Couple personnel changes in the world of international relations! One economic, one way way worse. Here we go.
Gary Cohn, former Wall Street bro (anti-tariff edition), is out as chief economic advisor in favor of Larry Kudlow, fellow Wall Street bro (sometimes-pro-tariff edition). Kudlow... doesn’t have a degree in economics. But he was Chief Economist at Bear Stearns? Idk dude Wall Street was the Wild West in the 80s. Not really an inspiring choice, but he tells the president what he wants to hear – namely that tariffs on steel and aluminum aren’t a terrible idea that instead of punishing our rivals (China) punishes our longstanding allies and economic partners. But that’s neither here nor there. Trump instituted these tariffs, Cohn disagreed vehemently, and left because of it, so Kudlow is in.
The second change is that HR McMaster, The Official Formerly Known As National Security Adviser, is being replaced by Arch-Neoconservative Ambassador John Bolton. I’m being lighthearted, but in all honesty this is one of the few appointments that really scares me – usually I’m exasperated, but Bolton is frightening. A man described as someone who “never met a war he didn’t want to do more with”; who voted for the Iraq war AND STILL VEHEMENTLY DEFENDS HIS POSITION; who wants to pursue outright regime change in North Korea and Iran; and who was and has been a vocal proponent for military action in Libya and Syria is our President’s closest adviser on national security. Where others are unqualified or e negligent, John Bolton is very experienced and very belligerent. He’s a bad dude, and he’s good at it. And the worst part? He doesn’t need to be confirmed by the senate. Trump appoints him, he has the job.
It’s easy to let these things get lost in the noise or to normalize them, but this is stuff we need to be aware of – especially as the Iran Deal comes up for recertification in May and we trundle towards a possible summit with North Korea (which I still don’t think will happen). Keep an eye open. #fpf