If the President Won’t Reverse Course on Bolton, Congress Must Step in to Limit Bolton’s Extremist Impact

March 22, 2018

John Bolton is a completely inappropriate choice for any role related to America’s security interests and its relations with the rest of the world. We are horrified by his selection to be National Security Advisor and believe this move by the president gravely imperils our country’s national standing and the fundamental security of the United States and its allies, including Israel.

Bolton’s long track-record shows him to be hostile to the notion of diplomacy itself. He is an unabashed advocate for premature, unnecessary and dangerous use of military force in the Middle East and around the globe.

Bolton was one of the earliest champions of “regime change” in Iraq. He helped promote false information that led to the disastrous US invasion of that country, a decision he continues to defend to this day. He has applied the same attitude and approach to Iran, publicly advocating in 2015 to “bomb Iran” and insisting that diplomacy could never succeed in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, even as negotiations to defang Iran’s nuclear program without firing a shot were just weeks away from reaching fruition.

Even as the nuclear agreement with Iran has been implemented and deemed a success by US security officials and many members of the Israeli security establishment, Bolton has opposed it and called on the president to abrogate it. That step would undo a major diplomatic accomplishment, isolate the US from our allies and potentially put Iran back on the path to a nuclear weapon and the United States again on the path to another costly war.

Bolton has shown little understanding for the challenges that Israel faces if it is to remain a secure and democratic homeland for the Jewish people. He has opposed US leadership toward a two-state solution and savaged the efforts the Obama administration made to help bring Israelis and Palestinians closer to that longstanding bipartisan goal.

In addition to his extreme and out-of-touch policy views, Bolton demonstrated during his time as US Ambassador to the United Nations that he is incapable of behaving diplomatically or upholding the reputation and foreign policy interests of the United States. His tenure in that position is widely viewed as an embarrassing and damaging period for our country, and he has been widely denounced by American diplomats who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Putting Bolton at the head of our nation’s national security apparatus, where he would have an immeasurable impact on US relations with other countries and their leaders, should be out of the question.

We note that the Senate in 2005 refused to confirm the nomination of Bolton as UN ambassador, and that he served only as a recess appointee.

We call on the president to reverse course, but, knowing he is unlikely to do so, we urge Congress to take all appropriate steps to limit his ability to carry out the extremist agenda that Bolton has long championed.

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