Bolton Appointment Extremely Dangerous, Undercuts National Security

Published Mar 23, 2018


Statement by David Wright, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists


WASHINGTON (March 23, 2018)—The appointment of John Bolton as President Trump’s National Security Advisor is a dangerous step that undercuts U.S. security.

Below is a statement by David Wright, senior scientist and co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Mr. Bolton has a long history of taking extreme positions that are well outside the norms of both political parties. His extreme views are particularly dangerous now given his opposition to diplomacy with Iran and North Korea.

“Mr. Bolton goes well beyond calling for ending the nuclear deal with Iran, arguing for military attacks on the country instead. In 2015, while the Iran deal was still being negotiated, he called for bombing Iran rather than negotiating. This past January he wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that ‘America’s declared policy should be ending Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution before its 40th anniversary.’

“The Trump administration is gearing up for talks with North Korea, but Mr. Bolton’s long-standing position has been to oppose negotiations. As recently as February he argued in favor of a pre-emptive military attack on North Korea. He said, ‘Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute. That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation.’

“Republicans and Democrats have viewed his approach to international issues as undermining U.S. standing in the world and compromising national security. In 2005, for example, his appointment to become the U.S. representative at the United Nations drew withering criticism from across the political spectrum, leading to his failure to be confirmed for the position. A letter signed by more than 100 former diplomats—two-thirds of whom served under Republican administrations—argued that ‘his past activities and statements indicate conclusively that he is the wrong man for this position.’

“John Bolton is an ideologue whose history demonstrates critically flawed judgement about international problems. Having him in the White House advising a president with little foreign policy experience at a time like this is especially dangerous. President Trump should reconsider his decision and appoint someone who will better serve U.S. interests.”