Bolton out, but not much change seen in Wash­ing­ton pol­icy

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO HUANXIN in Wash­ing­ton huanx­[email protected]­nadai­lyusa.com

The broad out­lines of United States for­eign pol­icy are un­likely to change fol­low­ing the abrupt de­par­ture of John Bolton, the third na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser to leave the White House post in nearly three years, an­a­lysts and of­fi­cials said.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced on Tues­day that he had fired Bolton amid “strong” dis­agree­ment with the man he tapped 17 months ago to re­place H.R. Mc­Mas­ter, who was brought in af­ter Trump’s first na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, Michael Flynn, was ousted af­ter less than one month in of­fice.

“I in­formed John Bolton last night that his ser­vices are no longer needed at the White House,” the pres­i­dent tweeted. “I dis­agreed strongly with many of his sug­ges­tions, as did oth­ers in the ad­min­is­tra­tion, and there­fore I asked John for his res­ig­na­tion, which was given to me this morn­ing. I thank John very much for his ser­vice.”

Bolton of­fered an op­pos­ing ac­count of his de­par­ture, say­ing

on his Twit­ter ac­count mo­ments af­ter the pres­i­dent’s post that “I of­fered to re­sign last night and Pres­i­dent Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it to­mor­row.’”

Trump said he would name Bolton’s suc­ces­sor next week. The White House said Charles Kup­per­man, the deputy na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, would fill Bolton’s role on an acting ba­sis.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing did not make any com­ment on Wed­nes­day re­gard­ing Bolton, say­ing it is a mat­ter of US do­mes­tic af­fairs.

Sta­ble devel­op­ment of Sino-US ties is in line with the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of peo­ple of both coun­tries, and is a com­mon ex­pec­ta­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Hua said, adding that China hopes that who­ever even­tu­ally as­sumes the post will play a con­struc­tive role in pro­mot­ing such devel­op­ment.

Just an hour be­fore the pres­i­dent’s tweet, the me­dia in Wash­ing­ton had re­ceived an up­date from the White House press of­fice that Bolton would join Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin in the af­ter­noon for a brief­ing on an ex­ec­u­tive or­der ex­pand­ing ways to counter ter­ror­ism.

“I don’t think any leader around the world should make any as­sump­tion that be­cause one of us de­parts, that Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­eign pol­icy will change in a ma­te­rial way,” Pom­peo said at the news con­fer­ence, where Bolton was ab­sent.

Asked if Bolton’s de­par­ture would make it eas­ier for him to do his job and for the ad­min­is­tra­tion to im­ple­ment the pres­i­dent’s for­eign pol­icy agenda, Pom­peo said, “I don’t talk about the in­ner work­ings of how this all goes. There were many times am­bas­sador Bolton and I dis­agreed; that’s to be sure. But that’s true for lots of peo­ple with whom I in­ter­act.”

Mnuchin also said the pres­i­dent’s view of the Iraq War and Bolton’s were “very dif­fer­ent”.

Cal Jill­son, a po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist at South­ern Methodist Univer­sity in Dal­las, said Bolton’s in­flu­ence had been de­clin­ing for some time and Pom­peo’s had been ris­ing.

“Bolton and Pom­peo did not dif­fer greatly on pol­icy, but Bolton’s more ag­gres­sive and un­com­pro­mis­ing per­son­al­ity likely came to grate on Pres­i­dent Trump,” he said.

The New York Times also re­ported on Tues­day that the rift be­tween the pres­i­dent and his na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser “owed as much to per­son­al­ity as to pol­icy”.

A for­mer un­der­sec­re­tary of state and am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions un­der pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, Bolton had been a for­eign pol­icy hawk who had fun­da­men­tal dis­agree­ments with Trump on Iran, Afghanista­n and a slew of other global chal­lenges, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported Tues­day.

But even with Bolton side­lined, “The broad out­lines of Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy are not likely to change much. Pom­peo will con­tinue to take great care to be seen as faith­fully im­ple­ment­ing Trump’s poli­cies rather than be seen as re­sist­ing or even steer­ing them,” Jill­son said.

He said Bolton saw re­bal­anc­ing the Sino-US eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship as a “crit­i­cal” for­eign pol­icy is­sue, which will not change in the wake of Bolton’s dis­missal.

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s prin­ci­pal re­quire­ment for his next na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser will be that he or she agree with him on most, ideally all, ma­jor is­sues,” Jill­son added.

Pom­peo also said the pres­i­dent is en­ti­tled to the staff that he wants at any mo­ment.

Stan­ley Ren­shon, a po­lit­i­cal science pro­fes­sor at City Univer­sity of New York, said Tues­day’s sud­den shake-up was just an­other ex­am­ple that Trump is a “de­mand­ing boss” who is not afraid to make changes.

“I think he is still search­ing for the right for­eign pol­icy ad­viser mix,” Ren­shon told China Daily.

The new re­place­ment could be some­one on the “tough” end of the pol­icy op­tions scale, but will also be some­one who can be creative and thought­ful within one’s own frame­work, he said.

“It has been brew­ing for a while, and Bolton is too ready to use Amer­i­can force if he feels it nec­es­sary. Trump, for all his ver­bal blus­ter, is cau­tious on that score,” Ren­shon added.

John Bolton

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