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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Monday he would prefer to be secretary of state than attorney general, as has been suggested. (Photo: Iowa Public Radio Images/flickr/cc)

'Cruel, Vindictive, Authoritarian': Rudy Giuliani Tops List of Trump's Candidates for Secretary of State

And if not Giuliani, it could be pro-war John Bolton, who has called for the bombing of Iran

Nadia Prupis

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in the running to be President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state, according to the Wall Street Journal, which spoke with anonymous sources "familiar with the matter."

Speaking at the WSJ's CEO Council meeting on Monday, Giuliani indicated he would prefer that position to attorney general.

As some have noted, the combined power of Giuliani's destructive law enforcement policies in New York—which included implementing controversial programs like stop-and-frisk and "broken windows" policing—and Trump's frightening proposals for the U.S., could make the country more dangerous both for marginalized communities and for law enforcement agencies.

Indeed, as David Sirota noted at the International Business Times on Tuesday, appointing Giuliani to secretary of state would put him "in a position to approve arms transfers to countries that helped make him rich after he termed-out as mayor of New York and began working in the private sector nearly 15 years ago."

On Monday, Giuliani indicated that, if appointed, his foreign policies would focus on continuing the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). "ISIS, short-term I believe, is the greatest danger and not because ISIS is in Iraq and in Syria, but because ISIS did something al Qaeda never did—ISIS was able to spread itself around the world," he said at the CEO Council meeting.

However, he did not elaborate on any concrete plans of action the Trump administration would take to defeat ISIS. Trump has repeatedly said he wants to keep those strategies "secret."

Giuliani has also previously called the groundbreaking nuclear treaty with Iran "one of the worst deals America ever made," and has encouraged Trump to undo it—although on Monday he hinted it would be lower on his to-do list, saying of the agreement, "You have to set priorities. So if the priority is, let's eliminate ISIS, maybe you put that off a little bit. And you get rid of ISIS first. And then you get back to that."

The other top candidate for secretary of state is John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security under then-President George W. Bush. When asked Monday who was the better choice, Giuliani responded, "Maybe me, I don't know."

In strict terms, that may be true. Bolton was a chief supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and last year called for the bombing of Iran. He also recently said Trump should "abrogate the Iran nuclear deal in his first days in office." As Gareth Porter wrote Tuesday, "[i]f Bolton were nominated as secretary of state, it would be an open invitation for more plotting of schemes within the Trump administration for the war against Iran that Bolton still craves."

To many observers, both choices are unappealing, even if one is arguably less bad than the other. As Jeremy Stahl writes at Slate, "belligerent rhetoric seems to be the theme of a potential Giuliani State Department, which I suppose is better than the alternative of Bolton and almost certain military action. (It's possible that Bolton was floated as a name for secretary of state to make Giuliani appear less horrifying. If that was the plan, it worked on me.)"

Still, Giuliani's rise to the top of the list brings more than enough worrying prospects.

As The Intercept reporter Liliana Segura wrote on Twitter, "Giuliani made a career as a cruel, vindictive, authoritarian and his ascent will be a horror show no matter the post."

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