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by John Helmer, Moscow 

A politician becomes a psychopath when he or she acts without calculating the consequences for approval rating and voter support. The same thing goes for ministers and their advisers who urge military operations abroad which make voters feel unsafe at home. Fear and insecurity aren’t good for incumbents; at least not the ones who can’t rig elections.   

In the case of John Bolton (lead image, left),  he took the National Security Advisor’s post from President Donald Trump in order to make as many wars outside the US as he could. He has now published a book about all the wars he wanted when he got his best chance to make them; and about those who got in the way to stop him, especially Trump.

After seventeen months,  Bolton lost his job on September 10, 2019, because fear and insecurity weren’t good for Trump’s re-election (then). Bolton’s objective, along with his publisher Simon & Schuster and everyone now endorsing the book, is to make war on Trump and defeat him at the election on November 3.

This is as obvious as Bolton’s diagnosis as a psychopath – or to be clinically precise, an adrenal hyperplasiac. He himself is unusually  sensitive to the diagnosis of his symptoms, beginning with his moustache. Displacement of  violence is a classic symptom of moustache wearers —  everybody has understood this since Sigmund Freud’s case study of Little Hans and his father’s moustache,  as  Bolton knows only too well. So he starts his book making sure no one believes, as Bolton purposefully investigated for himself, Trump’s “purported dislike of my moustache. For what it’s worth, he told me it was never a factor, noting that his father also had one. Other than shrinks and those deeply interested in Sigmund Freud, which I assuredly am not, I don’t really believe my looks played a role in Trump’s thinking.”

For a man in Bolton’s condition, everyone everywhere always is a target. As his book reveals, Bolton’s sights include Trump’s counterpart in London, Prime Minister Theresa May, and Bolton’s counterpart on her staff, Sir Mark Sedwill; the latter’s enthusiasm for warmaking was, Bolton explains, even sharper than his own.  Notwithstanding, Bolton couldn’t help himself — the British are his targets in his retelling of the story of the Skripal case.

The Bolton book can be read here.

The Trump family moustaches – left, grandfather Friedrich Trump; right, father Fred Trump. Source: https://www.history.com/

The Skripal case began on March 4, 2018, while Bolton was concentrating on angling for the job which Trump offered him on March 21.  He wasn’t privy to the collaboration between the British secret services and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which culminated in then-Deputy Director Gina Haspel’s briefing of Trump with fabricated photographs of dead ducks to illustrate what the CIA wanted Trump to believe the Russians had done in Salisbury, England. The story of Haspel’s lies can be followed here.   

Source: http://johnhelmer.net/

At the time Bolton was lining up the same set of ducks. “In interviews, I took a very tough view of how America should respond to this attack, a view I still hold. So, it was unsettling to read that Trump had congratulated Putin on ‘winning’ reelection as President of Russia, over McMaster’s advice, which had been promptly and widely leaked to the media.”

Bolton thought highly of Haspel’s success at White House briefings, as he judged it, “by just ignoring Trump and interrupting”. He was especially grateful, he remembers now, when “suddenly, the CIA’s Haspel, to her credit, broke in and began her portion of the briefing, stopping the Trump train in its tracks. Of course, I can’t describe what she had to say, but the rest of us counted our blessings when she started to say it.”

Bolton can describe how the conversation on the Skripal case went with May and Sedwill in July 2018, although the record remains classified on both sides.

Bolton’s tweet with Sedwill at Blenheim Palace, July 12, 2018 – “Good seeing my friend UK National Security Advisor @marksedwill  last night at #BlenheimPalace. Enjoyable evening celebrating the US-UK special relationship.” The next evening, July 13, Bolton, Sedwill, Trump and May met at the Prime Minister’s residence for dinner, where the Skripal case was discussed.

“After starting with Yemen, a British obsession, May turned to Syria, particularly how to deal with Russia’s presence there, stressing that Putin only valued strength, obviously hoping Trump would pay attention. I explained what Putin had told me a few weeks before… on working to get Iran out of Syria, about which the Brits were rightly skeptical. I said, “I’m not vouching for Putin’s credibility,” to which May replied, “Well, we especially didn’t expect it from you, John!” to general laughter.”

“That led to Russia’s hit job on the Skripals (a defecting [sic] former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter), described by Sedwill as a chemical-weapons attack on a nuclear power. Trump asked, oh, are you a nuclear power?, which I knew was not intended as a joke. I asked May why the Russians did it, and Trump said he had asked the same question the night before at Blenheim, thinking it might be intended as a message. May thought the attack was intended to prove Russia could act with impunity against dissidents and defectors, to intimidate them and like-minded others. She stressed to Trump that, in Helsinki, he should go into the meeting from a position of strength, and Trump agreed, claiming that Putin asked for the meeting (the opposite of the truth), and assured her he would not give anything away. (I had learned earlier that the Justice Department was making public Mueller’s indictments against twelve Russian GRU officers for election interference, which I thought better announced before the summit, for Putin to contemplate.)”

Knowing as much as is now known about what had not happened in the attack on the Skripals, Bolton’s presentation today of what May told Trump reveals that Operation Novichok and the British narrative of the Skripal case were intended to prove to Trump that Russia thought it could act with impunity, and that therefore Trump was to be persuaded to respond accordingly. To achieve that, Bolton reveals he had as few qualms as Haspel.

But Bolton can’t help himself. He also must diminish the British to amplify his own standing with Trump, talking the same Russia war talk. The breach of the top-secret classification rule to report Sedwill as describing the Skripal case “as a chemical-weapons attack on a nuclear power” makes a display of Bolton aiming to strike two targets simultaneously – Trump for appearing crassly unknowing of British nuclear weapons; the British prime minister and her national security advisor for being what Trump’s innuendo conveyed and Bolton thought himself – subordinates in US war games.

Psychopaths don’t hear when they are repeating themselves. The next day,  as Trump was  meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle, Bolton says he was obliged to take  “tea and finger sandwiches with members of the royal household, which was very elegant but hard on some of us ill-schooled colonials.”

Not intended as a joke – that’s Bolton’s Freudian slip, as obvious as his moustache.

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