Since US President Donald Trump announced John Bolton as his new top national security adviser last week, the world has been reeling from multiple predictions of wars breaking out.
The following is not meant to sound complacent, but the inclusion of arch war-hawk Bolton in Trump's inner circle may actually turn out to be a good thing. For it will hasten America's reckless foreign policies and its decline as a world power.
Admittedly, such an outlook is proffered against a very grim background.
John Bolton has been described not so much as "America First" as "Military First." He is credited as being the chief architect of the Iraq War under the GW Bush administration. He remains bumptiously unapologetic about promoting that war, which was based on lies and resulted in as many as one million deaths.
Bolton relishes in open contempt for the United Nations and international law, viewing both as hampering the United States from using military force whenever and wherever it wants, in pursuit of its geopolitical objectives.
He has stridently called for US military attacks on North Korea and Iran, to instigate regime change.
So, for "mad hatter" Bolton to have the ear of the president in matters of international security is indeed a cause for a foreboding apprehension. Especially given also that President Trump already seems riven with a confused foreign policy and a worrying impetuousness in dealing with the rest of the world.
It says a lot whenever US media are rattled by the bellicose prospect of John Bolton guiding Trump on precarious issues.
"The return of John Bolton paves the way for more war," warned the Washington Post.
The New York Times cautioned: "The whole world should be concerned."
Both news outlets had previously acted as cheerleaders for the overseas wars which Bolton promulgated when he was serving in the Bush State Department some 15 years ago. Evidently, the return of war-hawk Bolton to White House policy-making is just too much to bear.
As already noted, Bolton is gung-ho for regime-change wars against North Korea and Iran. He is also hawkish towards China and what he views as the latter's military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. Bolton has accused Russia of "an act of war" by allegedly meddling in US politics. He also berated Trump last year for not being tougher towards President Vladimir Putin when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Hamburg. Bolton claimed Putin blatantly lied to Trump when he assured him that Russia had not interfered in US elections.
On any number of international tensions, the Trump administration is liable to take an even more aggressive turn with John Bolton in the wheelhouse of foreign policy. With more aggression, the odds are significantly shortened on the danger of an armed confrontation erupting.
Nevertheless, there are also sound reasons why war will not break out. Far from portending a more dominant United States, the Trump administration is leading the presumptuous "uni-power" into greater international isolation.