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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 26, 2018

 
Yes, it's getting worse

by digby





Bolton isn't actually doing a good job as National Security adviser? Say it ain't so...

National security adviser John Bolton's effort to simplify the administration’s decision-making process is frustrating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis and causing confusion about the United States’ position on major issues including Russia, according to officials familiar with the situation.

Mattis has gone so far as to draft a letter to Bolton requesting that he hold more gatherings of agency and department chiefs “to smooth the bubble” on thorny issues ranging from U.S. policy in Syria to North Korea, according to one senior administration official. In particular, senior officials are concerned about the dearth of “principals committee” meetings scheduled by Bolton, officials say. Principals committee meetings are traditionally key forums for relevant Cabinet bosses to prepare and recommend policy options for the president.

Of special concern is the U.S. relationship with Russia, especially since Trump’s July 16 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin with only translators present. Officials across U.S. agencies have been trying to figure out what Trump and Putin discussed. Russian officials, meanwhile, have taken advantage of the U.S. confusion to make a series of announcements about what they say Trump and Putin agreed upon. Bolton did not convene any principals committee meetings to discuss the Trump-Putin summit ahead of time, and hasn't held any such meetings on the issue since the event took place.

[...]

“He doesn’t want to ‘meeting’ an issue to death,” said one White House official. “He wants to make the bureaucratic process more efficient so that decisions can be made at the principals level.”

But across the U.S. national security establishment, there’s a growing sense of a breakdown in the policy process since Bolton took over the National Security Council on April 9.

“The rest of the government doesn’t really know what the policy is. There’s no record, there’s no decision form. There’s nothing out there to fall back on,” said Ivo Daalder, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO who is now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Countries that we deal with don’t really know what our policy is because people in the government don’t know.”

What could go wrong?

Bolton is a very dangerous person and he may be doing this on purpose to keep the power and decision making close to himself.

.