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No Thanks to John Bolton as Secretary of State Says Senator Rand Paul

Our liberty-minded friend Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has written a powerful op-ed laying out the case why President-elect Donald Trump should not choose George W. Bush’s former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as his Secretary of State. 

Saying of Bolton, “The man is a menace,” and “At a time when Americans thirst for change and new thinking, John BoltonBolton is an old hand at failed foreign policy.” 

Senator Paul then laid-out the case against Ambassador Bolton and argued that, “President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on changing our disastrous foreign policy. To appoint John Bolton would be a major first step toward breaking that promise.” 

In Senator Paul’s view, “Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years — particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president.” 

And perhaps most importantly said Senator Paul, “John Bolton more often stood with Hillary Clinton and against what Donald Trump has advised.” 

And Senator Paul has a point. 

John Bolton has long been associated with the Bush family school of foreign policy thinking and is a leading member of the post-Reagan neo-con Republican national security elite, whose operative philosophy seems to be, “Why have an Army (or Air Force, or Navy or Marine Corps) if you don’t use it.” 

As Rand Paul pointed out, “Bolton was one of the loudest advocates of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and still stupefyingly insists it was the right call 13 years later. “I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct,” Senator Paul noted Bolton said this just last year. 

In 2011, Bolton bashed Obama “for his refusal to directly target Gaddafi” and declared, “there is a strategic interest in toppling Gaddafi… But Obama missed it.”  

In fact, Obama subsequently took Bolton’s advice and bombed the Libyan dictator into the next world. Secretary of State Clinton bragged, “We came, we saw, he died.” 

Now Libya is a failed state and one of the larger ungoverned spaces in the Muslim world where Islamists have established bases to pursue their war on the West. 

When Trump was asked last year if Libya and the region would be more stable today with Gaddafi in power, he replied “100 percent.”  

Mr. Trump is 100 percent right says Senator Paul, while noting that no man is more out of touch with the situation in the Middle East or more dangerous to our national security than Bolton. 

Senator Paul was also critical of Ambassador Bolton’s approach to Syria and Russia, saying, “All nuance is lost on the man. The fact that Russia has had a base in Syria for 50 years doesn’t deter Bolton from calling for all out, no holds barred war in Syria. Bolton criticized the current administration for offering only a tepid war. For Bolton, only a hot-blooded war to create democracy across the globe is demanded.” 

Woodrow Wilson would be proud, observed Senator Paul, “but the parents of our soldiers should be mortified. War should be the last resort, never the first. War should be understood to be a hell no one wishes for.” 

Dwight Eisenhower understood this when he wrote, “I hate war like only a soldier can, the stupidity, the banality, the futility,” noted Paul. 

Bolton would not understand this because, charged the Senator, like many of his generation, he used every privilege to avoid serving himself.  

Senator Paul noted that John Bolton once said, with the threat of the Vietnam draft over his head, that “he had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy.”  

But charged Senator Paul, Ambassador Bolton seems to be okay with your son or daughter dying wherever his neoconservative impulse leads us: “Even before the Iraq War, John Bolton was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives’ war-and-conquest agenda,” wrote The American Conservative’s Jon Utley. 

The true statesman realizes, concluded Senator Paul, that war is sometimes necessary, but as a country, we should resist any would-be leader, such as John Bolton, who wants to bomb now and think later.

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