Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Hearing Room Where It Didn't Happen

     I just downloaded John Bolton's book (Being an author myself, I usually revile pirate sites but fuck Bolton and fuck Simon & Schuster. They're not getting a penny of my money) and these are some hilarious takeaways in the early going. Here's what Bolton says on page 11:
      "As the days passed, more Cabinet and senior White House positions emerged publicly, including, on November 23, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the UN, with Cabinet rank, a bizarre step to take with the Secretary of State still unchosen. Haley had no qualifications for the job..."
      Like Bolton was? He was such a bad candidate for the job that Bush had to shoehorn him in as recess appointment because the Senate reviled him so much. He had the diplomatic credentials of a rabid honey badger.
      Then he wrote this on page 10:
      "New threats and opportunities were coming at us rapidly, and eight years of Barack Obama meant there was much to repair."
      Would the Iran nuclear deal be among them, you know, the one Trump walked away from? Walking away from a mutually beneficial deal of that importance wouldn't meet most peoples' definition of "repairing."
      He continues:
      "I had thought long and hard about America’s national security in a tempestuous world: Russia and China at the strategic level; Iran, North Korea, and other rogue nuclear weapons aspirants."
      I guess he didn't think hard enough about North Korea because it was on his watch when he was Undersecretary for Arms Development that Kim Jong Il got the Bomb.
      I'll assume Bolton leaves out the part in which he pressured his wife to have group sex and chased a USAID public relations executive named Melody Townsel through the halls of a Moscow hotel late at night stalking and harassing her for two weeks..
     Then, in the exact middle of the book on page 28, he has this to say about doing away with the NSC's office for pandemic response:
     "Other criticisms of the Administration, however, were frivolous. One such complaint targeted an aspect of the general streamlining of NSC staffing that I conducted in my first months at the White House. To reduce duplication and overlap, and enhance coordination and efficiency, it made good management sense to shift the responsibilities of the directorate dealing with global health and biodefense into the existing directorate dealing with weapons of mass destruction (biological, chemical and nuclear). The characteristics of bioweapons’ attacks and pandemics can have much in common."
     That's utter bullshit. Even I know that with a bioweapon, you generally know the origin, whereas you wouldn't necessarily know that with an incidental and random pandemic. One part of the NSC's office was tasked to respond to a bioweapon attack and necessitating a military response and the other one, the one Trump and Bolton smashed to smithereens, was tasked with responding to a genuine pandemic that requires more intensive efforts in terms of contact and vector tracing. That would have been the medical response coming from an office that Dr. Fauci wistfully said "would've been nice" to work with.

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