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John Bolton puts his unique seal on Trump's National Security Council



John Bolton National Security Adviser meets President Trump and Chilean President on September 28, 2018 at the Oval Office (Oliver Contreras / The The Washington Post)

As President Trump's National Security Advisor, John Bolton was the main translator of Trump's extraordinary foreign policy to the huge bureaucracy of the United States.

For his critics, Bolton whispered in a whisper to Trump's ear, witnessing President Bolton's preferred strategies in world affairs.

For his supporters, he is a consultant who knows his place, giving advice, but never force the President's hand carefully.

Assessing Bolton's term of office as he approaches his first anniversary, reveals both the breadth of his influence and the limitations of some remarkable cases, such as North Korean politics.

The contradictions of Bolton's possession are related to Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea last week's Hanoi Summit.

Bolton rightly reiterated Trump's assessment that the summit was a success. But he gave little help to the verdict or to the President's approach without saying that Trump was "still optimistic" at CNN's Sunday interview.

He asked if the summit's effort was worth it, Bolton took over.

"Obviously worth trying," Bolton said about the president.

They asked whether Kim insisted that Otto Warmbier's American college student die, Bolton refused Trump, who said he had pronounced Kim.

– My opinion doesn't matter. . . , "he said." I'm not a national security decision maker. That's it [Trump’s] View."

Everything known about Bolton's views and tools is that, for decades, he has been a particularly criminal in Washington's foreign policy wars – a high-level government bureaucrat, a political activist, and a Fox News commentator – self-actualization.

But if Bolton did not always feel his heart, then it was not an attempt. According to the interviews, more than a dozen current and former administrative officials who discussed the record had rethinked the national supervisor work of the synthesizer and the mediator of government views to make sure what the president believes. anonymity talk honestly. Bolton refused to ask this article.

He dropped to a minimum meeting, where the top national security officials are present and raise the president's chances. In some cases, the supervisors were replaced in detail by the National Security Council with other agencies with ideological spiritual partners who have little experience at the highest level of political decision-making.

His attitude to work, as well as the president refusing to read lengthy information or consulting with experts, gave Bolton great power in an often disordered foreign policy process.

"He represents one position and challenges people to talk about it," added a senior White House official who worked closely with him.

Even if the president rejected his North Korean advice, Bolton won several fundamental issues, such as arms control and the dismantling of multilateral treaties, which for decades have been enthusiastic about his passion.

At the hour, the administration pulled out significant agreements with Russia and Iran. In September, the International Criminal Court declared us "dead." It has developed a Venezuelan policy that has, for the past few weeks, been mostly about Cuba, a long-term Bolton destination.

He played a central role in the administration's efforts to reduce cooperation with the United Nations and the organization Bolton has long been dying and corrupting.

Some officials said Trump was fiercely provoking that Bolton had pursued an independent foreign policy that was not always in line with the administration's "America First" agenda and made him public about the Middle East and North Korean announcements. Funny warned Bolton not to start any war. But there are no indications that Trump is considering him.

Meanwhile, the White House chief, John F. Kelly and defense secretary, Jim Mattis, strong supporters of close cooperation with allies, confirmed Bolton's position. Former marine generals were often told that they often clashed with Bolton and the net result of their departure was to further reduce the number of voices affecting the president.

Sprinting at the Oval Office

A moment ago, the Trump government's chaotic Syrian debate highlighted Bolton's power and exercise last year. In April, Trump promised to "soon" withdraw all US troops from Syria, but it seemed that, in the midst of the Pentagon and the Ministry of State, the Islamic state was not defeated.

Bolton fell to clarify his executive policy.

In a typical public administration, the National Security Advisor convenes the President and senior cabinet officials in situations, balances the differences and organizes a strategy.

But the Trump Presidency is far from typical. Since his arrival at the White House, following the withdrawal of Trump, Bolton insisted that the primary enemy in Syria is not the Islamic state, but Iran.

The most important moment was a meeting last summer, which remains secret. Bolton said that senior Syrian politicians are the Trump a non-note meeting held in July with Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that US troops stay in Syria until Moscow lift up its allies in Iran – an ambitious statement that could keep the Americans for years. Without questioning Bolton's account, the Pentagon and the Ministry of State officials refined a strategy that made Iran's departure the primary goal of the 2000 American presence.

"We will not leave Iranian troops outside the Iranian borders," Bolton told reporters in September, "and this includes the Iranian proxy and militias." "On board" and "not in a hurry" to leave Syria.

However, Trump has never approved a strategy for the withdrawal of troops from Iran, according to several senior officials. In December, he surprised many foreign policy teams by contradicting him in a "tweet": "It's time to bring our great youth home!"

It's still not clear today what Trump said to Putin.

Bolton's usual reputation as a blunt and impatient, at least equal or lower status, came last year to the White House. "I waited for the shawls," one former NSC staffer said.

But when Bolton introduced himself to an introductory meeting, he expressed his courageous interest in the fact that this staffer division "did everything I heard," the staffer said. When he took office, Bolton said he was in "student mode" with a former senior official, Bolton and his predecessor, H.R.

"Personally, he's a nice guy," said the official, though it soon turned out that Bolton had "a completely different style of driving." he left or stood with Kelly on his side to prove that the two were not involved in the mortal struggle. With the exception of the September internal staff award ceremony, many colleagues did not remember Bolton.

Many NSC staff said they rarely, if ever, spoke to Bolton because he made early introductory rounds.

"The office door is always open from the office door, it's always closed," one of McMaster's switch to Bolton said. When Bolton relied on the staff, he worked mostly with the directors of the Middle East and Asia, focusing on Iran, North Korea and China, where he had long supported several confrontational policies.

From the beginning of his botany, his owner collapsed with huge binders into his spiritual wing office. When he arrives in front of the president, he usually closed his door in hours to spin the daily newspapers and intelligence.

When Trump got up, Bolton often ran to the Oval Office. "If you were in the lobby outside your office, you will see that it will run," a senior administrative officer said.

Unlike the President, who often breaks the conservative orthodoxy, Bolton, 70, takes over his conservative credentials and pulls his bona fides back when he was a teenage supporter of Barry Goldwater. As part of George W. Bush's legal team during the controversial 2000 elections, Bolton became the incoming vice president of Richard B. Cheney, who contributed to assisting him in the work of a senior public class.

Bolton often clashed with Secretary of State Colin Powell and described himself as a sharp conductor of a bureaucratic process. "This makes some criticism really wild," he once said to an interviewer, "because they didn't know about the process errors." . . . I am proud to be a good bureaucracy.

Fred Fleitz, Chief of Staff of Bolton NSC in November, said Bolton's model as National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. Scowcroft was known for his bosses' perspectives, and the Democrat and Republicans welcomed the work.

But many believe that Bolton is the opposite of Scowcroft.

From the outset, a former senior executive said Bolton "told the NSC boards of directors that he was the chief advisor to the president." he knew.

The way is not coming

The unusual approach of Bolton meant that there was little coordination between political secretariats at the level of third-level assistants or the highest level of effort to coordinate the various approaches supported by the military, the State Department and the White House.

Official sessions of Foreign Policy Commanders, including the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary and Lawyer, are rare.

Mattis repeatedly complained about the many meetings he had under McMaster. But before he resigned, the defense secretary wrote a sharp letter to Bolton and insisted that the weakness of the meetings would destroy the political process. In particular, Mattis was concerned that no Director-General meeting was held to discuss the withdrawal from the United States of the Treaty on medium-term nuclear forces with Russia, INF.

The NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis said, “It is wrong to say that there are fewer meetings in total. .

Bolton also has Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and Patrick M. Shanahan, a lawyer secretary every week, but the meetings do not create records that would allow other parts of the government to find out about experts who often freeze out of the process.

Fleitz, now Fox commentator and president of the Security Center, admitted that there were fewer high-level meetings, but he refused to criticize. "Those who disagree assume that if they had more meetings, they would get the way," he said.

One area of ​​robust consultation, officials say, is level three meetings with assistants' secretaries, as well as geographical or expense-based NSC directors. Many such meetings were held last year to formulate Syria's policy, said current and past officials. However, higher-level discussions about Syria were largely in the form of smaller, informal discussions, and there are no processes for reconciling contradictory views or making a clear decision by the President.

Often these higher-level discussions were interrupted by lower-level meetings and the President's changing thinking. "The wheel is not connected to the engine," said a former officer who participated in the Syrian debate.

In the absence of all these – and we hope that Bolton will present his views exactly to Trump and vice versa – some Cabinet officials have been looking for their own contacts with the president. The most successful Pompeo, more and more, is Trump's favorite who shares Bolton's aggressive, conservative outlook, but says he's keeping his "unique time" with Trump.

Activists arrive

Bolton's efforts to restructure the NSC have also led to significant changes in staff.

Most of the NSC is full of career law officials from other parts of the government, including state, defense, and intelligence agencies, who have been sent to one or two years as a non-political expert.

As these orders expired, Bolton left them empty or filled them with activists.

The reductions are particularly severe for the Middle East and North Africa board of directors. The Iraqi policy and the fight against the Iraqi and Syrian Islamic state under the Obama administration consisted of 18 people, and now about one-third of that size, two senior administrative officials said.

The director of the Latin American NSC, Mauricio Claver-Carone, Cuba's long-standing political fundraiser and lobbyist lobbyist, replaced the CIA career.

In the case of Iran, two staff members, described in detail by the Ministry of Finance, were working on sanctions and nuclear issues to create a workplace to combat Iran's weapons of mass destruction. The office is supervised by Richard Goldberg, who recently worked for the Democracy Defense Foundation, where he supported the regime change in Iran under economic and diplomatic pressure.

Victoria Coates, an art historian, and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) Principal political adviser in the 2016 presidential campaign, joined the NSC at an early stage of the administration and led Bolton's Middle East policy.

At the highest levels of the NSC, Bolton has known people for many years, most of whom share a terrible view of the world. As Director of Strategic Communications, Sarah Tinsley, Director of a Political Action Committee, and a foundation to promote Bolton's political views and political future.

After Mira Ricardel's deputy national security adviser was forced by the first lady's public spanking, Bolton Charles Kupperman, a former defense manager, was told by Bolton that he had been advising her for 30 years, but who kept the governor under Reagan's administration.

Kupperman has served on the Board of the Security Policy Center for years, in a think tank criticized by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League for the dissemination of anti-Muslim conspiracies, including the view that the unrest in Islam and the spread of the Siara Law endangers American democracy.

– He knows his place

As a Fox News pundit and head of the American Enterprise Institute under the Obama administration, Bolton has earned a reputation as one of Washington's most difficult hawks. He regularly called on Iran and the bombing of North Korea, where his commentary impressed the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. During lunch at the June summit in Singapore, Kim told Bolton that he was "famous" in North Korea, and said a white house official suggested taking a photo to improve his system values. Bolton laughed in response.

Last week, between Trump and Kim, Pompeo and the White House chief, Mick Mulvaney, signed up with reporters who are watching closely who and who is Trump's main helper. But when the two parties convened the next day for an extended meeting, Bolton was at the table.

Bolton has repeatedly said that it is his job to commit the President and implement his policies. But the tension between conservative views and Trump's "America's first" instincts was clearly evident in Syria.

Trump's decision to withdraw was retired December 14, phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. When Erdogan offered to use his own security forces to clean up the remains of the Islamic state, allowing US troops to withdraw, Trump welcomed him.

Bolton, who listened to the call, spent the next few days cautiously trying to talk to Trump from an immediate team.

By the time Bolton Trump was escorted to the troops in Iraq, the withdrawal announcement was made. "John and I all agree," said Trump at the al-Asad Air Base as he looked at Bolton. – And John. . . pretty annoying with everything the soldier has to do.

Paradoxically, Trump described himself as "more cruel than anyone else." . . . No one is more magic than me. But I would also like to use it in the right place. And frankly, I don't like to use it at all.

Trump's final deal at the end of last month to hold about 400 troops in Syria was to support the military, especially for half of those who remain in the north, as the White House called "peacekeeping forces." Southward, where Iran is blocking the use of the highway between Tehran and Damascus – this is a priority for Bolton.

Fleitz denied his former boss trying to circumvent Trump's plans. "He never stepped forward before the president," said Fleitz of Bolton. The withdrawals said a president who "changed his mind".

Others have Bolton's role in another light. "He's a hardback from Iran," said the head of the White House, who is working closely with the national security adviser. – You want to be everywhere, always. He will never change his spots. "But the officer said Bolton knew his place."

"You know it's not the final decision-maker," the official said.

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