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Conservative Review

John Bolton’s Day One national security threats

It’s the first day on the job for John Bolton, President Trump’s third national security adviser, and he already has quite a few major national security issues to contend with right out of the gate. Here’s where he stands on those threats.


The president and his Pentagon appear deadly serious about punishing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad for his reported chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians over the weekend in Douma, Syria. The gas attack killed at least 42 people and injured countless more. President Trump has committed to major action within the next 24-48 hours. Bolton has long been a proponent of decentralizing power away from Assad, Iran, and Russia in order to restore U.S. and allies’ security interests in the region.

North Korea summit

It’s not an imminent situation, but the expected date for a Kim Jong Un-President Trump meeting is rapidly approaching. Secret talks are reportedly already under way to set the conditions for a face-to-face meeting. Bolton, a major critic of past administrations’ approaches to the North Korean nuclear issue — Republicans and Democrats alike — will play a critical role in advising the president on what Pyongyang seeks to achieve through the negotiations.

Iran deal

The President has until May 12 to decide whether the U.S. will again choose to stay in the Iran deal, negotiate changes to it, or leave it altogether. Bolton, like Trump, has long been a major skeptic of the merits of the supposed deal. Last year, he told Conservative Review that the Iran deal is impossible to enforce. It’s like “trying to nail Jell-O to a wall,” Bolton told CR, adding, “It’s a very badly negotiated agreement.”

Border security

Bolton has long insisted that thousands of people continuing to infiltrate the southern border are a vital threat to U.S. national security.


The new national security adviser has floated the idea that the U.S. needs to do more to back Taiwan as part of our grand strategy to thwart Chinese ambitions. He has described President Trump’s tariffs on Beijing as a “shock therapy” strategy purposed with changing China’s behavior.


Vladimir Putin faces an incoming national security adviser who looks into his eyes and sees a KGB operative who intends to challenge the United States at every turn. Bolton is a Russia hawk and a proponent of a strong NATO alliance. He has called on the U.S. to do more to counter Russian propaganda, cyber attacks, and regional aggression.

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