Bolton has the advantage of being an experienced, straight-talking yet nuanced foreign-policy hand, who also fits the Trump sensibility on national security. Bolton is an American internationalist who believes in the importance of American power. He is a hard-headed realist whose focus is always the national interest. He negotiated the creation of the Proliferation Security Initiative, for instance, a global effort to counter illicit trafficking in weapons and materials of mass destruction. It was, and is, a diplomatic rarity—“an activity, not an organization,” as one U.K. diplomat put it. United Nations, take note.
Bolton has been around the block—starting his career as a protégé of James A. Baker III—but has never become an establishmentarian or lost his edge. He would understand that he is the president’s emissary to the State Department, not the other way around, and avoid getting captured by Foggy Bottom’s bureaucrats the way, say, a Colin Powell did, or others with less experience likely would.
He is a scourge of international institutions and treaties that threaten our interests or sovereignty. In the George W. Bush administration, he removed America’s signature from the treaty creating the International Criminal Court, and negotiated over 100 bilateral agreements to prevent Americans from being delivered into the ICC’s custody. And he negotiated America’s withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty so President Bush could launch a national missile-defense program to protect America from the likes of rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.