The news that John Bolton was out at the White House was not actually news at all. In fact it was more akin to when Chevy Chase used to announce on Saturday Night Live that “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” Bolton effectively left the job months ago, and even when he had it, as with Franco in his last years, the post was largely ceremonial. After all, being the chief adviser to a man who regularly boasts that he does not need or take advice is not much of a job, is it?
For that reason and many others, this was a marriage that was doomed from the start. While Trump and Bolton are both bullies who don’t have much use for the international system, the similarities end there. Trump likes to talk tough but seldom follows through. He is first, last and always a Trumpist, seeking to do what he feels will bring him the most benefit personally.
Bolton is an ideologue. His views are extreme, but unlike Trump’s they are part of a coherent, albeit dangerous, worldview. He believes tough talk must be backed up by tough action and that obstinate opponents often must be defeated by force. That is where he and Trump parted ways.