John R. Bolton, the U.N. ambassador during the George W. Bush administration and specialist on arms control and security issues, is said to be a leading candidate for secretary of state.
That’s a terrifying prospect, but it’s also not very surprising. Many of Romney’s foreign policy views sound very much like Bolton’s. Bolton is a prominent supporter of Romney. There is every reason to assume that Romney will govern in a fashion that would generally satisfy Bolton. The hope that Romney’s foreign policy statements are all campaign posturing and don’t mean anything has always been just that–a hope. The fact that Bolton is even being considered for this position ought to provide all the confirmation anyone needs that Romney’s positions on Iran and Russia in particular are more than just election-year demagoguery.
Someone might object that Bolton has a very poor chance of being confirmed for this position. It’s possible that Romney wouldn’t be willing to go through a contentious, losing confirmation battle at the very beginning of his term. For that reason, he might not nominate someone as polarizing and controversial as Bolton. On the other hand, perhaps it is a mistake to assume that Bolton couldn’t be confirmed. It is still fairly unusual for a new administration’s major Cabinet nominations to be blocked by the other party. We should assume that a Bolton nomination is quite possible in the event of a Romney victory, and a Bolton confirmation might be as well.