Demystifying Bolton and his “House of Incidents”

In June 2020, Bolton, a well-known hawk who once served as a national security adviser to the President of the United States, tried to show the world that the Trump national security decision-making process was not done by publishing the “House of Incident: My White House Memoir”. Known side. Frankly speaking, “House of Incident” is not the first book to criticize the Trump administration, but obviously because of Bolton’s own special experience and the straightforward style when writing the memoir, it does provide more thought and attention. The aspect:

First, there is the domination of power within the White House’s national security decision-making circle. Bolton expressed frankly that after taking up this position, he was not only satisfied with entering the White House decision-making house to provide advice; he also hoped to play a more substantial role, even a decision-making role. This raises a very direct problem, that is, conflicts with the decision-making structure of the US national security affairs and even the entire administrative system: according to the design of the US system, let alone the advisory position of national security affairs consultant, even It is a post like Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, and is essentially an adviser who provides a decision plan. The real ultimate decision maker is only the US President. There is reason to believe that the quality of the Trump administration’s national security strategy decisions has been significantly affected negatively.

Second, the mismatch of strategic planning and fragmentation of decision-making execution. As a former national security adviser, Bolton’s memoirs do not see a strategic interpretation of US national security, but are full of secret decision-making fragments. For example, Bolton described in great detail how to detain Ms. Meng Wanzhou of Huawei in a legal but substantive manner in a “political kidnapping” manner. According to Bolton’s own description, “I decided to have all the facts (that arrested Meng Wanzhou) in my hands and then report to Trump.” In other words, relevant actions were submitted to Trump only after the execution was completed. People see an instinctive and bold leader surrounded by a group of decision-making teams that are also longer than bold assumptions but never pay attention to careful verification. The US national security decision-making process, once considered to be a classic decision-making process, is becoming more and more Fragmentation, or even some degree of randomization.

Shen Yi

How to build a new strategic framework for Sino-US relations that fits this new situation should become the direction of China’s efforts.

Thirdly, it is a significant dumping battle within the decision-making team. After being in power for more than three years, Trump has not been able to integrate his security decision-making team. In Bolton’s pen, only in the strategic decision-making process involving China can be divided into different factions: the Minister of Finance is a pro-China faction in Bolton’s eyes; Kudlow’s concern is free trade; Navarro, Lighthizer, Rose is a trio of hawks; Trump’s real concerns have always focused on his personal political interests, winning re-elections, and often becoming the core driving force that governs his final decision, as described by Bolton, June 2019 On the 18th, Trump talked with Xi Jinping before the G20 meeting. Trump hinted that China’s economic capacity could affect the upcoming elections, and begged Xi Jinping to ensure that he won. If it is true, Trump’s behavior is also worthy. Calling frankness to an alarming degree.

People have every reason to believe that one of the purposes of Bolton’s publication of this memoir is not just to embarrass Trump. This obviously warns people to pay attention to the quality of the US government’s foreign strategic decisions and reminds people that they must be considered. How to prevent this structural runaway from having a greater negative impact on international relations, including Sino-US relations.

In addition, Bolton’s new book predicts in a more dramatic form the new threats and challenges that China-US relations must face: When the overall strength between China and the United States is closer, the core decision of the United States Institutions are more likely to exhibit a structural disorder or even a state of chaos; American behavior may exhibit more uncertainty. How to carry out effective control in this sense to minimize the disturbance caused by internal political factors, how to effectively distinguish American discourse and actions, and build a new strategic framework for Sino-US relations that is compatible with this new situation, It should be the direction of China’s efforts in the future.