Andrew Jackson. This is a man who took savagery to new levels while serving in the US Army, earning himself the nicknames ‘Indian Killer’ and ‘Sharp Knife.’ Jackson was known to have admired the credo of the 16th century champion of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther: “No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody.”
The American Red Indians could attest to the fact that Jackson put Luther’s words into action, with the passage of the Indian Removal Act under his presidency in 1830. The act led directly to the Trail of Tears, when up to 100,000 men, women, and children were ejected from their land and forced to march west to make way for white settlers. Up to 15,000 died as a result.
In the late 19th century and early 20th, no one epitomised the beating heart of US imperialism more than Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, who served as the country’s 26th president between 1901 and 1909.
Roosevelt earned fame for his role in the Spanish-American War in Cuba 1898, where he led his volunteer regiment, known as the Rough Riders, to victory in the decisive Battle of San Juan Hill. The psychopathic, even fascistic, proclivities of one of America’s most celebrated presidents are enshrined in his own words:
“If I must choose between a policy of blood and iron and one of milk and water, why I am for the policy of blood and iron. It is better not only for the nation but in the long run for the world.”
In the early stages of the Korean War between 1950 and 1953, venerated US General Douglas MacArthur, who commanded UN forces, wanted to use nuclear weapons, boasting in 1964 that he “would have dropped between 30 to 50 tactical atomic bombs on his air bases and other depots strung across the neck of Manchuria from just across the Yalu at Antung (northwest tip of Korea) to the neighborhood of Hunchun (northeast tip of Korea near the border of the USSR).”
President Truman, no slouch himself in the ‘madman’ stakes, later, and fortunately for us, sacked his errant general, realizing, no doubt, that the asylum is not the only place where lunatics exist.
John F Kennedy, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, had a bigger challenge dealing with the clique of nutjobs within his Joint Chiefs of Staff than he did in dealing with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. Within this clique the head of the US Air Force, Curtis Le May, stood out as being the most demented, urging Kennedy to nuke Cuba regardless of the attendant risks of a Soviet response and the onset of WWIII.
Speaking of demented, in the warped mind of John Bolton the world is reduced to those countries that are bombed and those countries that bomb. If he had his way, Iraq in 2003 would have been but a prelude to a state of permanent war, involving the US attacking Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and whoever else made the mistake of believing that the world and everything in it did not belong to Washington.
According to various reports that have appeared across the mainstream media in the US, Bolton’s influence with Trump has waned most particularly over the former’s opposition to the negotiations that are being conducted with the Taliban.
Cleary the objective of undertaking a significant withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan after an 18-year long US military presence that has achieved nugatory results, either strategically or militarily, does not sit comfortably with Trump’s national security advisor. Bolton had become, according to US officials speaking anonymously, a “strong internal foe of an emerging peace deal aimed at ending America’s longest war.”
Trump, it should be recalled, was elected in 2016 on a platform of ending America’s propensity for regime change wars, conducted under previous Democratic and Republican administrations, and drawing down the expansive US military footprint across the globe.
His thinking here was based on the indubitable empirical evidence that these wars had only succeeded in making bad situations worse, fomenting instability rather than stability, while at the same time catalysing the scourge of international terrorism.
Trump, despite his trait for erratic behaviour in office, despite his volatile and capricious temperament, has never been at his most lucid and insightful than when it comes to foreign policy.
The problem is that in attempting to unpick Washington’s doctrine of full spectrum dominance, he has earned the wrath of the War Party, consisting of Democratic and Republican Party establishments, the Pentagon, and the vast intelligence community.
This, more than any other factor, is key to understanding the inordinate efforts that have and are still being made to undermine his presidency with fabricated allegations of collusion with Russia and other sundry scandals.
Trump came to office unburdened with the arid vision of the US as a military behemoth whose main contribution to the world in 2016 was the stealth bomber. Instead, the 45th President came to office viewing the world through the lens of economic opportunity, regardless of where and with whom those opportunities may lie.
In this regard, without being conscious of it, he exemplified the sage words of Britain’s 19th century statesman, Lord Palmerston: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.”
If anything, Bolton and the other dogs of war that comprise the neocon and liberal interventionist Washington establishment, stand as the eternal enemies of the American people. The bloated military budget, upon which they rely to indulge their mad fantasies of war and conflict without end, is money that could be much better invested, spent on improving infrastructure, schools, providing healthcare, and creating jobs.
Trump needs to trust his instincts more and his advisers less. On this path lies the road not to Pax Americana but sanity. Bolton, meanwhile, belongs in therapy, not political office.
By John Wight