John Bolton’s entry in the 1970 Yale Old Campus (the kind of entering freshmen yearbook that inspired Facebook). “CC” means he was in (the recently renamed) Calhoun College.
Charles Hugh Smith offers some over-the-top, and consequently amusing, speculations on the meaning of Bolton’s National Security Advisor appointment.
This wing of the Deep State, unquestionably in charge until the election of Donald Trump, finds Trump, well, interesting. Trump can congratulate Vladdy Putin on his shoo-in re-election one day and eject a bunch of Russian diplomats the next.
This sort of non-linear, non-ideologically pure “policy” (or lack thereof) discombobulates the Deep State, which is accustomed to presidents rubber-stamping their agenda and supporting their narrative.
They’re having a tough time controlling Trump, as it’s difficult to read how best to play him: is Trump a master of the Crazy Ivan or is he just winging it? Assuming the latter leaves those acting on that premise vulnerable to a Crazy Ivan once Trump has extracted whatever value he sought from the person or policy.
So how do we decrypt the appointment of Bolton? Here are two possibilities:
1. Trump appointed bete noire Bolton to do the dirty work of cleaning house and ridding the National Security Council and staff of any loyalists to previous presidents or cliques. This Bolton seems prepared to do with both alacrity and relish. This appointment also throws a bone to those demanding a harsher, more interventionist foreign policy.
Once Bolton has cleaned house and disrupted or fired the status quo holdovers from the Obama administration, he’ll be fired like everyone else. Crazy Ivan!
2. The neo-liberal /neo-conservative /neo-colonial wing of the Deep State has given up trying to evict Trump from the White House or manage him. Both of these strategies carry high risks and the assessment has likely been made that both have not just failed, they’re increasingly counter-productive, eroding the legitimacy of those pushing them.
So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump: Trump appoints Bolton, whom the Deep State views as the adult supervising the playground, and in return, the Mueller investigation goes away and the Clintons will finally lose the protection of the security agencies. (They’ve become enormous liabilities anyway, and there’s no benefit to the high cost of continuing to protecting them.)