The departure of John Bolton, President Trump’s third national security adviser, injects still more volatility into U.S. foreign policy, and the choice of his successor has profound implications for U.S. national security interests.
The big picture: Bolton successfully influenced U.S. withdrawals from the Iran nuclear deal, arms control treaties and international agreements, while chipping away at American commitments to multilateralism. But he had become marginalized in the White House as his hawkish approach increasingly clashed with Trump’s deal-making instincts.
Context: Bolton ended up on the losing side of a growing list of policy disputes. Reports suggest the final straw came after Bolton protested proposed meetings between Trump and the Taliban and between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
- Bolton had already been sidelined from Afghanistan policy deliberations as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advanced a deal with the Taliban (though Trump ultimately called off the Camp David