Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"Blaming Iran, along with Russia, for the alleged Syrian government role in the chemical weapons, as Trump has already done, gives Bolton an immediate Day One project: to endorse and embrace any reckless military move this president might choose," Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies said. (Photo: Mandel Ngam/AFP/Getty Images)

With Escalation in Syria Looming, War 'Fanatic' John Bolton Arrives at Worst Possible Time

"There are few people less suited to navigate our nation through these challenging situations than John Bolton, who never met a war he didn't want to start or a diplomatic initiative he didn't want to scuttle."

Jake Johnson

With the White House set to decide whether to ramp up U.S. military involvement in Syria after the Assad government was accused over the weekend of launching a chemical weapons attack, President Donald Trump will for the first time on Monday have inveterate warmonger and accused intelligence manipulator John Bolton whispering directly in his ear as national security adviser.

"The volatile situation in Syria significantly raises the danger of a major intensification of direct U.S. involvement."
—Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
Bolton's official arrival represents "a terrifying reality for Syrians, Iranians, Koreans, and many others around the world," Phyllis Bennis—director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies—told Common Dreams in an email on Monday, labeling Bolton a "fanatic war supporter."

"Blaming Iran, along with Russia, for the alleged Syrian government role in the chemical weapons, as Trump has already done, gives Bolton an immediate Day One project: to endorse and embrace any reckless military move this president might choose, regardless of its deadly consequences," Bennis added, highlighting Trump's tweet on Sunday vaguely promising to impose a "big price" on the Syrian regime for its alleged chemical attack. "The volatile situation in Syria significantly raises the danger of a major intensification of direct U.S. involvement."

In addition to his repeated calls for the U.S. to bomb Iran and North Korea, Bolton has recently been a loud proponent of ramping up airstrikes against the Syrian government, which has denied any role in the latest chemical attacks. During an appearance on Fox News last month, Bolton said more airstrikes in Syria "would be justified" and expressed support for Trump's attacks on a Syrian air base last April.

Asked if the U.S. military's growing involvement in Syria is moving toward a direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, Bolton said, "I think that's one possibility."

"There are few people less suited to navigate our nation through these challenging situations than John Bolton, who never met a war he didn't want to start or a diplomatic initiative he didn't want to scuttle."
—Stephen Miles, Win Without War
Bolton's arrival at the White House in his official capacity as national security adviser came as Syria and Russia accused Israel early Monday of launching strikes against Syrian government targets, reportedly killing more than a dozen people, including Iranians. Israel has yet to comment on the strikes.

According to Bloomberg, Bolton convened with his new team at the White House Monday morning to discuss Syria.

Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, told Common Dreams that "there couldn't be a worse time for John Bolton to start as Donald Trump's national security adviser," given the wide range of tense diplomatic issues the administration is set to confront in the weeks ahead—from the president's proposed meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to his "self-imposed" May 12 deadline to renew the Iran nuclear deal, which Bolton opposes.

"There are few people less suited to navigate our nation through these challenging situations than John Bolton, who never met a war he didn't want to start or a diplomatic initiative he didn't want to scuttle," Miles said.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'About Damn Time': NY Jury Finds Trump Organization Guilty on All Counts of Tax Fraud

"Today's guilty verdict against the Trump Organization shows that we will hold individuals and organizations accountable when they violate our laws to line their pockets," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Brett Wilkins ·


Oxfam Rebukes EU Over Delayed Deal on Global Minimum Corporate Tax

"This is a loss to ordinary people who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and a win to the ultra-profitable corporations," said the group's tax expert for the bloc.

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Biodiversity Summit Called 'Make-or-Break Moment' for Wildlife

"The deluded dreams of billionaires aside, there is no Planet B," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. "We must fix the world we have."

Julia Conley ·


As GOP Threats Continue, Dems Told to 'Raise the Debt Limit Before It's Too Late!'

"Republicans are set on using your earned Social Security benefits as a bargaining chip," said one advocacy group, noting that "Democrats can stop this scheme by raising the debt ceiling before the end of the year."

Kenny Stancil ·


Family of Officer Who Died After Jan. 6 Won't Shake Hands With McConnell, McCarthy

"No one should shake hands with insurrectionist sympathizers," said Voto Latino.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo