On April 9, 2018 president Trump will have a new national security adviser named John Bolton. While he is fairly well-known in America, he remains largely unknown outside of it, but this will change quickly. The reason for this is his staunch conservatism that has already driven the traditionally left-wing, American foreign-policy establishment apoplectic since Trump’s announcement of his appointment and he has already been called everything from ‘war monger’ to ‘dangerous’ on the pages of the New York Times and elsewhere.
His main sin seems to be his preference for straight talk and unapologetic defense of American national interests, as well as his dismissal of Obama’s policies as “weak and feckless.” Apart from that, he is taken to task by the establishment’s bien pensants for calling the ayatollah regime in Tehran terrorist and advocating its change, his innate anti-communism, his severe criticism of Putin’s policies and most of all for his firm stand against appeasement of international bullies – all of them solid republican positions of long standing. In the interest of fairness, it must also be mentioned that over the years he has articulated several positions that conflict with the stated policy preferences of President Trump. These include his calls for regime change in places like Iran and Syria and his unequivocal support for the war in Iraq. Thus, his appointment by Trump, alongside that of Mike Pompeo at State, surprised more than a few specialists.
What does this appointment mean for southeastern Europe and particularly for Bulgaria? For an observer of conservative inclinations like this writer, the appointment of a staunch conservative in place of the wishy-washy McMaster is undoubtedly good news indeed. There are, however, three other more specific reasons to be optimistic about Washington’s future policies under Bolton. First of all, Bolton has stated on numerous occasions over the years that the protection of Eastern Europe is extremely important for the United States, and, together with his strong denunciations of Putin’s neo-imperialist policies, there should be no doubt that in his person Eastern Europe has a new friend in the White House. Secondly, and, this is far from well-known, Bolton has been the chairman of the Gatestone Institute (gatestoneinstitute.org), a New York think tank dedicated to the study of radical Islam and Islamisation, which has done a first-rate job of warning us about the radicalization of Turkey and the Muslim diasporas in the West, including Merkel’s disastrous migrants policies. There is little doubt that with Bolton in the White House, there will be few illusions left in Washington about the perilous course pursued by Erdogan in Turkey.
Finally, John Bolton has been involved directly in policies related to Bulgaria. Two years ago, at the height of the campaign for a new secretary-general of the United Nations, when it looked like the unrepentant Bulgarian communist and government functionary, Irina Bokova, would win, Bolton wrote a remarkable op-ed piece (Who Will Lead the United Nations? Aug. 7, 2016) in the Wall Street Journal exposing her anti-American and anti-Israeli machinations as the head of UNICEF and likely preventing her nomination.
By Alex Alexiev