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Trump’s new national security adviser wrote op-ed suggesting attack on North Korea

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WATCH: After much speculation, President Trump named a new national security adviser Thursday evening on Twitter, replacing H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, the former U.S Ambassador to the United Nations. Blayne Alexander reports – Mar 22, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump’s new pick for national security adviser once encouraged a pre-emptive attack on North Korea.

John Bolton wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last February making a case for the United States to attack North Korea “first.” In addition, Bolton has previously made statements encouraging pre-emptive strikes on Syrian and Iraqi reactor sites (in 1981 and 2007).

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In the op-ed, Bolton states that while “pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an ‘imminent threat.’ They are wrong.”

At the time the op-ed was written, Bolton was a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and has also authored Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad, in 2007.

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He goes on to claim that the threat from North Korea is imminent and that the U.S. should “not wait until the very last minute” to respond.

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“That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation,” he wrote.

Bolton also recently made several controversial — and contradictory — statements in the past year about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In December 2016, Bolton stated that it was “not at all clear” to him that Russia had a role in the pre-election interference.

In December 2017 however, Bolton wrote in an opinion piece that the United States should respond to “cyberwarfare” with a “retaliatory cyber campaign against Russia.”

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READ MORE: John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as Trump’s national security adviser

“The lesson we want Russia (or anyone else) to learn is that the costs to them from future cyberattacks against the United States will be so high that they will simply consign all their cyberwarfare plans to their computer memories to gather electronic dust.”

In addition, the New York Times reports that Bolton has expressed skepticism about South Korea’s attempt to organize a meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, suggesting that the president should try “something else,” once again hinting at a pre-emptive strike.

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North Korea isn’t the only nation the man tabbed to be the new national security adviser has advocated for action on. Bolton wrote in a January op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that the Iran nuclear deal should be shuttered, calling the Iranian capital Tehran and Pyongyang “two sides of the same coin.”

“Spending the next 120 days negotiating with ourselves will leave the West mired in stasis. Mr. Trump correctly sees Mr. Obama’s deal as a massive strategic blunder, but his advisers have inexplicably persuaded him not to withdraw. Last fall … the administration also opted to keep the door open to ‘fixes’ — a punt on third down. Let’s hope Friday’s decision is not another punt,” wrote Bolton.

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Bolton’s appointment to the position of national security adviser was announced late Thursday night. He will be the third person to hold this role since Trump took office in January 2017. The first two were Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster. The president repeatedly denied speculation that McMaster’s term as national security adviser would be cut short.

Bolton has since said publicly that once he takes over the role next month, he intends to leave his past policy statements behind him.

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“The important thing is what the president says and the advice I give him,” he said.

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