Trump's replacement for H.R. McMaster really wants to bomb North Korea

Alex Lockie

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  • President Donald Trump is rumored to be on the verge of replacing his National Security Adviser.

  • A likely replacement is John Bolton, a man who argues constantly for bombing North Korea, John Bolton

  • Bolton frequently appears on Fox News and writes that he thinks North Korea is an imminent threat to the US, and must be dealt with now.

  • He completely dismissed North Korea's recent push for talks, and maintains that war is still a good option.


Rumors swirled around the White House on Thursday as The Washington Post reported that H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump's National Security Adviser, was about to be dismissed.

His mooted replacement is John Bolton, a man who seems to really want to bomb North Korea.

The White House quashed those rumors on Thursday night, but Trump's White House has often denied rumors of staff shakeups, only to go through with them anyway.

This was the case with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's ouster on Monday.

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Conventional wisdom in Washington now indicates that Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, would take over for McMaster in the top security adviser role to Trump.

In late February, amid a marked thaw in North and South Korea tensions, as the prospect of diplomacy looked brighter than ever, Bolton wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called "The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First."

In the article, Bolton argues that North Korea has given the US no choice, and must be attacked before it perfects its fleet of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. In making his argument, Bolton never once mentioned South Korea, which North Korea holds hostage with a massive installation of hidden artillery guns.

Experts estimate that thousands would die in Seoul, the capital of a democratic, loyal US ally, for every hour of fighting with North Korea.

"It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current 'necessity' posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first," Bolton concludes his article.

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly expressed interest in denuclearizing his country to South Korean diplomats, Bolton dismissed it as a trick.

"The only thing North Korea is serious about is getting deliverable nuclear weapons," he told Fox News. Bolton frequently appears on Fox, Trump's favorite news station, to talk about North Korea in his characteristically hawkish way.

Bolton's Twitter feed is a constant stream of reminders of links between North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs and those in Syria and Iran.

Bolton believes, not without evidence, that North Korea could become an exporter of dangerous technologies that would potentially threaten US lives.

Trump already had a North Korea hawk. Bolton is a super hawk.

But McMaster wasn't exactly a dove on North Korea either. McMaster reportedly pushed the idea of striking North Korea, though perhaps in a more limited fashion than all-out war.

In November and December of 2017, persistent reports came out that Trump's inner circle was weighing a "bloody nose" attack on North Korea. But by the new year, military and administration officials had started to pour cold water on the notion.

On Thursday, the commander of the US military in the Pacific said that if the US does go to war with North Korea, it will be all out war.

The rumors of McMaster's ouster come after another Trump administration move that was perceived to steer the White House in a hawkish direction, when Trump announced that CIA director Mike Pompeo would replace Tillerson.

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