John Bolton’s 10 Rules For Statecraft


President Trump has chosen Ambassador John Bolton to succeed General H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor. Bolton has previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Under Secretary of State during the administration of George W. Bush, Assistant Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush, and Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan, in which capacity he helped shepherd the judicial nomination process for Antonin Scalia.

The National Security Advisor, unlike many other federal appointments, does not require Senate confirmation, which may ease the personnel change. Bolton’s bluntness and rock-ribbed conservatism have earned him the ire of America’s international enemies and Democrats. Iran’s Foreign Ministry has called Bolton “rude” and “undiplomatic”; North Korea’s murderous Kim regime described him as “human scum and bloodsucker”; and Democrats, for their part, refused to confirm him as U.N. ambassador, leading President George W. Bush to appoint him while the Senate was in recess.

Without further ado, ten important lessons on statecraft from John Bolton:

  1. “My philosophy is not a bean-counting, accounting ‘look at this.’ It is a philosophy that smaller government is better government, and government that is closer to the people is best of all.”
  2. “Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama.”
  3. “People say you favor assassination, what do you think war is? Except that it’s assassination on a much larger scale—a much more horrific scale.”
  4. “Diplomacy is not an end in itself if it does not advance U.S. interests.”
  5. “Negotiation is not a policy. It’s a technique. It’s something you use when it’s to your advantage, and something that you don’t use when it’s not to your advantage.”
  6. “My priority is to give the United States the kind of influence it should have.”
  7. “Everybody pursues their national interests. The only one who gets blamed for it is the United States.”
  8. “You could take several stories off the buildings of most U.S. government agencies and we’d all probably be better for it too.”
  9. “As somebody who writes op-eds and appears on the television, I appreciate as well as anybody that…there is a limit to what that accomplishes.”

And the pièce de résistance…

10. “There is no United Nations.”

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