By sacking former national security adviser John Bolton, President Donald Trump has put himself in a better position to keep the campaign promises that distinguished him from the other Republicans who ran against him in 2016 and perhaps pull off another come-from-behind win next year.
Finally, an example of regime change that could actually make our country safer. But while firing Bolton is prerequisite for pursuing a true “America First” foreign policy, it is not sufficient by itself. Trump needs reinforcements if he is to fulfill his pledges to end the wars in Syria and, especially, Afghanistan. The next national security adviser cannot be a Bolton bureaucratic rival who largely holds the same view as the mustachioed militarist or even a Bolton mini-me.
Trump cannot govern the way he wants to by recruiting from the George W. Bush and John McCain B Teams. While his options are limited—realism and restraint has considerable academic support, but less Beltway experience and fewer credentialed Republicans—the alternative is to surrender the advantages that put him in the Oval Office in the first place over the objections of the mainstream media, outraged Democrats, and even some of his own party’s establishment.
So far there has been a disconnect between Trump’s rhetoric and the Trump record. He has allowed underlings to essentially override him on Afghanistan and Syria. He scrapped the Iran nuclear deal without a viable alternative and vetoed a bipartisan resolution rebuking U.S. participation in the unconscionable Saudi war on Yemen. He has escalated many of the ongoing presidential wars that lack constitutionally required congressional authorization.
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