Bolton’s book bodyslams Trump but the excoriating account may ultimately lift the fallen leader from the canvas before a next round election
A career warmonger becomes the darling of limousine liberals just because he’s ridiculing the president of the United States.
The current, convoluted spectacle in the hallowed halls of Empire is worthy of the most demented WWE scripts – as everything about Donald Trump has to be understood as a pile-up of professional wrestling plots. Here we have former national security advisor John Bolton playing The Undertaker with Trump trying to cast himself as The Rock.
Still, when we see the full 4K picture of the supposed leadership of the United States government, plus the Beltway extensions, mired in a swampland crammed with double-dealing vipers, it looks more like a catfight.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro – a rabid China demonizer – actually came up with the best description of what John Bolton is up to with his supposedly tell-all $2 million book deal: this is the DC swamp’s “revenge porn.”
Bolton’s 592-page memoir, to be published next Tuesday, was conveniently leaked in advance by Simon & Schuster to the New York Times and the Washington Post, and an extract has been published by the Wall Street Journal.
Bolton wrote, “A president may not misuse the national government’s legitimate powers by defining his own personal interest as synonymous with the national interest, or by inventing pretexts to mask the pursuit of personal interest under the guise of national interest.”
A New York Times hack wrote, “Mr. Bolton sought to use his 17 months in the White House to accomplish policy goals that were important to him [italics mine], like withdrawing the United States from a host of international agreements he considers flawed, like the Iran nuclear accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and others.”
So a certified warmonger – his track record fully documented – is entitled to get away with accomplishing “policy goals important to him” even as he accuses the President of equalizing his “own personal interest” with the “national interest.”
What really matters here, for the self-described paper of record seems to be the unique chance to quote at will an insider source that simply cannot be checked for accuracy. The fact that Bolton is no more reliable as a source than any DC swamp peddler? That is conveniently shoved under the carpet.
The Washington Post, for its part, gloated that this is “the most substantive, critical dissection of the president from an administration insider so far,” as it portrays Trump as an “erratic” and “stunningly uninformed” commander in chief
The Post also takes Bolton at his word, as he describes Trump relying on “personal instinct” and playing for “reality TV showmanship.” At least Bolton seems to have a vague clue about the WWE’s preeminence – much as he got a clue about the obvious: The one thing that really matters above all for Trump is re-election.
Only those who have been stuck inside an igloo in the Arctic these past few years will be stunned to know that Trump thinks Finland is part of Russia, ignores the UK as a nuclear power and confuses the names of Afghan presidents.
After all he’s a faithful mirror of predominant American ignorance of the world at large – dutifully fueled by the bread-and-circuses celebrity “culture.”
The same would apply for Trump allegedly relishing as “cool” an invasion of Venezuela – after all it is “really part of the United States” – and telling Chinese President Xi Jinping that Americans would love him to change the US Constitution so he can serve more than two terms.
Once again, the problem is the source. Let’s even discard the fact Bolton’s an exceedingly mediocre writer – assuming this was not ghostwritten. I interviewed him years ago at one of his favorite haunts: the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting in DC.
In-person and relatively relaxed – I was not an American journalist, so he did not feel threatened – the portrait of a psycho under uncomfortable smirks was plain to see. His sense of self-importance was inter-galactic.
Then there’s the matter of possible treason. If Trump has really committed all this litany of “crimes”, then why did Bolton not report them to Capitol Hill during the Dem-conducted impeachment fiasco? Well, gotta cash that $2 million book deal.
Let’s briefly review some of those Bolton-unveiled Trump “crimes.”
At a one-on-one meeting with Xi at the June 2019 G-20 summit in Japan, Bolton writes, Trump “then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”
If true, this is classic Trump art of the deal. As a “crime,” it’s unverifiable.
On Xi allegedly defending “China’s construction of camps housing as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang,”Bolton writes: “According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.”
Anyone familiar with the rituals of Chinese diplomacy knows the notion that China’s president would “confess” to an American president the details of his domestic policies in ultra-sensitive Xinjiang is ridiculously absurd.
Bolton at least admits the vacuity of the administration’s China policy: “We had a good slogan, calling for a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ region. But a bumper sticker is not a strategy, and we struggled to avoid being sucked into the black hole of US-China trade issues.”
On Huawei and ZTE, Bolton just recites unproven platitudes: “The most important goal for Chinese ‘companies’ like Huawei and ZTE is to infiltrate telecommunications and information-technology systems, notably 5G, and subject them to Chinese control.”
On that notorious Washington-Kiev quid pro quo, Bolton writes that Trump “said he wasn’t in favor of sending them anything until all Russia-investigation material related to [Hillary] Clinton and Biden had been turned over.”
To the delight of the limousine liberal crowd, Bolton confirms the logic of the Dem-conducted impeachment case as well as Ukrainegate – even as Russiagate by now has been totally debunked.
Recounting a May 2019 Trump phone call with President Putin, who allegedly compared Venezuelan “opposition leader” Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton, Bolton calls that a “brilliant display of Soviet-style propaganda” to shore up support for Maduro. Putin “largely persuaded Trump.” Oh, those evil Soviets.
According to the Washington Post, “In describing his White House experience on Russia-related issues, Bolton presents a picture of a president who is impulsive, churlish and consistently opposed to US policy designed to discourage Russian aggression and to sanction Putin’s malign behavior.”
Once again: Bolton can get away with anything as long as he’s portraying Trump as weak on the Deep State mantras “Russian aggression” and “malign behavior.”
Writing of a November 2018 Trump decision to staunchly defend MbS over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Bolton quotes the president as saying it was a diversionist tactic to pre-empt a story about Ivanka Trump using her personal email for US government business: “This will divert from Ivanka. If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.”
Well, Bolton writes nothing about what really matters: the Jared-MbS Whatsapp School of fast-tracking dodgy, wide-ranging Middle East deals.
No more wars
Bolton reveals his full warmongering self when he complains that Trump was always demanding troop withdrawals – in the Middle East, Africa and Europe: “I want to get out of everything.”
At some point in 2018, arguing with Mad Dog Mattis, Trump told him that Russia should take care of ISIS/Daesh: “We’re seven thousand miles away but we’re still the target. They’ll come to our shores. That’s what they all say. It’s a horror show. At some point we’ve got to get out.”
On Afghanistan. Trump: “This was done by a stupid person named George Bush.” Additionally, Mattis blew it: “I gave you what you asked for: Unlimited authority, no holds barred. You’re losing. You’re getting your ass kicked. You failed.”
All of the above is factually correct. Trump was simply following his campaign promises. Yet the Deep State overruled him – not only in Afghanistan but, especially, in Syria. Bolton had to be appalled, and on top of it he did not get his wars of choice – on Iran, Venezuela and North Korea.
A $2 million book deal certainly sweetens a raw no-war deal. Trump tweeted that Bolton is a “sick puppy.” In fact Bolton’s real role was of a minor imperial functionary for only a brief stint. The Deep State still gets what it wants with Trump: the Empire of Bases remains intact; no troops, contractors or mercenaries are leaving; and Russia, China and Iran are consolidated as existential “threats.”
“Sick puppy” is mere roadkill. Tulsa is next – where Trump, in a “they call me the breeze” mood, once again will feel free to bask in his own glow.
Rounding up the WWE plot: what if all this is nothing but an elaborated kayfabe? Compared with a discarded warmonger, the President now may emerge from the swamp as a peacenik moderate, ready to be embraced by the swing-vote masses. So who’s body-slamming whom?