John Bolton needs to step down as National Security Adviser before he kills us all. He's a dangerous idealogue who has been spoiling for war with Iran for over a decade.
Josh Marshall spells it out:
Bolton is a caricature of a militarist and warmonger. He is sometimes classed with the so-called “neo-conservatives” who played the central role getting the country into the Iraq War. This isn’t really correct, either in classification or historical terms. For all their shortcomings many of the leading neoconservative policy hands and intellectuals were big on democracy promotion – often in foolish ways, usually only when it was convenient and mainly in Europe. But this is at least part of the worldview. (If you think I have a sympathetic or rosy-eyed view of these folks, I do not. Read this article from the eve of the Iraq War to get a sense of that.) Bolton doesn’t come from that worldview, as limited and as disastrous as it has proven. In really every context he is for hard US dominance, unilateralism and war as the preferred course of action. Again, he’s really the caricature of a militarist, the kind of one-dimensional, clownishly hawkish type who gets described in small circulation left-wing magazines but can’t possibly exist in real life, only he does exist and his name is John Bolton.
The second point is equally important. He’s no fool. He’s a very bright guy. And – critically important – he’s a master of bureaucratic politics. The main failing of the top Trumpers is that they are mostly ill-prepared clowns. Ill-prepared clowns can do immense damage. But there have been numerous instances in the last couple years in which big Trump administration initiatives got derailed or delayed simply because of bad lawyering or bureaucratic ineptitude. There are lots of examples of that on the immigration front, for instance.
Trump is stupid, though, and just as likely to defer to Bolton and his oil and gas buddies as not. As digby observes:
It's Bolton's baby and Trump is distracted watching Fox News and thinking up nicknames for his campaign rivals. But he is still the president and he could easily give the green light on a whim and Bolton and his crew could carry it out. It's the type of "guns of August" scenario we've all been worried about from the moment we realized this orange miscreant was going to be president. Hopefully, this will blow over but it illustrates just how precarious the situation really is.
Bolton was spoiling for war with Iran all the time President Obama was carving the Iran nuclear deal. He'd just as soon see the world nuked as honor Iran's sovereignty.
What everyone needs to understand, particularly young people who wouldn't necessarily have a clue of what Bolton did in past administrations, is that he is perfectly capable of convincing Trump to send them to Iran to die a hideous death in war. He has got to go before he starts World War III, and he should take Pompeo with him.