Aafter defying almost all predictions and winning the presidency, Donald Trump now enters into the initial stages of governance. And it all starts with the selection of a cabinet. His appointments are important not only because of the role cabinet members play in allowing the president to carry out his agenda, but also because the identity of his appointees will reassure, or alarm, America’s allies and enemies. No one is quite sure what President Trump will be like, so you can bet that foreign governments will be monitoring Trump’s appointments closely. Particularly relevant, of course, is the identity of his Secretary of State, the person responsible for managing America’s relationship with the rest of the world.
According to news reports, one of the few names in consideration is John Bolton. Picking Bolton would send a loud and clear signal to the world that the years of American fecklessness and passivity will continue no longer. Bolton’s experience dates back to the days of the Reagan Administration, and picking a seasoned hand would demonstrate that Mr. Trump takes his “Make America Great Again” slogan seriously. Bolton has also taken a hard line on Russian overreach and could provide a welcome counterweight to Mr. Trump’s perceived amiability with Vladimir Putin.
In his capacity as the American representative to the United Nations during the Bush Administration, Bolton showed that he is a force to be reckoned with as he battled the red tape, bureaucratic inefficiency, and plain old anti-Americanism of what often appears to be the world’s most useless organization, making friends and more than a few enemies on the way. (Hey, if North Korea calls a guy “human scum and [a] bloodsucker” and the Iranians call him “rude and undiplomatic,” he must be doing something right.) One of Mr. Trump’s policy themes has been his desire to restore a hard-headed, realist foreign policy centered around America’s best interests. If that is his aim, John Bolton is his man.