Trump’s Drone Kill Just Shut Up John Bolton, That’s Why




John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Don Donald Trump, Mike Pence … projecting neoconfidence!

One of the columns I’ve mentally prepared myself to write later this year is whether Don Donald Trump might unleash an “October Surprise” in the form of precipitating a fight with Iran (or maybe Venezuela, but more likely Iran) that would elicit a “rally ’round the flag effect” that could carry him to victory.  (You don’t have to “fool all of the people all of the time” to win, after all — just enough of the people on one particular day.)

It didn’t occur to me that the October surprise might come in January, but it sort of makes sense.

This isn’t about the November election itself, directly; my guess us that it’s about impeachment.  It’s now looking like there will be at least some witnesses in the Senate trial.  And the witness that Trump may fear most is his former National Security Advisor John Bolton, the guy in the photo with the mustache that is hiding god knows what.

Bolton is the most neoconservative of the neoconservatives, except possibly for Dick Cheney, who goaded George W. Bush into nation-building (preceded by nation-wrecking) in Iraq.  The leading neocon in public life now is Sen. Lindsay Graham; John McCain was another stellar hawkish example.  Within Asia Minor, the neocon rallying cry in the lead-up to the Gulf War was “Boys go to Baghdad, real men go to Teheran” — which, if you don’t know your national capitals, meant that taking over Iraq should be followed by an invasion of neighboring Iran.  (Read that linked article there; it’s good.)

John Bolton apparently thinks that Trump is a dim bulb, an ethical horror show, and a foolish weakling when it comes to foreign policy.  He’s made it clear that he would like to testify in the Senate impeachment trial; however, he would not do so voluntarily, but only in response to a Senate subpoena.  (Bolton may be a madman and a mass murderer, but he does have some sense of personal ethics — enough so to put him on the outs with Don Donald.)

Trump presumably knows that Bolton could nail him to the wall on his actions in Ukraine — and would relish doing so — so the question is how to shut him up?

This is how.  Bolton, like the other top neocons, wants above all the neutralization of Iran as a regional (let alone global) power.  Now Trump looks like he is bumbling his way into war with them.  Will Bolton undercut the President under such circumstances?  No, I don’t think he will — at least not until and unless the Iranian government falls (which is to say: not in 2020.)

That doesn’t mean that Bolton will lie to Congress; I tend to think that he wouldn’t.  But to avoid undercutting the war effort he’s so dearly wanted, I think that he will fight in court the subpoena that he previously implied he’d welcome — enough (given how courts work) to delay it past the election.

Of course, the other thing that a war does is give the President greatly enhanced war powers — something we really didn’t think was enough to engulf large parts of the Constitution until the neocons, led bu Dick Cheney, managed to make it happen during the Afghanistan and Gulf Wars.  (Seriously: I took constitutional law during the 1999-2000 term, and by the end of 2001 my professors were apologizing for not having taught us that much of what we’d learned apparently no longer applied.)

What can Trump do as a War President?  (Afghanistan doesn’t really count, but Iran would.  Will.)  Unfortunately, we’ll probably find out.  But the first thing he’ll have done is shut up the man — other than Squirrely Rudy Giuliani — who could do the most to ruin him.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)