For all that, I also think Bolton also disserved his president, his country and himself.
He disserved the president because he went to work for a man whose core convictions — whether on U.S. commitments to NATO, or overtures to Iran, or relations with Russia — he knew he deeply opposed. Every president is entitled to candid advice. But presidents are also entitled to advisers who devote their energies to advancing the boss’s agenda, not to stymieing it.
He disserved the country by attempting to disguise the truth about the Trump presidency. His bureaucratic maneuvers may have prevented foreign policy fiascoes in North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere, at least for the time being. But presidents usually get their way in foreign policy, especially if re-elected. By sparing Americans from the consequences of Trump’s impulses, Bolton has made re-election likelier — and, in all likelihood, the very outcomes he labored to prevent.