The absurd and exaggerated outrage by Democrats and some in the media over President Trump’s selection of former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to become his next national security adviser has reached ridiculous proportions. This prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to engage in a bit of wry humor Thursday on meeting Bolton.
“It’s good to finally meet you,” Mattis joked when Bolton arrived to see him at the Pentagon. “I heard that you’re actually the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
Mattis was clearly kidding. Unfortunately, former President Jimmy Carter wasn’t when he launched a hyperbolic attack on Bolton earlier this week.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” President Carter said: “I think his (President Trump’s) last choice for national security adviser was very ill-advised. I think John Bolton has been the worst mistake he's made."
Well, at least President Carter is consistent. He’s been consistently wrong time and time again over the decades, and he seems determined to keep his record of misjudgments intact.
I don’t know if President Carter has ever met John Bolton or how much he knows about the former ambassador. I’ve known John Bolton for 17 years. We served together at the State Department from 2001 until 2005, and then at the United Nations when he was the U.S. ambassador and I was the U.N.’s undersecretary general for management.
Throughout our time working together, I saw a man of terrific courage, uncommon integrity, indefatigable intensity, and singleness of mind to advance an agenda of good government and the safety of our citizens. To those like President Carter who decry his appointment, I would say: We need more John Boltons, not fewer.
At the U.N., with Bolton on the outside of the Secretariat and me on the inside, we tag-teamed to cajole, urge, advocate for, push, and pass some of the most sweeping reforms in a generation.
Together, we worked to bring accountability, governance and ethics training to the U.N. We succeeded in getting the U.N. to create an ethics office, write and implement whistleblower protection and new rules against sexual harassment.
In addition, we led the effort that got the U.N. to implement new audit standards and a new audit and accounting system. And our work resulted in the U.N. adopting the transparency that we have come to take for granted in democracies.
Previously, as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, Bolton personally led the effort to draft and implement the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a critical component of making sure terrorists could not slip missiles or weapons of mass destruction into our country or any other country.
Born from the U.S.’s inability in 2002 to stop North Korea from shipping Scud missiles to Yemen, Bolton led the effort to rally key European allies and adopt the PSI so that never again would we be unable to stop and search commercial vessels suspected of being fronts for rogue nations.
The key to his success was Bolton’s idea to do this not by a multilateral treaty taking years to adopt, but by negotiating agreements with the nations that flag most of the commercial vessels that ply the oceans.
You can thank John Bolton for keeping our ports, and those of our allies, safe as a result – and at least slowing down the destabilizing efforts of the North Korean regime.
Perhaps one of the most laughable sore points of the left came when Bolton said almost 25 years ago: “The (U.N.) Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
At that time, the U.N. was caught in a time-warp of 1950 – ineffective and inefficient, and at times tragically feckless. Does anyone on the left need any more evidence than the slaughter – two months after Bolton made that remark – of over 800,000 men, women and children in the minority Tutsi community in Rwanda? There is not a worse moment in the history of the U.N. than 1994.
Contrary to the hyperbole coming out of the left and media commentators, Bolton is not a hawk determined to push the U.S. into war. But he certainly understands that peace was never achieved and maintained through weakness.
For example, after 32 years of meeting and talking on and on, Democratic and Republican U.S. administrations have made zero progress in their quest to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
But now President Trump has a chance to actually get something done with his policy of firmness and strength. Bolton has the opportunity to play a major role supporting the president.
Bolton correctly understands that only through concerted pressure – not only economic and diplomatic, but also military – will North Korea be stopped. And he knows the goal is to never to have to use military power.
If anyone can achieve the goal of the nuclear disarmament of North Korea (and it may well be out of reach after all these years) the team of President Trump and John Bolton can. Bolton will be the most experienced national security adviser in decades – from his service to our country at the U.S. Agency for International Development, at the Department of Justice, at the State Department and at the United Nations.
If the left wants to blame Bolton for something, blame him for being too intensely dedicated to keeping America safe and strong. Blame him for always putting the American people first. Blame him for being a great American patriot.
As a Marine combat veteran of the First Gulf War, I say with total confidence that there is no better friend to have in your foxhole than John Bolton, and no fiercer foe if you are the enemy. President Trump has made a wise choice to be his national security adviser.