John Bolton Has a Sinister Tie to Cambridge Analytica

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United States President Donald Trump's cabinet reshuffles have fueled concerns, not least after the latest appointment of hawkish John Bolton as National Security Adviser (NSA), just days after installing a former Central Intelligence Agency chief as the new secretary of state.

The sacking followed a spate of other administration firings, most notably that of now former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was replaced by Mike Pompeo earlier this month.

Bolton, an outspoken advocate of military action who served in the George W. Bush administration, has called for action against Iran and North Korea.

More recently and specifically he seems to be in tune with the president when it comes to the deal, having said that "The Iran nuclear deal, in my opinion, was the worst act of appeasement in American history" in 2016.

A political action committee run by President Trump's incoming national security adviser relied on research from Cambridge Analytica, the voter profiling firm that Facebook has accused of unauthorized use of its user data. The Times piece noted that "There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war". He railed at all worldwide organizations, multilateral treaties, the United Nations, nongovernmental and human-rights organizations, and any accord that constrained American power.

Yet Bolton's allies have pointed out that for all the fiery rhetoric, Bolton has spent his career as a diplomat - he was once the State Department's top arms control official - and has never sought a military role. It called on the Obama administration to bomb Iran's Natanz and Fordow uranium installations. Besides renewing sanctions, the plan includes many elements aimed at facilitating regime change in Tehran. Nor does he mention that renewal of sanctions would lead to a clash with our European allies, who are party to the deal and want it to continue. His could prove to be one of the more catastrophic appointments of an already devastating administration - so here's hoping that he will embarrass or enrage the president quickly enough to flame out before doing serious damage.

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"It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current "necessity" posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first", he wrote. Just last month, he seized on Pompeo's remark that North Korea was "a handful of months" from having a nuclear missile capable of reaching the United States, to set out a sham legal case in the Wall Street Journal for attacking North Korea.

Bolton is a fierce North Korea hawk who, in his prolific writings and television commentary, has said that pre-emptive war would likely be the only way to stop North Korea from obtaining the capability to attack the U.S. with a nuclear missile, reports The Washington Post. "Given the gaps in USA intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute", he added.

As McMaster's replacement, John Bolton, the hardline former US ambassador to the United Nations, has a long history of favoring pro-military action.

Until now, threats of preemptive war appeared to be pressure tactics aimed to squeeze and limit Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

In 2005, Mr Bolton was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by George W Bush, raising eyebrows around Washington - not least because Mr Bolton had only two years earlier been accused of distorting USA intelligence to exaggerate the unproven claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Expect a very hard foreign-policy spring.