Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, backs a pre-emptive strike on North Korea

The latest appointment to the role has many asking if they should stockpile tinned goods.


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Will the last person to leave Donald Trump's White House please leave the door to the fallout shelter unlocked? Asking for a friend.

Trump's national security adviser, HR McMaster – himself a replacement for Mike Flynn, who resigned over his possible involvement with the Kremlin during Trump's presidential campaign – has been fired by Trump and will be replaced by John Bolton, the man who makes neoconservatives say “steady on old chap”.

It is more bad news for the Iran nuclear deal but it is good news for Trump's talks with North Korea, after a fashion. Bolton backs talks as he believes they have to be seen to fail in order to win support for his preferred solution to the Korean issue: a pre-emptive strike.

The appointment of an ultra-hawk to another key role (following the elevation of Mike Pompeo to the job of Secretary of State) has left some people wondering if they should stockpile tinned goods or, at the least, resolve any lingering conflicts with their friends and relations.

But, in many ways, the appointment of Bolton doesn't change the essential question of the Trump presidency, which is that if he can carry out most of his promises it means a much, much more dangerous world; and if all he delivers is four or eight years of rolling sackings and internal chaos, then it simply means a more dangerous world.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.