Friday, March 23, 2018

And speaking of Dick n' Dubya's Big Middle East Adventure...

...lookie at the latest "all the best people" our Napoleorange has brought back into the corridors of power:
Yep. John "Give War A Chance" Bolton.

The Economist - hardly a bastion of cuddly liberal peaceniks - had this to say about him over a decade ago:
"Mr Bolton had already made a name for himself as an arch-conservative and fierce patriot. He believed “multilateralism” was a dirty word, treaties were not worth the paper they were written on and American might was right. Diplomacy, he told Mr Bush, was “advocacy, advocacy for America”.
"But in an organisation where nothing gets done without a readiness to make friends, form coalitions and accept compromises, Mr Bolton put almost everyone's back up."
Which is a way for polite British Tories to drawl "I say, what an enormous asshole..."

Remember "Hillary the Hawk, Donald the Dove"? Remember that? Well, if you're still kidding yourself that Trump is some sort of populist iconoclast who is going to break the neocon headlock on the GOP's foreign policy that pretty much begins and ends with "bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran" then look around the table.

Nobody else is the sucker, so...

I swear. Every time I think this chump has driven my country as deep into the Big Hole of Stupid as possible...

Update 3/26: Doanvo adds another layer of stupidity to the stupidity of this appointment; Bolton is a spectacularly prolific and remarkably pinheaded liar.
“Bolton seemed to be troubled because INR was not telling him what he wanted to hear.” He soon “surrounded himself with a hand-chosen group of loyalists” to analyze raw intelligence on Iraq without input from the intelligence community itself.

Bolton later allegedly blocked Secretary of State Colin Powell from receiving vital information on Iran in 2003.

Fast forward to the 2016 election, and Bolton’s assertions have become even more unhinged, leaning further into absurdity than the most volatile pundits will venture. In December 2016, he called Russia’s election interference a “false flag” operation conducted by the Obama administration."
As a prolific and remarkably pinheaded liar himself Trump needs as many rational people around him as possible. Adding this jamoke, between his ridiculous warmongering, insane worldview, and facile lying, is like giving a chimp a live grenade. In an Administration full of bad appointments this is a really, really, really, REALLY bad appointment.


  1. Bolton is no patriot - at best he's a jingoist.

    related to topic

    Upside: The worse he gets, the more likely his impeachment in 2019.

    1. Agree on "patriot". He's a "nationalist"in the "my country right or wrong" stripe. Which is a big part of the problem, in that he fits seamlessly into the GOP "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer" ethic so beloved of Trump.

    2. I would disagree only on somantics...he sees himself as a Patriot of Patriots...even though home team refused Military Service...or as is the want of most to say, "He likes the idea of Military Service...for others."

      But...what makes him dangerous is that he is a NeoCon of the Old School stripe...i.e. Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, in the chest of every Arab is an American begging to be let out by any and all means possible up to and including kinetic and high energy releases.

      Bolton also believes in an Imperial Presidency...or, as most would call it, Dictator.

      And what makes this cocktail dangerous is that Trump is weak minded...I mean, holy-fucking-shit-you-not weak minded...and Bolton...fuck me, but Bolton is Thomas Cromwell, and he's got an entire network of NeoCon's who are all cheerleading his advancement.

      I would say WASF, but unfortunately, I think the rape will continue unless Mueller takes pity on all of us and brings the indictments early.

    3. I can't recall where I read it but supposedly The Mustache of War differs from the "neocons" in that he can't be arsed to pretend that his bloody designs for dusky Lesser Breeds Without The Law are intended to do them any good, even tangentially. He doesn't want to kill Koreans and Iranians to produce a "free" Iran or North Korea. He wants to make the survivors fear Americans. He's a pure America Firster, a man after Trump's own venomous heart.

      He caucuses with the neocons purely out of convenience. I'm not sure if the purity of his bloodymindedness makes him more, or less, evil than fools like Perle or Wolfowitz who really believed they made their own reality...

  2. The sonofabitch can do a lot of harm in a year, especially with idiots like the Walrus of Angry Stupid "advising" him.

    Christ, what a shitshow.

    1. I can see why McMaster ran away...who was it in the beginning of this nightmare who turned down the position as it was too much like a "shit sandwich."?

  3. Note that impeachment will leave Mike "Steely Eyes" Pence in charge. Which, sad to say, would be an improvement. Sad times indeed.

    1. Depends on who gets impeached. Mueller may have the goods on Pence as well. I think the Democrats actually prefer to have Trump/Pence in office through the elections, so they motivate voters to vote and then (D) may impeach both at once, so next in line of succession would be a Democratic Speaker of the House.

  4. Bolton is a walking, talking, living human meat-puppet of the whole "war/violence works" strain of American thought. Despite being wrong on pretty much everything (he STILL insists that Dubya's Iraq move was the right one and that the "problem" was that the occupation ENDED in 2011!) he has never seen a foreign policy problem he doesn't want to solve by force.

    I'm a GI, so I don't have "issues" with violence per se, but I'm also a history buff, so I have a better sense of the difficulty Great Powers have applying that violence in ways that result in gaining the actual geopolitical end-state that the want, or even that they anticipate. What always looks inevitable in the planning stages turns out to be one of a bunch of outcomes and, as often as not, not the most likely one.

    My sense is that Americans like Bolton always think of "war" as "The U.S. in WW2", meaning that the outcome is predetermined and will always be what the U.S. plans for when it enters/starts the war, disregarding the numerous counterexamples.

    For Trump, who is at bottom 1) an ignoramus, and 2) a bully, to have this Wormtongue whispering in his ear is a total fucking disaster. Bolton by himself is bad. Bolton his hand up Trump's ass making Orange Foolius' mouth move like a sock puppet? Indescribably worse.

  5. I'm interested in the fact that Trump's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, was identified as the man who has been more inaccurate about the US economy than any other man alive. Now John "Blew it" Bolton (my own nickname for him) is the NSA.

    I wonder if Trump has decided that his biggest enemies are the mainstream Republicans and is trying to wreck them at all cost. Another, even less likely, possibility is that he is really a Democratic secret agent.

    In short, these actions, other than being all about Trump's ego, make no sense. I wonder where this magnificent adventure is going to end. The events of the last two years are going to be fodder for historians for decades. I wonder if they will favor the Caligula or the Nero model for Trump.

    1. And I had forgotten about Mike Pompeo in State and whats-her-name who led the torture unit at the CIA. I swear that Trump is purposely finding the least qualified "Terroristas" he can to run the country. This is insane. Why is he doing this?

      And I don't want to hear the usual adages about Trump being an idiot. He's fairly bright (at least smart enough to win the election), impulsive, and is a narcissistic bully but this goes way beyond any explanation I've seen to date. He is purposely destroying his administration and his legacy. Why is he doing this?

      Is it possible that he WANTS to be fired in a way that will keep him on Fox News for the rest of his life?

    2. He lost the election. He won the Electoral College, that fine old institution that did what it was designed to do; over-represent rural voters.

      He's not really all that bright. It's fairly obvious that he's lost a LOT of his ability to speak coherently since his early appearances in the 70s and 80s. He's one of those people like some of my elderly relatives whose brains begin to ossify in late middle age, leaving them fixated around a relatively small number of fixed ideas. In Trump's case they center around himself, mainly, and his need for adulation from others.

      Outside that he hates and fears darkies of any variety, believes that might is right, is obsessed with the idea that the world is a horrible zero-sum place where the hordes of filthy "others" are always waiting out there to "get" the Good White People.

      And he's doing this because the people he had at first tried to reason with him. He doesn't do "reason". He goes with his gut, i.e. his tiny suite of fixed ideas. He has no clue what an actual "nation interest" is; he doesn't do national interests because his ONLY interest is Trump, and those irritating people like McMaster kept insisting that he couldn't be Trump (the impulsive, narcissistic bully) and had to be some sort of boring "statesman" instead of leering and insulting Little Rocket Man.

      So the why is simply "because he wants to". He wants to be an impulsive bully, and he's surrounding himself with people who will tell him that's the Very Best Thing He Can Be.

      It's really that simple. Just like he is.

    3. Your points are all in the general area of correct (I'd point out that Trump is an impulsive, *dithering*, narcissistic bully) but I disagree with you on Trump's complete lack of brain cells or his personal fear of the darkies. He's way too focused on himself to notice the color of other people's skin.

      I've been a Trump watcher since he started winning the Republican primaries (although I can't listen to the man for more than a couple of minutes) and I think I've got a pretty good feel for how he works. I think you're underestimating his intelligence and vastly underestimating his narcissism. He understands "reason" when it suits him and he understands "national interest" but only acts on it when it suits his goals (which is very, very rarely).

      Trump's original plan was to lose a really tight primary election to a Republican (failing that losing the general election to Hillary) and then spend the rest of his life getting paid big money to make speeches about how wonderful things would have been if he'd won. That failed because the Republicans self-destructed and Hillary's support gave out at the last minute in 3 states. So Trump was stuck with a job he didn't really want and it showed.

      He gave the job a try and confirmed that it didn't really fit his interests. Then he tried handing off most of the duties to Paul Krugman's "very serious people" who got us that ridiculous tax cut but that ended the last unifying force in the Republican party.

      So where does that leave Trump? In a really bad place (the White House), doing a job he doesn't like (the Presidency) with few allies and Mueller, the Democrats, and increasing numbers of angry Republicans slowly circling in. Trump doesn't do defense so he started doing random attacks, mostly I think to see what stuck (like the primaries only on the international scene).

      Recently I believe he's decided to get fired in a way that lets him keep his Fox fan base, his speech fees, and his ego semi-intact. The plan is roughly this:
      1. Fire all remaining cabinet people who are not popular with Fox and replace them with Fox commentators or people who are popular with Fox (preference for the former)
      2. Let them run around making tons of mistakes that are popular with the Fox fan base
      3. Lash out at people who criticize his appointees but "reluctantly" fire them in favor of more of the same
      4. Go on lots of campaign tours for Republicans explaining how wonderful it is to be Trump (which is what he really enjoys). He'll occasionally remember to mention the Republican candidate's names. The Republicans are going to suffer historic losses in November which he will blame on the candidates, not himself.
      5. Right now the Democrats don't want to impeach Trump because he is energizing their base. The whole trade war thing is intended to change that and unify them with the Republicans (who will be furious with him for losing the mid-term elections).
      6. Get the lame duck Congress focused on getting rid of him while he jabs back at them (again, something he really enjoys).
      7. Ride off into the sunset in January 2019, threatening to come back in 2020 (which he will not do but perhaps he can get people to pay him not to do it).

      This plan will destroy the Republicans for at least a decade but Trump probably feels like they deserve it for letting him get into such a bad place to begin with. It's very seriously not in the national interest, but Trump doesn't care about that. Trump is about being allowed to say whatever he wants without fear of contradiction and Fox News gives him that and money too (which he desperately needs).

      It will not be fun to be Mike Pence trying to pick up the pieces but Trump doesn't care about that either.

    4. Hmmm.

      The thing about Trump is that he really is very dim, in the sense that he's shockingly ill-informed, poorly literate, and has the attention span of a gnat. He's always been this way - I've been a Trump observer since the old "Spy" magazine, Howard Stern Eighties - and he's always been deeply racist ( look up his quotes about darkies counting his money or the Central Park Five, if you doubt me) and hateful/fearful of outsiders like Muslims and those other tricksy foreigners.

      So a lot of this moronically destructive stuff is Trump; not a cunning plan to land a FAUX grift-o-palooza, but the way the guy actually thinks. He wanted Flynn not because he thought Flynn would wreck the joint and help him walk but because he agreed with Flynn's looney Muslimpocalypse ideas.

      Now that it's brutally obvious that the GOP hasn't the collective balls to do anything about any of the crimes Trump is immersed in, such as the Harding-level corruption and corporate nepotism, let alone the political tomfoolery, His Fraudulency has dumped the "adults" like McMaster and gone back to the Flynn-grade jerkoffs like Bolton and Pompeo. Again...not as some sort of 12-dimension-chess-exit-strategy but because they do things he likes and will tell him he's a stable genius if he lets them bomb shit and kill dusky savages.

      And I wish that this shitshow of an administration would send the GOP howling into the wilderness for a generation the way Hoover's did. As I've said here over and over; "movement conservatism" has become a skinnerbox for some of the worst ideas in American political history; plutocracy, open racism, imperialist claptrap, name it. The American conservative genus needs a thorough scrubbing to cleanse itself of the many noxious things it holds dear, the sorts of things that have trained its electorate to vote for Nazis in Illinois and Trumps everywhere.

      But it won't. The rot is too deep. If the brethren haven't rejected this tripehound for his obvious inadequacy for the job they never will. He was right; he could murder some poor bastard and the GOP voters will not reject him.

    5. I think at this point the choices are very clear. Trump, and the GOP, stand for a return to 1899; imperialist war abroad, plutocratic white nationalism at home. The Democrats, sad bastards that they are, are more like a return to 1935; still farkling about overseas, slightly less Gilded Age brutality and white identity politics domestically.

      It's useless to try to separate "Trumpism" from "conservatism" from "Republicanism"; one is all, all are one. That's why there are no "angry Republicans" converging on Trump; the party leadership either agrees with his grifting, knows they can use it to get what they really want, or are too afraid of their lunatic base to peep a word.

      So the only question left is whether the mass of the American people, who are staring at a return to the economic and political serfdom of 1899, can rise above the racism, god-bothering, and trivia like obsessing over abortion and guns to organize behind, run, and vote for candidates who are not vested in the return of John D. "the public be damned" Rockefeller, people like Sanders and Warren...or whether they have sold their political,souls for a mess of Republican pottage.

      Based on the polls that show the GOP voters as 80-90% behind Trump? I'm not hopeful.

    6. When I say "angry Republicans," I'm referring to politicians, not the general public. The Republican rank and file truly love what Trump says, regardless of what he says. It's absolutely amazing, totally stupid, I can't figure out how he gets away with it. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know (or care) how he does it either.

      The politicians, on the other hand, are coming to loathe Trump. He steps on their toes all the time, doesn't build anything like consensus in the party, doesn't promote people who do good things for him, etc. It's like he's running another version of the Apprentice except this time its for politicians. For the moment the Republican leadership feels like it has to support him to get re-elected. I don't know what they are going to do when they realize that he doesn't care about getting them re-elected but I expect it to be truly nasty and underhanded, probably something that only insiders will recognize immediately.

    7. Where are these Republicans? No, seriously. Where are these "principled Republican" pols who are going all-in against Trump?

      Sure, they may call him a "fucking moron" in private. But legislatively they appear to be just fine so long as the tangerine shitgibbon gives them the tax cuts they want.

    8. "Where are these Republicans?" Hiding in dark holes and plotting dark actions like the rats that they are.

      You're reading too much into my comments. I never said there were "principled Republicans" and I agree that they did what he wanted until they got their tax cut. Now they are just annoyed with him and the only hold he's got left on them is his ability to propose new Supreme Court Justices.

      Are the angry Republicans going to publicly go all-in against Trump? Nope, they are going to do little things like last week when they sent him a bill that didn't include a wall and DACA resolution. When he threatens to veto it they ignored him.

      Being ignored is the single biggest thing Trump fears in the world. Trump signed the bill, complaining, but he signed.

      The Republicans are going to go ever slower in processing Trump's revolving door cabinet appointees, explaining they've got more important things to do. They might "accidentally" let some Democratic bills through so Trump has to justify vetoing them.

      And sometime in the next year, the congressional Republicans are likely to quietly stick a knife in Trump's political back, twist it a couple of times, and walk quietly away, denying everything but looking smug. "Principled?" Not even close, but you can't get that from the Republicans or even most Democrats these days.

      On the other hand, Trump will be bleeding his political guts out and whining while the Secret Service carts him off to his gold-plated loony bin. The big question is what the Pence years will be like.

    9. Pence: Like Trump only with less drama and more quiet viciousness.

      OK, I get you on the GOP. I honestly don't think they have the sack even for that, but you have a good point on the budget bill (though I think the DACA is more about the moral cowardice of the Congressional GOP; they know that the proposal to deport these poor bastards is hideously inhumane but they WANT it - they love the idea of tossing these beaners out, they just can't bring themselves to be the public sonsofbitches they are in private).

      That said, I still don't think that there's a critical mass of GOP resistance or even subversion. I think they fear their lunatic CHUDs too much. They'll grumble and call him a fucking moron in private...but won't stick the knife in; they don't have even the principle of a Casca.

    10. Pluto, I have to disagree with you...Trump is a fucking's just that he plays it off like, "yo check it out, I'm all, like, on top of it all, yo, and it's like, this my jam, and I'm like, catch me if you can because I keep all the bitches off balance with my wit, which is what I employ when I'm with my homies..."

      Don't confuse his word-salads with the young people call it, Trump likes to "verbal shit-post."

      He's not smart, if he was, he would have those awesome lawyers he says all want to represent him, instead of the reality which will probably be a down and out public defender who's family disowned him, his wife and child left him, and he's betrayed his AA mentor, so fuck it, he'll defend Trump...and I bet even that down and out Public Defender will look at Trump during his deposition and say, "dude, I thought I was in bad shape, but you are an unfolding train wreck still screeching along the tracks!"

  6. I believe John Bolton is reputed to be a "kiss up and kick down" type of guy writ large. Given Trump's open demand for adoration, this should work out well.

  7. There is some very interesting analysis that should be done with respect to Grand Alliances and Crazy Kings. Over the past seventy years, America has built the great western alliance. It was thought that this alliance would be a stabilising force in the world. However, we now see that most of the other world powers are so chained to American that they can't tell the crazy president that he is full of shit and to settle down. The powers that are *out* of the alliance (Russia, China, etc.) are too weak to pressure the USA in any meaningful way short of Nuclear winter.

    And now we all await the twenty first century equivalent of an random encounter between an Archduke and a Serbian nationalist. I wonder where I left my snowshoes?

    1. I think one thing that nobody really counted on was a U.S. President that is frankly unmoored. I don't think it's so much that the European and other North American states can't tell Orange Foolius to STFU; it's that he won't, and doesn't have to, listen to them.

      The real question I don't have a good answer to is how far exactly this joker is willing to go to indulge himself. Will he start a major land war? Will he start a nuclear war? I honestly have no certainty he won't.

      But...her e-mails!

    2. The important lesson of 1914 is that nobody *intended* to have a World War. It is just that things, once ignited, got out of hand.

      I don't see anyone wanting to start a nuclear war. However, if there is tinder and some sparks, you can get ignition.

      In the past, diplomacy served to limit the number of sparks landing on the tinder.
      Alas, I see the possibility for a *lot* of sparks coming out of this administration.

  8. Chas Freeman on American Diplomacy.

    Truly sad that, even in happier times, he could not get a top level job in the government.

    1. Neither could Andy Bachevich, despite making more geopolotical sense than an entire sackful of Boltons, Wolfowitzes, and Perles.

  9. Speaking of Bachevich, he has a brilliant piece of muckraking up at Tomdispatch:

    "So that’s my take. I’m sure, A.G., that journalists in your employ could sharpen my questions and devise more of their own. But here’s a small proposition: just for a single day, confine Donald Trump to page A17 and give our no-name war the attention that the Times normally reserves for the president it loathes."