John Bolton has advocated for war with Iran and North Korea. He loathes the United Nations, disdains international law and still thinks the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was the right idea. He’s a China skeptic and a Russia hawk who, as one former colleague from the Bush administration put it to me the other day, never met a military option he didn’t like.
And he’s confrontational in person too. Bolton, President Trump’s choice to replace the national security adviser he unceremoniously dumped on Thursday, is already criticizing the staff he stands to inherit, publicly vowing to bulldoze any bureaucratic “munchkins” who stand in his or the president’s way. Bolton is, in short, a most unusual figure in American foreign policy: personally belligerent and professionally bellicose, and soon to be the closest adviser to an inexperienced president on how to handle all the world’s many challenges.
So how alarmed should we be?