Trump and Bolton: The Odd Couple

By: - September 11, 2019

You wondered.

A guy who campaigned almost as a national security libertarian, who criticized the Iraq War and foreign adventurism. And another guy who was as gung ho as they come, an old GOP war hawk who well served every Republican president since Reagan. Not to mention, the dead giveaway Teddy Roosevelt facial hair.

To paraphrase the 1970 intro to the television show, “Can two Republican men share an administration without driving each other crazy?”

Apparently not.

Given that one of those men is the POTUS, the other eventually was going to have to leave. John Bolton left yesterday. I’m surprised it took this long. Neil Simon, call your office.

Their estrangement mirrors a chasm and a schizophrenia in the GOP. The divide is between the Cold War types and the America Firsters. I can see both sides, as I and other conservatives are a bit in both camps. We Cold Warriors saw the folly in Iraq and don’t think the U.S. need go running about wildly expending men and material chasing every varmint that appears on the global scene. We Trump supporters understand the need to maintain a forward defense and do not take kindly to legitimate American interests being challenged anywhere in the world.

What’s a conservative to do?

Well, if one conservative works for the other he gets with the program.

Bolton wouldn’t. He consistently advised policies that the president was on record against. He did not understand that Trump is a deal maker, not an ideologue like himself.

The former National Security Advisor never quite got that we won the Cold War and thus fulfilled to the max, arguably for the third time in a century, our free-world leadership duty. As such, it is still time to work with our allies and safeguard, though unilaterally if necessary, our priorities. But it is also high time to ask ourselves, before jumping into a foreign fray or letting anachronistic Manichean thinking take the lead, is this move actually and truly in the American national interest?

Trump gets that. He is the man of the time.

Bolton is a good man, but his time has passed. Bon voyage, Teddy. Cool mustache.