John Bolton‘s bushy white moustache reigns supreme. It is everything, the all of the guy, the whole magilla. You can explain it away as an aesthetic decision that Bolton made decades ago, privately, most likely in his bathroom. He simply decided he looked better with it, but what’s “better” in this context? There’s something staunch and strutting and ultra-adamant about that ‘stache, something militant and even San Juan Hill-ish, amounting to a kind of declaration of independence from calm, sensible assessments of the intentions of foreign powers.
“Famously hawkish” is a common description of the man; I would say “fiendishly” based on my gut sense of who he really is.
Bolton is, of course, Donald Trump‘s new National Security Advisor-designate. He’ll reportedly begin the job on 4.9.18.
From Michael Wolff‘s “Fire and Fury“: “[Bolton is] a bomb thrower,” said Roger Ailes. “And a strange little fucker. But you need him. Who else is good on Israel? Flynn is a little nutty on Iran. Tillerson just knows oil.”
“Bolton’s mustache is a problem,” snorted Bannon. “Trump doesn’t think he looks the part. You know Bolton is an acquired taste.”
“Well, he got in trouble because he got in a fight in a hotel one night and chased some woman.”
“If I told Trump that,” Bannon said slyly, “he might have the job.”
Consider the Bolton assessments by syndicated columnist Mark Shields and mildly conservative N.Y. Times columnist David Brooks on last night’s PBS News Hour with Judy Woodruff:
Shields: “John Bolton is not just ideologically fixed where he’s been. Unlike his apparent foes within the administration, Jim Mattis, secretary of defense, and Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, he has never comforted anybody dying in battle. He’s never written to a next of kin. He avoided military service himself. “Yet [military action] is his prescription for virtually every situation that arises, whether it’s North Korea or Iraq, for which he has never apologized [i.e., alleged weapons of mass destruction], for which he was a relentless advocate, and wrong.
“So, I just think, temperamentally, Judy, he is the worst possible choice that Donald Trump could make. He is brutal to people who work with him. And I just think, what he is, is he’s a flatterer. And Donald Trump, we know, is incredibly susceptible to flattery.
Brooks: “When [Bolton] served under the Bush administration, he was a relentless foe of sort of the Republican establishment, the Colin Powells. He was a relentless foe of the conservatives, of the neoconservatives, who believed in democracy and human rights. He was an old-style what we call paleocon, power vs. power kind of conservative. So, Trump at least got somebody he agrees with.
“Temperamentally, I agree with Mark. He was famously thought of as a kiss-up, kick-down kind of guy. He was famously thought of as someone who didn’t look at issues honestly, look at intelligence honestly, but came with a highly ideological predisposition.
“I don’t think he’s the worst thing in the world. He comes across [on] a lot of issues that I do think seriously increases the chance that we will have some military action in North Korea and Iran. But he’s not a complete loon. He just has a bellicose, old-style, ‘we need just to be more powerful than anybody else around and we need to threaten that power all the time’, which, when you take…combine it with a temperamentally unstable president, that’s a dangerous combination.