Donald Trump wanted to draw down American involvement around the world. John Bolton wanted America everywhere. That relationship is now over.
The hardline now-former US national security adviser to the Trump administration, John Bolton, has been fired — if you believe Trump’s version of events.
I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) September 10, 2019
I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
But whichever version is accurate, the next national security adviser will be the fourth in the Trump administration since he was sworn in as president in 2017.
“I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration,” Trump said, adding, “I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.”
The dramatic announcement on Twitter took many by surprise.
Bolton was initially passed over as secretary of state in 2016 due to his moustache; Trump eventually overcame his aversion to facial hair to give him another influential and powerful position in April 2018.
Bolton was among a crop of neoconservatives previously employed by the George W Bush administration that dominate in Washington; he had a particularly hawkish stand on a range of foreign policy issues, particularly Iran.
Initially, when he entered into office, many saw it as a sign that war with Iran was more likely. When news broke that Bolton had been fired, the price of oil dropped dramatically.
You can literally see the price of oil drop when John Bolton got fired. pic.twitter.com/gXs60wy0HP— Eric (@NotEricWagner) September 10, 2019
So what are some of the reasons that Bolton was fired?
Bolton’s departure comes a few days after the Trump administration abruptly called off a Taliban visit to Camp David, which would have announced the agreement. Bolton it emerged was opposed to the visit so close to the 9/11 anniversary.
More broadly, Bolton had opposed signing a peace deal with the Taliban, arguing that the Taliban could not be trusted. Bolton’s view of American power has been and remains to be that Pax-America is a force that should be globally omnipresent, shaping it in Uncle Sam’s image.
Donald Trump has become increasingly desperate to score a massive foreign policy success. Ending America’s longest war and drawing down troops from Afghanistan is his best hope after diplomatic efforts with North Korea have fizzled out.
Bolton was one of the chief architects when it came to abandoning the Iranian nuclear deal.
Donald Trump would often apparently quip to aids, “If it was up to John, we'd be in four wars now.”
According to an article in Axios, Trump believes that Bolton was a bargaining chip he could use to get a better deal.
"He thinks that Bolton's bellicosity and eagerness to kill people is a bargaining chip when he's sitting down with foreign leaders. Bolton can be the bad cop and Trump can be the good cop. Trump believes this to his core."
Many in Iran see Bolton’s departure as a glimmer of hope. The Iranian Foreign Minister took to Twitter, “the world—minus 3 or 2 panicked cohorts—was breathing a sigh of relief over ouster of #B_Team's henchman in the White House.”
As the world—minus 3 or 2 panicked cohorts—was breathing a sigh of relief over ouster of #B_Team's henchman in the White House, Pompeo & Mnuchin declared further escalation of #EconomicTerrorism against Iran.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 11, 2019
Thirst for war—maximum pressure—should go with the warmonger-in-chief. pic.twitter.com/im8gXJIxEn
Bolton’s view on Iran, albeit less hawkish, spans across the Trump administration. While threats of war may have receded, the Trump administration is determined to cripple Iran economically.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf will continue to escalate, North Korea is continuing to develop its weapons capabilities, and we could see a new nuclear arms race with Russia, and there are no signs of a breakthrough in trade talks between the US and China.