Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, announced that the U.S. government would “enthusiastically” support a hard Brexit. It is stunning to consider how such a person managed to position himself at the president’s ear.
John Bolton occupies a key position in the American power apparatus. He is the president’s national security adviser and thus not entirely insignificant when it comes to questions of war and peace. Bolton is a nationalist from head to toe, one for whom infinite American power comes above everything and who considers agreements that could encroach upon the United States’ freedom of trade to be the devil’s work. Where there is a nail − i.e., a problem − the American hammer is the tool of choice. And also when there is no nail.
John Bolton also occupied elevated positions in George W. Bush’s government. And even then he was noticeable for his loathing of the EU, for ideological reasons and because it could not be ruled out, after all, that the EU would become “impertinent” toward the United States, that they would become strong and would confidently represent their interests in dealings with America. Backtalk − Bolton expects from Europe not that, but instead, fealty.
This man was just in London, where he announced that the Trump administration would “enthusiastically” support a hard Brexit. That was music to the ears of the highest-ranking Brexiteers and, one can assume, reflected the president’s line. In the past, he had already repeatedly expressed his enthusiasm for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU and now is openly supporting a hard break “enthusiastically.” This point, too, reveals how much this administration’s policies toward Europe − whose motto, as we know, is “disruption” − differ from those of its predecessors.
People like Bolton and the Brexit supporters in London are (ideological) soul mates. But it might be sensible for the latter, despite their giddiness over apparent American support for something that deeply worries many citizens of the United Kingdom, to not lose their footing. Because the American nationalists, of course, prefer to deal with comparatively smaller countries, and that includes those with whom they are, for various reasons, closely allied. In that way, they can play out their power and domination; thus, they are able to tell and point where to go next.
The administration in London will eventually see that negotiations for a free trade agreement will not be a make-a-wish scenario. The junior partner is above all always that: the subordinate. And if mistrust of Bolton is so strong in the “rest of the European Union,” that is completely justified. He is one person who does not have good intentions for the EU. The question of how such a man managed to position himself at the president’s ear is entirely legitimate − and stunning.