A devoted disciple of the ‘bomb them to hell and ask questions later' school of US politics, Bolton's hawkish foreign policy credentials are so extreme he makes John McCain seem like Bambi by comparison. Nobody, for sure, would ever mistake him for Marcus Aurelius, the famed Roman emperor and Stoic who was legendary for his advocacy of restraint in all things, including war. For a man such as Mr Bolton restraint is blasphemy. After all, what's the point of amassing the largest and most destructive military in human history if you can't use it?
Even worse than Bolton's appointment is the timing of it.
It comes just after the fifteenth anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq, involving the US and UK unleashing hell against Iraq and its people on the basis of we now know beyond doubt were lies.
In his capacity as US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, Bolton was a key advocate of this illegal and imperialist war, thus making his return to frontline US politics in such a high profile role tantamount to spitting on the graves of the up to one million Iraqis who were killed as a consequence.
Bolton was appointed US ambassador to the United Nations by Bush in 2005. It was a decidedly strange appointment given Bolton's disdain for the institution and everything it represents, infamously asserting that there was "no such thing" as the UN and claiming that the US was the world's "only real power." For Bolton and his ilk, you see, US hegemony is the natural order of things, divinely ordained much as the Emperor Augustus erroneously perceived the Roman empire: "You cheer my heart, who build as if Rome would be eternal."
British journalist Jonathan Steele in his book Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq, recounts an exchange he had with former Jordanian ambassador to the UN, Adnan Abu Odeh, just as US military forces were about to enter Baghdad in April 2001: "What's going on in Iraq now recalls 1258 when the Mongols entered Baghdad," the Jordanian averred. "It's also like when Britain arrived in Baghdad in 1918. Iraq had the first civilization in history which domesticated animals and sowed plants for agriculture. Now it's being re-colonized for the second time. We see a new type of colonization with a transformed mission. In the past, it was guns, ships, and priests. Now it's guns and the gift of democracy."
The war on Iraq and ensuing occupation ended in military defeat for Washington and London. Instead of advancing the cause of Western liberal democracy it merely exposed it as organized hypocrisy.
Whereas a key tenet of Trotskyism is a permanent revolution, a key tenet of neoconservatism is permanent destruction, with Bolton's appointment by Trump as national security adviser akin to spitting on the graves of the Iraq War dead. It marks a significant regression when it comes to US foreign policy, confirming that in Washington the neocons really have taken over the asylum.
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