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President Trump has tapped John Bolton to become his next national security adviser, replacing H.R. McMaster. Bolton is known for his ultra-hawkish views. He has openly backed war against Iran and North Korea, and was a prominent supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Just three weeks ago, Bolton wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal titled "The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First."
In 2015, while the Obama administration was negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, Bolton wrote a piece titled "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran." We speak to longtime investigative reporter Gareth Porter. His new piece for The American Conservative is titled "The Untold Story of John Bolton's Campaign for War with Iran."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: In the latest White House shake-up, General H.R. McMaster is resigning as national security adviser. President Trump has tapped John Bolton to replace him. Bolton is known for his ultra-hawkish views. He has openly backed war against Iran and North Korea, and was a prominent supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, to this day. Just three weeks ago, Bolton wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal headlined "The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First." In 2015, while the Obama administration was negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, Bolton wrote a piece headlined "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran."
Bolton will take over the position on April 9th and will not need to be confirmed by the Senate. Under President George W. Bush, Bolton served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He was given a recess appointment, after Bush feared he would not be confirmed by the Senate. For decades, John Bolton has been one of the most vocal critics of the United Nations.
JOHN BOLTON: The point that I want to leave with you, in this very brief presentation, is where I started, is there is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that's the United States, when it suits our interest and when we can get others to go along. " The Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.
AMY GOODMAN: John Bolton has also been a leading critic of the International Criminal Court. Human rights groups have condemned the selection of Bolton. Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International said, quote, "This is a reckless decision. Bolton's influence over national security policy could result in even more civilian deaths and potentially unlawful killings given his disdain for international law and international institutions." Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council also criticized the selection of Bolton. He said, quote, "Bolton now represents the greatest threat to the United States. This is a dangerous time for our country and a slap in the face even to Trump's supporters who thought he would break from waging disastrous foreign wars and military occupations."
One longtime supporter of Bolton has been right-wing billionaire Robert Mercer. Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reports Mercer has donated $5 million to Bolton's super PAC since 2013 and is Bolton's biggest donor.
We go now to Washington, D.C., where we're joined by longtime investigative reporter Gareth Porter. His new piece for The American Conservative is headlined "The Untold Story of John Bolton's Campaign for War with Iran."
Gareth Porter, welcome to Democracy Now! When you heard the news yesterday, though it has been rumored for months, what were your thoughts?
GARETH PORTER: Well, I thought that it was very probable that John Bolton was going to become the next national security adviser for the Trump administration, but I wasn't expecting it this soon. So, it was, in fact, a bit of a surprise in terms of the timing. But it's really been a matter of some weeks now that there have been rumors that -- not rumors, but reports based on leaks from the White House, that McMaster was going to be replaced and that Bolton was clearly the leading candidate. So, that's why I wrote that piece, in anticipation of the likelihood that this was going to happen.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what are your major concerns?
GARETH PORTER: Well, I think everyone knows, by now, that John Bolton has been, in fact, a very vocal advocate of the -- of war with Iran, as well as with North Korea. I mean, he has, for years, been appearing on Fox News regularly. And I haven't counted them, but there must be dozens of times that he has publicly called for the United States to attack Iran militarily. No one else in American life has done anything even remotely similar to what John Bolton has done in terms of advocating war with Iran. He's not the only one, but he's done it more consistently. And since he left the Bush administration in 2005, basically, he has been -- or, rather, 2007, I guess it was, he has been the leading advocate of war with Iran. So, for President Trump to make him his national security adviser, clearly, is the most alarming thing that has happened in terms of U.S. foreign policy under this administration thus far.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to John Bolton speaking on Fox News in 2015.