As Donald Trump warned on Monday of an imminent US military response to chemical weapons use in Syria, the new head of his national security team was sitting directly behind him, his bristling white moustache a reminder of earlier American wars.
John Bolton was one of a handful of hawks who led the Bush administration’s charge into Afghanistan and Iraq, conflicts that are still going on as Bolton returns to centre stage, after a decade in the political wilderness. His first day at work as Trump’s national security adviser focused on a new front, and the question of how to punish the Syrian regime and its backers for the alleged use of poison gas against a rebel-held enclave in the eastern Damascus suburbs.
On Monday evening, Bolton accompanied the president to a meeting of US generals to discuss a US response to the Syrian poison gas attack.
“He picked today as his first day. So, generals, I think he picked the right day,” Trump said, before turning to Bolton, adding: “But certainly, you’re going to find it very exciting.”
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