John Bolton will be a strong national security adviser

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If you only know John Bolton through the elite media’s hysterical overreaction to his nomination to be President Trump’s national security adviser, you would have no idea how truly smart and experienced he is.

Ambassador Bolton had the office next to mine at the American Enterprise Institute for a number of years. I know firsthand how hard-working, serious and intellectual he is.

{mosads}Beyond his scholarly studies, Bolton’s experience in various government bureaucracies has fully prepared him to be at the center of American national security decision-making.


Serving as assistant attorney general in the Office of Legislative Affairs under President Ronald Reagan, and then as assistant attorney general of the Civil Division under both Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, gave him an amazingly broad understanding of how American government actually works — and a real knowledge about how Congress operates.

Under President George H.W. Bush, Bolton also became the assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs at the Department of State. I suspect this is where his deep skepticism of the United Nations and other international organizations began to grow. As the co-chair (with former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell) of a three-year effort to reform the United Nations, I have to confess, I share Ambassador Bolton’s doubts about large international bodies.

When President George W. Bush came into office, he asked Bolton to serve as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security. Afterward, he appointed Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and the Democrats opposed him because they found Bolton too aggressively conservative, too smart and too effective. This led to President Bush giving him an interim appointment to the post. Bolton was a very intense, focused ambassador, and he got a lot done for America during his brief tenure.

After serving three presidents in numerous different roles, Bolton’s range of experience is such that few others could bring to the job of national security adviser.

Bolton is smart enough to know that the national security adviser has a coordinating role. The job requires getting all the departments that deal with foreign and national security to work together. In the modern era, the national security adviser also has to keep the departments of the Treasury, Homeland Security, Justice, Energy and Agriculture, as well as the trade representative, all in the loop.

Finally, in that role, Bolton will have to coordinate with the director of National Intelligence and the 16 additional intelligence agencies, and utilize their wide-ranging knowledge to provide reality checks for developing policy.

Those in the elite media expect Bolton to be the proverbial “bull in the China shop,” throwing his weight around and, potentially, causing the United States to enter into wars.

This idea is as incorrect as it is ridiculous.

Bolton himself long has admired Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who was a solid national security adviser for both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. Scowcroft’s model will serve Bolton well in dealing with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mattis was a Marine Corps four-star general. Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point and served as the editor of the Harvard Law Review while attending Harvard Law School. Neither of these men can be pushed around, and I am certain Bolton knows that.

There is no question that President Trump has made a solid, experienced choice for his new national security adviser.

Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, chairman of the board at Gingrich Productions and a Gallup senior scientist.

Tags American Enterprise Institute Brent Scowcroft Donald Trump George H. W. Bush Government James Mattis John R. Bolton Mike Pompeo Military personnel

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