Sunday, March 25, 2018

Decrypting the Appointment of John Bolton

So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump.
To many observers, the appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor is the functional equivalent of appointing the Anti-Christ--or maybe worse. Indeed, these observers would, when comparing the two, find grudging favor with the Anti-Christ.
Bolton is a founding member of the neoliberal, neoconservative, neo-colonial interventionist Globalist wing of the Deep State. The antipathy he inspires is partly due to the enjoyment he takes in wielding power. (Note that the Anti-Christ is not a victim--he enjoys being the Anti-Christ.)
This wing of the Deep State, unquestionably in charge until the election of Donald Trump, finds Trump, well, interesting. Trump can congratulate Vladdy Putin on his shoo-in re-election one day and eject a bunch of Russian diplomats the next.
This sort of non-linear, non-ideologically pure "policy" (or lack thereof) discombobulates the Deep State, which is accustomed to presidents rubber-stamping their agenda and supporting their narrative.
They're having a tough time controlling Trump, as it's difficult to read how best to play him: is Trump a master of the Crazy Ivan or is he just winging it? Assuming the latter leaves those acting on that premise vulnerable to a Crazy Ivan once Trump has extracted whatever value he sought from the person or policy.
So how do we decrypt the appointment of Bolton? Here are two possibilities:
1. Trump appointed bete noire Bolton to do the dirty work of cleaning house and ridding the National Security Council and staff of any loyalists to previous presidents or cliques. This Bolton seems prepared to do with both alacrity and relish. This appointment also throws a bone to those demanding a harsher, more interventionist foreign policy.
Once Bolton has cleaned house and disrupted or fired the status quo holdovers from the Obama administration, he'll be fired like everyone else. Crazy Ivan!
2. The neo-liberal /neo-conservative /neo-colonial wing of the Deep State has given up trying to evict Trump from the White House or manage him. Both of these strategies carry high risks and the assessment has likely been made that both have not just failed, they're increasingly counter-productive, eroding the legitimacy of those pushing them.
So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump: Trump appoints Bolton, whom the Deep State views as the adult supervising the playground, and in return, the Mueller investigation goes away and the Clintons will finally lose the protection of the security agencies. (They've become enormous liabilities anyway, and there's no benefit to the high cost of continuing to protecting them.)
If Trump is just winging it, the Deep State might finally re-exert some of the control it has lost in the White House and desperately needs to re-consolidate.But if Trump is actually adept at the Crazy Ivan, this deal plays right into his hands: the security services lower the moat gate, letting the wolves in to ravage Castle Clinton, Bolton cleans house and Mueller wraps up his hunt for obstruction of justice and accepts retirement.
Once these goods have been delivered, Trump fires Bolton and the neo-cons in the Deep State get nothing except another lesson in Crazy Ivan.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I will be greatly surprised if Bolton lasts a year.
Of related interest:
The Dollar and the Deep State (February 24, 2014)
Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump's Back? (January 18, 2017)


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