- - Monday, April 16, 2018


Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is exceptionally qualified to serve as President Trump’s National Security Adviser, and I fully support his selection. He has the right mix of expertise on the complex international security threats we face, the leadership experience to coordinate input from multiple federal departments and agencies involved in our national security policy and the strong communication skills to be a spokesman for the president on critical security matters.

His first week at work proved why he is the right man for the job at this critical and dangerous time in history. According to reports, on Saturday, April 7, the murderous Assad regime, propped up by Iranian mullahs and Vladimir Putin’s mercenaries, again employed banned weapons of mass destruction to kill and maim his own citizens, including many children.

On Friday night, Mr. Trump ordered precise, proportionate and overwhelming air strikes, along with our allies, Britain and France. This is exactly the kind of response that was necessary to send Bashar Assad and his enablers — Russia and Iran — a strong message that the world will not stand idly by while they violate international law and normalize the use of banned chemical weapons. This military operation illustrates John Bolton’s ability to provide the president with effective options for achieving critical objectives.

I was serving as a military officer during much of Mr. Bolton’s diplomatic career and remember watching him stand up to business as usual at the U.N. while we were deploying overseas. He was also a key leader in the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the harmful anti-ballistic missile treaty, which hampered testing and development of missile defense systems. I served as a legislative fellow for Sen. Jon Kyl in the year prior to this decision, who was the key Senate leader fighting for withdrawal. I’m thankful for their leadership, which allowed us to invest in defending our homeland from a missile attack (though much more needs to be done).

Mr. Bolton’s experience and leadership at the State Department and the United Nations underscores his dedication to and keen understanding of American interests. He is known as a reformer, and I know he’ll work with the president to achieve the best possible outcomes for our country.

John Bolton is also known for being frank and direct. I can relate to and appreciate these qualities. I would hope every adviser to the president on national security issues has these attributes. They are absolutely necessary when you’re working with sensitive information that impacts the safety and security of our nation.

I have no doubt in my mind that he will always tell the president what he thinks and make the hard arguments.

America is the leader of the free world, and we need to work closely with our allies now more than ever, while standing strong against oppressive regimes across the globe that threaten us and our way of life. Mr. Bolton’s diplomatic experience and regional expertise will serve him well in this assignment.

Mr. Bolton is absolutely correct that we must remain skeptical of North Korea and keep up the pressure using all elements of power. While our current talks and negotiations are a start, we must ensure that North Korea isn’t just trying to buy time (as they have in the past) until they can prove beyond a doubt that their missiles can reach the U.S. mainland.

We failed at the negotiating table before, so we must maintain a strong presence in Korea to deter aggression and continue to apply pressure as we begin negotiations. Part of this pressure is ratcheting up the Security Proliferation Initiative (created by John Bolton in the Bush administration), which enables the U.S. and our allies to interdict North Korean shipments of arms and other illicit export items.

Mr. Bolton is also clear-eyed about the threat from Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism, now infused with cash from the weak and dangerous Obama nuclear deal. I deployed six times to the region and know first-hand Iran’s danger to us and our interests in the Middle East, especially to our strong friend and ally, Israel. Mr. Bolton will continue to tirelessly fight against Iran’s malevolence and nuclear ambitions. He will also ensure we stand strong in support of Israel, which is surrounded by threats from Iranian-backed aggression by Hezbollah, Hamas and other groups determined to intimidate or annihilate them.

The chief duty of our federal government is the safety and security of the American people. I have gotten to know Mr. Bolton in recent years and appreciate his grasp of the complex threats we face and our options to deter, diminish and eliminate them. I am grateful for his leadership, advocacy, forthrightness and unwavering commitment to the security of America. He is a tried and true patriot who is highly qualified to serve in this position. He understands that we must continue, as the Preamble to our Constitution says, to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” America is in good hands.

Martha McSally is a Republican U.S. representative from Arizona.

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