David French from the National Review [remember the “never Trumper” who was supposed to run against Trump?], has come out in full support of the appointment of John Bolton against the crazed screaming from the left, and even some of our friends on the right side of the aisle.
Bolton is not — as some in the media would have you believe — a mere flame-throwing Fox News “talking head.” He’s a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He’s on the board of trustees of the National Review Institute. He’s a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He’s a conservative hawk, yes, but he’s squarely in the mainstream of conservative foreign-policy thought.
He’s not extreme. The reaction against him, however, is. Moreover, the reaction betrays a sad reality: The foreign-policy Left still hasn’t learned the lessons of the recent past.
To put it simply, all too many people view the challenge of North Korea and Iran something like this: There is a clearly safer path, including engagement, talks, and continued fidelity to the Iran deal; and there is a clearly more dangerous path — saber-rattling, increased sanctions, public advocacy for regime change. All right-thinking people should seek more engagement with North Korea. All right-thinking people should support the Iran deal.
The “clearly safer” argument always has a short-term advantage. When choosing between less risk of war and greater risk of war, there is a proper default preference for less risk and a presumption in favor of making immediate moves toward peace. When dealing with jihadist regimes like Iran’s or evil regimes like North Korea’s, however, the problem is that every single path is perilous.
He comes out forcefully against the Democrats whining about his extremism when they had their own hawk in the White House:
Much of the American intelligentsia lives in a world where the “hawks” — those who supported the Iraq War — are discredited, while the “doves” — those who presided over American foreign policy while Syria burned, ISIS rose, and North Korea tested its nuclear weapons — are not. Yet didn’t Barack Obama himself have to turn hawkish by the end of his second term? Didn’t he reinsert American ground troops in Iraq and put boots on the ground in Syria? Didn’t he keep American troops in Afghanistan during every single day of his presidency and expand the American military footprint in Africa? It turns out that American inaction helped destabilize the Middle East and dramatically elevated the jihadist threat.
Here’s how he concludes:
A nuclear-armed Iran is far more dangerous than John Bolton. A North Korea capable of incinerating American cities is far more dangerous than John Bolton. The question is how we prevent those truly “horrifying” risks. The foreign-policy debate is frequently between hawks and doves, and in the last administration, the doves repeatedly failed. It’s time to give a hawk a chance.
I have to admit that I used to like Bolton much more, and lately he seems a little more extreme than before, but David French makes a lot of sense here, especially when people are freaking out so much. Although Bolton does seem more proactive, he doesn’t seem insane.
Most people point to his comments against the United Nations as an example of how supposedly unhinged he is:
WATCH: John Bolton is leading the race to serve as National Security Advisor. Here he is trashing the UN + wading in a pool of nationalism. pic.twitter.com/3K1dgBoxG1
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 18, 2017
Yeah, like, I have absolutely no problem at all with anything he said here LOL!