Donald Trump fires ‘warhawk’ national security adviser John Bolton

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Donald Trump has fired national security adviser John Bolton.


Bolton was seen as one of the hawks in the administration, overseeing increased US sanctions against left-of-centre governments in CubaVenezuela and Nicaragua. He described the three countries as Latin America’s “Troika of Tyranny”. Meanwhile, he expressed enthusiasm about working with Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro – a “like-minded” leader whose election he suggested was a ‘positive sign for the future of the region’. Critics have described the current Brazilian president as a “fascist”, partly because he has expressed admiration for the country’s 20th-century military dictatorship and even pointed to support for torture.

Bolton became Trump’s third national security adviser in March 2018. He had also served in the administration of former president George W. Bush.

Democrat Tulsi Gabbard previously said:

John Bolton and other warhawks in [Trump’s] administration… have championed the war with Iraq in the past and… have been pushing for war with Iran for years.

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Bolton has championed hawkish foreign policy views dating back to the Reagan administration and became a household name over his vociferous support for the invasion of Iraq as the US ambassador to the UN under Bush.


Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he’d told Bolton on Monday night that his services were no longer needed at the White House.

Trump said he “disagreed strongly” with many of Bolton’s suggestions, “as did others in the administration”. They reportedly had significant disagreements on Iran, Afghanistan and a cascade of other global challenges. Bolton has espoused scepticism about the president’s rapprochement with North Korea and has advocated against Trump’s decision last year to pull US troops out of Syria. He was also opposed to Trump’s now-scrapped notion to bring Taliban negotiators to Camp David last weekend to try to finalise a peace deal in Afghanistan.

In recent months, tensions have also risen between Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo over influence in the president’s orbit and how to manage the president’s apparent desire to negotiate with some US foes abroad.

One Republican familiar with the disagreements between Trump and Bolton said the adviser’s opposition to a possible meeting between Trump and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was a precipitating factor in the dismissal. French president Emmanuel Macron has been trying to broker such a meeting, possibly on the sidelines of the upcoming UN general assembly, in the hope of salvaging the international Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from in 2018. There have been heightened tensions between the West and Iran following Trump’s exit from the deal, with the US seeking to put pressure on Iran via sanctions and military threats.

Trump said he would name a replacement for Bolton next week.

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