WASHINGTON: Only a day after the US Security Adviser John Bolton’s departure from the White House, officials are discussing the possibility of handing over the job to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This will likely create a situation whereby the authority of President Trump might be overshadowed and even cause a clash of interests within the White House.
Pompeo would not only have to shoulder the responsibilities as Secretary of State, but he would also take on the additional role of Security Adviser, thereby becoming the second person in the history of United States to handle two immensely powerful positions. Previously, it was Henry Kissinger who took the dual charge during Nixon administration.
It is speculated that the “Kissinger model” could make Pompeo far too powerful within the Trump administration.
So far, it is not clear whether Pompeo is actually included in the President Trump’s shortlist of replacement candidates for Bolton, as the president only hinted he has “five people that he considers very highly qualified, good people.”
Despite the fact that Pompeo’s candidacy may not be on the table, he will act as de-facto National Security Advisor until a permanent replacement is found.
The top contenders for Bolton’s replacement include, US special representative for Iran (and senior policy adviser to Pompeo) Brian Hook, and special envoy to North Korea, Steve Biegun, both are highly amenable to Trump’s deal-making and international diplomacy, a criterion that was not present in John Bolton.
Bolton’s hard-line hawkish policies were in direct clash with Trump’s perceived diplomatic approach. While Bolton took the conventional high-handed approach as was evident in US withdrawal from both the Iranian nuclear deal in 2015 and the Paris accord global climate treaty, 2016 Paris accord. Similarly the same approach was manifested when new were imposed on Iran and trade wars initiated with China.
Trump, on the other hand, known for his business-like diplomacy, it is reported, found Bolton the primary reason why US could not really deliver on Trump’s promises to the US public and this is the most likely reason why Bolton was forced out of the administration.