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There was a time in Washington where it appeared there was no man more influential on Donald Trump's foreign policy than John Bolton. Remember, it was John Bolton who pushed for Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. It was John Bolton, who pushed Trump to go to Venezuela and advocate a coup against President Maduro. But if you think about it over the last two or three months on almost every single major foreign policy issue facing the Trump administration, the president has overruled Bolton.
He has sided with Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, who's become much more influential on foreign policy in the last six months. On Iran, the president has said he would meet with President Rouhani to discuss a peace deal again, something that Bolton has strenuously opposed. On North Korea, the president keeps saying nice things about Kim Jong-Un even though Kim Jong Un keeps firing missile tests. Again, something that Bolton himself has objected to.
On Afghanistan, most recently, he had suggested having a meeting at Camp David with the Taliban, the government which was responsible for housing Al-Qaeda during 9/11, again, against the advice of John Bolton. On Venezuela, Trump has done almost nothing since Bolton advocated for a coup in Caracas. All these things, all four the major issues facing President Trump, he has overruled Bolton, sided with Pompeo, and the two men have fallen out on almost every issue. That is what preceded this departure.
It is now going to be his fourth national security adviser in as many years. It shows that although President Trump has positioned himself rhetorically as very hard line on any number of issues he is at heart a deal-maker, and is ready to make deals with any of these leaders, something that John Bolton was not supportive of in any of these countries. I'm Peter Spiegel, US managing editor of the Financial Times.