Bolton Right Choice on National Security
The president’s decision to appoint John Bolton as his national security adviser reflects an understanding of the critical lessons of history, and the Bolton designation will greatly reduce the grave risks now faced by America during today’s increasingly troubled times.
Bolton scare-mongering is based on the mistaken Beltway wisdom practiced during the previous administration — that doing nothing in the face of danger reduces American risks.
The attacks on Bolton come from the same people who told us that President Reagan, whose policies brought down the former Soviet Union without firing a shot, would lead us to world war.
During the Obama years, Bolton was a voice in the wilderness arguing that Iran’s nuclear ambitions posed the real risks of war. His was a voice that argued against offering money and legitimacy to the North Korean regime in exchange for denuclearization promises it never had any intention of keeping.
Bolton’s advice ignored, we now confront two rogue regimes that are not only more fully armed and hostile and engaged in terrorism; even more dangerous is their contempt for America’s readiness to defend its interests. More dangerous still is China’s increasing aggressiveness and President Xi Jinping’s assumption of Stalin-like powers to rule for life. These developments don’t just happen; they flourish in vacuums and are suppressed when America defends its values and interests.
The time has come to judge the risks of American inaction by the same standards that we judge the risks of acting in support of our friends and interests. Thus, when President Trump followed Bolton’s advice to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, he showed America’s enemies that hostile actions could have high costs.
Here lies the paradox: Bolton’s critics seek to frighten us while they actually endanger our future. Though we may never know the bad things America’s enemies decide not to do because they feared our capacity to live up to our promises and act firmly in our interests, in their inaction lies our safety.
Dr. Tom Coburn is a former Republican senator from Oklahoma.
This piece originally appeared in USA Today