President Donald Trump's pick of John Bolton for his next national security adviser stirred up the same burning question Friday in Washington as in anxious foreign capitals: Just how much will his hawkish, confrontational approach rub off on Trump? While Bolton, President Trump's third National Security Adviser, plans to replace so many personnel, only time will tell if he too will be replaced. He will take the job on April 9.
Bolton and Pompeo also share Trump's intense frustration with the nuclear agreement that the United States and five other world powers reached with Tehran during the Obama administration. If Trump's planned summit with Kim Jong-Un does not lead quickly to North Korea's nuclear disarmament he has a team that is more ready than his last to contemplate pre-emptive war.
Absent a total North Korean capitulation, Bolton is likely to press Trump to reject lesser concessions such as a freeze of North Korea's nuclear program, said those who have worked with him.
Trump's definition of "America First" has always been somewhat nebulous, although he's stressed the importance of US sovereignty, limited overseas intervention and burden-sharing among allies so that Washington doesn't disproportionately foot the bill.
The NSC is one of the most powerful wings of the White House that drives the administration's national security agenda.
According to a White House official, Trump and McMaster mutually agreed that the latter will resign as the NSA. Hours later, in a phone call between the two, it became clear that McMaster's time was up. Pentagon officials have said that they feel under intense pressure to show progress on the battlefield this year before Trump pulls the plug.More news: Stephen Curry cleared to return to practice
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Trump and McMaster both released written statements thanking each other, with the president describing McMaster as an architect of his "America First" foreign policy.
In approaching North Korea, Bolton has suggested that Trump should demand that the Kim Jong Un denuclearize and allow worldwide arms inspectors unfettered access to the country - an outcome most Korea experts say is highly unlikely. This work and those achievements will ensure that America builds on its economic and military advantages.
After weeks of speculation about McMaster's future, Trump and the respected three-star general put a positive face on the Thursday departure, making no reference to the growing public friction between them.
"Throughout my career, it has been my greatest privilege to serve alongside extraordinary service members and dedicated civilians".
As Mr. Bolton prepares to replace General McMaster, people briefed by the White House said, the president has told Mr. Bolton that he needs to cut down on leaks, like the disclosure this week that Mr. Trump disregarded his briefing materials in a call with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russian Federation.
Bolton has been a foreign policy hawk in Republican circles for decades, having served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush.
One U.S. official who worked for the State Department when Bolton was at the United Nations said that the assistant secretary of state for worldwide organizations, whose office oversees the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, was in a constant tug-of-war with Bolton and his chief of staff, trying with limited success to rein in Bolton or persuade him to tone down his public comments. McMaster is reported to have taken similar precautions in his own time as the National Security Adviser.