Rex Tillerson was the only secretary of state to be fired; James ‘mad dog’ Mattis wrote a strongly worded resignation letter rebuking Trump foreign policy behaviour, and became the first ever Secretary of Defence to resign in protest; Michael Flynn resigned after being embroiled in the Mueller Report, misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his links with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – and is rumoured to have told Trump “Iran, sir” when the new U.S. president called out “Mike, who are the bad guys in the Middle East?”.
And then there is John Bolton, a frustrated old man who believed he could redeem himself from draft dodging by starting a war with Iran. His golden moment with Trump which really made him look the fool he looks was probably his comment to the North Korean dictator about following the Libya model and what the U.S. did to Gaddafi when he fell out of line.
Bolton is probably the most unremarkable National Security Advisor America has ever had. Trump, to his credit, didn’t take his advice on key matters like Afghanistan, North Korea and, importantly, Iran where the U.S. president was minutes away from pressing the button and starting an all-out war in the Gulf.
What Bolton’s book tells us about the man is that he is a craven, self-serving individual who is only really interested in promoting himself. When the world needed Bolton the most, at the Mueller inquiry, he shied away from the cameras and the publicity and this is what Americans will remember him for.
The chronicles of his book are amusing, but of course are based on a revengeful, spiteful agenda of bringing Trump down, as, unlike others, Bolton chose to specifically publish months before the election, rather than in the weeks after it.
Trump not knowing that the UK was a nuclear power or where Finland was is quite funny, but not really shocking. Bolton of course paints a picture of Trump being a rambunctious cretin who could barely master the remote control on his own gorilla TV console, let alone understand the complexities of a trade agreement with even his most loyal sycophants like Mike Pompeo even writing in a memo that the president was “full of shit”.
All very amusing and which today is accumulating to become an aggregate source of satire probably for the next 30 years as America comes to terms with the fact that the U.S. president has the mental age of a demented primate and is tormented by torrents of insecurity and low self-esteem and can only visually grasp information if it is shaped so as to accentuate his enfeebled personality.
It really is all about Trump. And this is the darker side of the Bolton book which is worrying. Bolton doesn’t really reveal anything shocking, but merely confirms what we’re all really very worried about: Trump really is as self-obsessed like all mad dictators around the world.
And on that subject, the huge let down of the book is how Bolton confirms that the Democrats just stopped short of impeachment being successful if they would have gone the full nine yards and dug deeper. In reality the scandal of the Ukraine affair whereby Trump holds back aid in exchange for political favours was duplicated with other leaders around the world, like Erdogan in Turkey and in particular China. One of the reasons why Trump went to extraordinary lengths initially to speak up for the Chinese is a misunderstanding over whether Xi would help him secure a second term; when it became clear that the Chinese leader had no intention of doing that, and that, in fact, due to corona could barely keep his end of the bargain on the so-called ‘art of the deal’ Trump-China trade deal, then Donald threw a massive tantrum and hit China with sanctions over the very issue which he previously supported, Muslim concentration camps.
Bolton reveals that almost every single decision, no matter how small, were viewed through a tawdry prism of re-election at any cost – with a claim by him that Trump had ideas of running for three terms and was looking at how to re-write the constitution.
But the real stand-off between these two men came on Iran. Bolton obviously wanted a war with Iran after Tehran shot down a 130m dollar U.S. drone. Trump just saw body bags and a thwarted re-election and so the seeds of discourse were sown, which perhaps led to other decision of a similar vain. No one to this day in America can explain Trump pulling out of Afghanistan and making the Taliban – and enemy of 19 years – now a partner in “fighting terrorism”. Perhaps Trump is not merely stupid, which the book asserts quite vociferously, with numerous anecdotes of him failing to grasp simple facts that a high school kid could master, but actually losing his mind. Has dementia set in? The constant confusion in Afghanistan as Trump repeatedly confused the former President with the new one troubled Bolton.
Yet, a big part of painting a picture of Trump being a useful idiot is to promote Bolton as smart and noble, which the reader struggles to swallow in the end. Bolton was in the room where all this happened and didn’t have the balls to stand up to Trump on most of the stupid things Donald did as President. And that has to be a stain on Bolton’s character and something which tarnishes this kiss-and-tell tome. Most people who Trump hires are under-achievers, weak, sycophants who all have one thing in common: corrupt, like Trump himself. The king roach attracts a certain type of weak and delusional understudy whose chief performing skills are to lick boots and occasionally steal the limelight. Some master the art of staying in the job like Pompeo who my sources tell me has ambitions himself in the Oval Office. Read the book, but hold only contempt for Bolton, a fidgeting weasel of no great talent who really managed to achieve nothing while in office and who really should rename the book The room where I watched and did nothing.