U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday, in a tweet, the dismissal of his national security adviser John Bolton, with whom he disagreed on several hot issues, from Iran to North Korea to Afghanistan.
This spectacular decision, which concerns one of the most influential posts in the White House, comes in a particula
rly tense climate between the United States and Iran. Mr. Trump sent conflicting signals on this issue, between extreme firmness and a willingness to negotiate or even meet with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rohani.
While it is too early to say whether this decision will mark a turning point in the foreign policy of the 45th President of the United States, the departure of this former ambassador with the famous moustache and reputation for going to war will undoubtedly change the dynamics within the “West Wing”.
“I informed John Bolton last night that we no longer needed his services at the White House,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “I disagreed with many of his suggestions, as did others in this administration.
“I asked John for his resignation, it was given to me this morning,” the president added, assuring that he would appoint his successor next week.
– “Let’s talk about it tomorrow” –
From a dry tweet, Mr. Bolton, 70, presented a different version of the last 24 hours, indicating that he had offered to resign Monday evening and that the President had replied: “Let’s talk about it tomorrow”.
The announcement came less than two hours before a press briefing, which had been announced by the White House and in which Mr. Bolton was to participate along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The latter jumped at the opportunity to point out that he had often disagreed with Mr. Bolton and insisted on his proximity to Donald Trump. “We work very closely with the President of the United States,” he said.
It also comes less than 48 hours after the cancellation of a secret meeting scheduled in Camp David between the American president and the Taliban, with whom Washington had been negotiating a peace agreement on Afghanistan for several months.
A former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bolton was notoriously hostile to Donald Trump’s outstretched hand to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and had been directly targeted by the Pyongyang regime in the spring of 2018.
“We have already, in the past, mentioned Bolton’s personality and we do not hide our disgust with him,” the Foreign Ministry had said. Already in the early 2000s, his extreme firmness on this issue had led to him being called a “human waste” in the North Korean press.
Shortly before his arrival in the White House, he considered it “perfectly legitimate for the United States” to respond to the threat posed by a nuclear North Korea “by hitting the first”.
– “Governing through chaos” –
For Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer, Donald Trump’s decision is just “the latest example of how he governs through chaos”.
Republican Senator Rand Paul strongly welcomed the announcement of Mr. Bolton’s dismissal. “The president has excellent insights into foreign policy and the need to end our endless wars,” he tweeted. “He should be advised by those who share his vision.”
“From the beginning, two voices whispered in Donald Trump’s ear: one recommending diplomacy and warning against conflict, and one urging belligerency and warning against the risk of appearing weak,” summarized Robert Malley, president of the International Crisis Group.
“With Bolton’s departure, the second one undoubtedly lost her main lawyer. This could create new diplomatic opportunities on Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea and Venezuela. Let us hope that the President will seize them”.