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John Bolton Heading to the White House: Just Who Is Trump's New National Security Adviser?

03-23-2018
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Click to watch Pat Robertson's Interview with John Bolton from 2007

WASHINGTON – All eyes are on John Bolton as he prepares to step into the role of national security advisor next month, replacing Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Bolton is a 69-year-old Baltimore native who served as US ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush and is known to be hawkish when it comes to foreign affairs.

Under the Bush administration, Bolton was an outspoken advocate of the war in Iraq and was later a vocal critic of President Barack Obama.

Speaking in 2014 at Regent University's 12th annual Clash of the Titans, he noted, "We have a president – let's say it very honestly – who follows a European-style social democratic view of domestic policy and a view that America is part of the problem in the world and not part of the solution."

Bolton has made it clear that his philosophy on national security matters hasn't changed, particularly when it comes to dealing with rogue nations like Iran and North Korea.

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, the former UN envoy made a case for "striking North Korea first."

"Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an 'imminent threat.' They are wrong," he wrote. "The threat is imminent, and the case against pre-emption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from pre-nuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times."

"Given the gaps in US intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute," Bolton warned. "That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation."

Bolton's words echo Trump's tough policies against the "hermit kingdom," coming in as the administration plans a sensitive meeting between the president and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Regarding Iran, Bolton has made it clear that nothing less than aggressive military action will stop the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons.

Back in 2008, when asked how Tehran might respond to proposed airstrikes, he said, "I think the Iranians need to look very carefully at what risk they would run if they were to escalate. So this is not provocative or preemptive, this is entirely responsive on our part."

Still, Bolton says his past comments are "behind me."

"During my career, I have written I don't know how many articles and op-eds and opinion pieces. I have given I can't count the number of speeches, I have countless interviews ... in the past 11 years. They're all out there in the public record. I have never been shy about what my views are," CNN quoted Bolton. "Frankly, what I have said in private now is behind me."

"The important thing," he concluded, "is what the president says and the advice I give him."

So how will he approach his new role?

"Well, I think that the national security advisor and the entire structure of national security decision-making in the United States is intended to be flexible; it is intended to be adaptable to the way the incumbent president wants to structure it," Bolton said.

Bolton will officially join the White House on April 9.

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