There has been considerable hullabaloo about President-elect Donald Trump’s potential Secretary of State nominee. My personal preference is that he choose John Bolton. I have always liked Bolton’s blunt pugnaciousness and defense of American national interests while he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. I also like the fact that is unflinching geopolitical realism is offsetting to the bien pensants of the leftist media and foreign policy cognoscenti. In addition, he would do a good job of instilling some nationalistic testosterone in the State Department’s Foreign Service which, while skilled in many ways, to frequently seeks to adopt the viewpoints of countries and leaders whose interests are not aligned with ours.
The Secretary of State serves as the executor of U.S. foreign policy and the public face of America’s international image. The current incumbent, John “Beacon Hill Bumpkin” Kerry has achieved the previously thought impossible feat of being a worse performer in this role than William Jennings Bryan and Hillary Clinton. He is currently in Geneva with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov trying to achieve some kind of “peace” arrangement in Syria when that horse left the barn door five years ago when the Syrian civil war began. That conflict has seen Russia reinsert itself into the Middle East, increased Iran’s access to the Mediterranean, and reinforced Bashir Assad’s hold on power.
Trump has been meeting with various individuals who have their strengths and weaknesses. I respect David Petraeus’ intellect and victorious surge in Iraq. However, adultery and misusing classified information are not a good mix in a position where you are privy to the nation’s most sensitive national security and diplomatic secrets. Choosing Petraeus would unwisely demonstrate that Trump’s strategic assaults against Hillary Clinton’s improper use of a home brew email server during the campaign were empty rhetoric.
Rudy Giuliani would be a strong voice for America abroad, but I think he is better suited to be Secretary of Homeland Security. There has all been considerable buzz about Trump’s apparent rapprochement with Mitt Romney. It is true that Romney said some nasty things about Trump during the campaign but, then again, who didn’t say nasty things about Trump and Trump dished out plenty of nastiness during his run for the presidency. GOP critics of a possible Romney appointment conveniently forget that Abraham Lincoln appointed William Seward as Secretary of State after the 1860 election despite venomous criticisms made by Seward during that year’s campaign. Such critics also forget Barack Obama chose Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State despite the contretemps of their 2008 Democratic primary. However, we know that didn’t work out.
Romney’s critics need to get off their infantile anti-establishment high horse and focus on the serious nature of governing. The campaign is over and Romney has a positive personal demeanor that will facilitate U.S. assertion of its diplomatic and geopolitical interests which must be reasserted after the abysmal incompetence and delusion of the Obama years. In addition, Romney has an acute understanding of the reality of Vladimir Putin’s Russia which he was criticized for by Barack Obama during the 2012 campaign but Romney has been thoroughly vindicated by subsequent Russian behavior. If Trump believes Romney can work effectively with him, National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, and Defense Secretary designate James Mattis in advancing U.S. national interests than he should appoint him Secretary of State and let the yahoo elements howl.
Either Bolton or Romney would be an acceptable Secretary of State to me. If either of these individuals is able work effectively with Trump, Vice-President elect Mike Pence, Flynn, and Mattis and the intelligence community we can build a reinvigorated foreign and national security policy which will proudly and unflinchingly stand up for American interests in all corners of the globe. The potential addition of Indiana’s retiring Senator Dan Coats as a possible Director of National Intelligence will further strengthen a strong, mature, and substantive national security team that will bring a nuanced, unflinching, and adult perspective to U.S. foreign and national security policy which has been missing since January 20, 2009.