Are you pumped? Are you jazzed? Are you ready to wet your pants with excitement at the prospect of the Senate voting to hear John Bolton testify and eviscerate the Donald, exposing treason and corruption as he speaks?
Have you forgotten who John Bolton is? Have you thought about his motives for testifying? Have you considered what "intel" will have been given to Susan Collins and Mitt Romney by the end of the week, to make them confident that it is safe to vote to hear from Bolton? Safe for them; Safe for the Donald. Not necessarily safe for the nation.
John Bolton is a war hawk. He thinks that the Donald is a wimp - a bone spurs draft dodger who has no knowledge of the international world and no concept of sophisticated foreign policy maneuvering. While many "lefties" hate the Donald, John Bolton simply holds the Donald in total contempt.
The Donald promised to negotiate with Iran, when he pulled out of the Joint Powers agreement. John Bolton has wanted to nuke Iran, at least since the first Bush administration. When the Donald backed away from even talking to Iran, let alone negotiating with them, John Bolton's contempt grew.
The Donald said that he would meet and negotiate with Kim Jong Un. John Bolton wanted any meeting to happen only after we first struck North Korea with nuclear weapons, to make clear who is the "big dog" in the neighborhood. John Bolton wanted the U.S. to demand that North Korea unilaterally disarm and rely on the good faith of the Donald for its national security.
John Bolton may be feeling insulted by the Donald. Until the Donald won in 2016, John Bolton might have laid claim to the title of most prolific liar in the D.C. Swamp. He might be offended that an ignorant, career conman has so soundly thrashed his record of lies. But Bolton's lies were unlike the Donald's. Bolton consistently lied with the goal of getting the U.S. into another, profitable war. Bolton has never mastered the casual, "I lie because it's what I do” style of the Donald.
At his core, John Bolton has built an entire career on pushing policy in D.C. that promotes the profitability of war and war-profiteering investments. As the Donald increasingly emerges as a wimp, full of bluster, but always ready to back down in the face of a challenge, Bolton has increasing reasons for his contempt, and for his willingness to testify.
But to testify in favor of what? Surely John Bolton would prefer a president Pence, committed to bringing on Armageddon and "The End Times." The spectre of a Pence presidency, with an Armageddon-seeking secretary of state-warfare, Mike Pompeo, being thankful to a war-seeking John Bolton should give anyone pause. John Bolton could easily decide to testify in an effort to pry war-hawk senators away from Moscow Mitch's tight control.
At his core, John Bolton has built an entire career on pushing policy in D.C. that promotes the profitability of war and war-profiteering investments.
What would Pence have to promise John Bolton to make a real effort to unseat the Donald? Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo combined have less foreign policy experience and less international knowledge than John Bolton. They bring to the table their heartland, alt-white, "christian" certainty and lack of interest in knowledge that questions their religious dogma.
Bolton's price for actually working to sway Republican war-hawks to abandon the Donald would certainly include a promise that he could have some "small" war, somewhere. One of the things about "small wars" is that they aren't. We are quagmired in both Afghanistan and Iraq, after almost 20 years of effort, because we accepted the "wisdom" of men, including John Bolton, that those wars would be easy, quick and profitable.
We have been kept in those wars, years after easy and quick evaporated, by believing reports from generals, touting our evolving success, which in real terms meant evolving defeat. The modern generals are repeating the models of Westmoreland and other Vietnam War generals, who grew ever richer by reporting false victories using made up data. We were told that a simple "police action" in Korea would bring simple and fast victory over "communist" peasants shooting their antique rifles at our modern jet fighters. Almost 70 years later, the leader of those "communist peasants" is leading our president around by the nose, while making the entire world laugh at him. And U.S. troops seen no closer to coming home from that peninsula.
What "small, quick, easy" (but profitable!) war might a president Pence give John Bolton as his reward for turning on the Donald? Syria? Taking Crimea back from Czar Vlad? Helping Israel finally conquer and depopulate what Likud investors identify as the ancient territorial limits of their suzerainty? Which of these might remain small or quick?
Of course, small and quick are not considerations for Pence and Pompeo. They want a war to end all war, a war to usher in the end times. If greenlighting an Israeli attack on Iran would help start a worldwide conflagration, they're on board. And this might be a saving grace for Bolton testimony. Bolton is not a religious zealot. For him, war is a matter of profit, and maybe even a little patriotism.
In his new book, The Bomb, Fred Kaplan lays out the history of how Cold War generals and politicians laid out the model for playing endless escalatio with nukes and war toys, while always avoiding crossing the line into actual conflagration. There is little evidence that John Bolton has any understanding of their restraint. But he clearly understands the profitability. So he might temper his Senate testimony.
John Bolton is as much a loyal Republican as he is a war hawk. So he might modulate his testimony to curry favor with acquittal minded senators. Even if he doesn't share Moscow Mitch's johnny reb sensibilities, he could testify in ways that could protect senators from unruly voters in the fall.
Voters have polled overwhelmingly in favor of the Senate hearing from witnesses. Bolton could help ultra-Trumpist, but vulnerable, senators like Susan Collins by testifying that even the clear quid pro quos and extortions, in which the Donald so clearly trades, are somehow in the "national interest."
There is no reason to believe that John Bolton would testify in any way that would damage his Republican, pro-war-profits bona fides. He certainly foresees a career lasting long after the Donald is gone. There are plenty of Republican senators who despise the Donald as much as Bolton does. What they want is witness testimony that ratifies the notion that they will, somehow, be able to assert sanity over the Donald, even if he is re-elected, and stays in place for another four years.
All available evidence proves that such Republican thinking is wrong. NO sane thinkers, NONE of "the best people" the Donald appointed in his first couple of years, were able to bring sanity, or even organization, to his circus. Every example we have shows that when the Donald gets away with something, he then tries to get away with more.
But Bolton, who's war-hawkiness on Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Korea and Iran has never been right (but always been profitable) could provide cover for Republican senators who want to continue fantasizing that extorting foreign governments for election help may be bad, but isn't quite impeachable. If Bolton can spin some ridiculous, fact-free, but plausible sounding rhetoric about the Donald's conduct having national security benefits, then he will satisfy both the Democrat's demand for witness testimony and the Republican's desire to acquit the Donald.
Be careful what you wish for is an ancient warning. But it could be valuable here. If Bolton testifies, he almost automatically provides cover for Susan Collins and any other Republican senator vulnerable in the 2020 election cycle.