National Review backs John Bolton for secretary of state

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Influential conservative magazine National Review backed John Bolton for Secretary of State Saturday, writing to President-elect Donald Trump that the former U.N. ambassador deserves the nod.

"Bolton has been around the block," the magazine's editors wrote in a staff editorial. "Bolton has the advantage of being an experienced, straight-talking yet nuanced foreign-policy hand, who also fits the Trump sensibility on national security. Bolton is an American internationalist who believes in the importance of American power. He is a hard-headed realist whose focus is always the national interest."

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Bolton, 67, briefly served as a recess-appointee as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., during the George W. Bush administration. Bolton was forced to resign in late 2006 after the Democrats won control of Congress, making a formal confirmation unlikely.

Bolton is considered by many to be a neoconservative, a faction of the Republican foreign policy elite that sharply refused to back Trump. National Review itself published a special issue entitled "Against Trump."

"John Bolton was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives' war-and-conquest agenda," Jon Basil Utley writes for The American Conservative. "[Trump] could undermine his whole agenda by allowing neocons back into their former staffing and leadership role over Republican foreign policy."

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Bolton, like the writers at National Review, has criticized Trump, even saying he was "disturbed" by some of Trump's comments on NATO.

But he has hardly been uniformly critical of the president-elect. Bolton praised Trump over the summer, writing in August, "Mr. Trump rightly sees an ideological war being waged against the West by a hateful, millenarian obsession... From that assessment flow several policy consequences, most important the imperative to destroy the terrorist threat."

National Review backed Bolton over other leading State contenders, such as Newt Gingrich, and Bob Corker. NR says that the former speaker is a "brilliant thinker," but that he is a "glib talker who would always be one slip of the tongue away from creating an international crisis."

And the magazine alleged that Corker facilitated President Obama's Iran deal through Congress, as other outlets have charged, even though Corker voted against the agreement.

One report issued over the weekend, from David Corn of The Nation, says Gingrich doesn't even want the job. So far, however, Gingrich has remained mum on the subject.


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