In my search for silver linings following the 2016 election disaster, I observed that Trump during the campaign had made a case for a more restrained, less interventionist foreign policy. He hasn’t consistently followed through, but his basic instinct is to avoid involvement in unnecessary wars (or at least unnecessary new wars). The flaming end to John Bolton’s tenure at the White House puts the tattered Trump silver lining on display. Bolton is a genuine warmonger. He was on the wrong side of nearly every policy fight he waged in the Trump administration. (Exception: he was right to argue that the Taliban shouldn’t be invited to Camp David.) Trump was initially drawn to Bolton apparently because of personality affinities as well as a shared, truculent hyper-nationalism. But Trump’s instinctive truculence is balanced by his isolationist impulses. Bolton suffers from no such inhibitions. The world is a little safer with Bolton out of the White House.
Only after writing this post did I realize what date it is. At the expense of seeming ritualistic, I don’t think I can do a post today without acknowledging the horror of this date. As the occupant of an office in 1 World Trade Center I was lucky to avoid the worst. A number of my colleagues and friends were not so lucky.