John Bolton is exactly what Trump promised

An unabashed nationalist picked a bloodthirsty warmonger for national security adviser. This is not surprising.

John Bolton
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The negative reaction to President Trump's choice of John Bolton to be his new national security advisor has been as unsurprising as it has been swift and overwhelming. How overwhelming? As Jacob Heilbrunn writes in The National Interest, "Here's just how radical Donald Trump's appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor really is: The Financial Times reports that even Iran hawks such as Mark Dubowitz, the head of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, are rubbing their eyes in disbelief."

Disbelief may be spreading in certain precincts on the Trump-friendly right as well. As Daniel McCarthy, former editor-in-chief of The American Conservative — a magazine founded by right-wing opponents of the second President Bush's foreign policy — points out, Trump, like Obama before him, owed a considerable portion of his success to his opposition to the Iraq War. That opposition may have been more belated than Trump himself admits, but once engaged it was certainly full-throated. McCarthy enthusiastically supported Trump precisely because of the radical break he represented with Washington orthodoxy on foreign policy, as well as other issues like immigration and trade. A return of the most war-obsessed neoconservatives was surely not what such voters expected.

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Noah Millman

Noah Millman is a screenwriter and filmmaker, a political columnist and a critic. From 2012 through 2017 he was a senior editor and featured blogger at The American Conservative. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Politico, USA Today, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Modern Age, First Things, and the Jewish Review of Books, among other publications. Noah lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.