The announcement that Trump is expected to nominate John Bolton as Deputy Secretary of State destroys any hope for a movement towards peace. While Trump rightly criticized the Iraq War, Bolton defends it unconditionally, his only complaint being that the U.S. employed too much restraint. In a New York Times op-ed, Bolton argued for the preemptive bombing of Iran, and advocated military intervention and regime change in Syria. It would be hard to find a more war-hungry choice for the State Department, short of John McCain.
Throughout the 2016 election, Donald Trump made an effort to distinguish himself from his opponents in the area of foreign policy. In contrast to Ted “let’s make the sand glow” Cruz and Jeb “my brother can do no wrong” Bush, Trump criticized the Iraq War and called for less intervention in foreign conflicts. During the general election, he was quick to point out Hillary Clinton’s record of death as Secretary of State and relentless hawkishness, instead asking for a less adversarial relationship with countries like Russia. These positions suckered some into thinking Trump would be a hero of non-interventionist foreign policy. But to those who were initially taken in by Trump’s apparent anti-establishment leanings, the choice of John Bolton should be a clear wakeup call.