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The Mustache of the Apocalypse

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Holy Jumping Jesus Fuck.

What possible combination of words could be more terrifying than: “John Bolton, National Security Adviser”?

Dennis Rodman, Uber Driver?

Robyn Hitchcock, New Album?

My ball sack, Tank full of rabid piranha?

If Thomas Friedman’s upper lip popularized the phrase “Mustache of Understanding,” then get ready for John Bolton and the “Mustache of the Apocalypse.”

Spark Notes: John Bolton was George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the UN (recess appointment, natch) and one of the loudest voices claiming that Iraq had WMDs. That analysis was, to put it mildly, flawed.

To say Bolton is “hawkish” also seems like criminal understatement. More like Bolton saw a flock of hawks, questioned their commitment to his vision for total war and had the flock poisoned, stuffed and mounted outside his office as a warning to the other birds.

Bolton may strongly resemble a giant albino schnauzer, but when he looks in the mirror he sees the smoldering gaze of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson staring back at him, getting ready to flex off the body cast and go to town on baddies around the world.

Tehran. Pyongyang. Beijing. Berkeley. Who knows what’s next on Ambassador Deathpool’s hit list, but you know he has one. Nothing this man has written or said in the last two decades suggests for a moment he would hesitate to urge President Trump to cowboy up and go first strike if given the opportunity.

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And so things are about to get profoundly weird. And this is in a month where our top diplomat on Korea issues seems to be Ivanka Trump while husband Jared is going full Fredo Corleone in the desert.

In terms of China, Bolton has made it clear that he has little patience for Beijing’s feelings on a range of strategic interests including what to do with a problem like Korea or the South China Sea.

As Trump’s economic advisors push the United States into a disastrous trade war with China, it’s comforting to know there will be a certain symmetry in the Situation Room as his National Security Adviser desperately searches for the best way to involve us in a disastrous shooting war somewhere on the Asian mainland. Clearly, Bolton is not Sicilian.

I don’t believe that the Chinese Communist Party’s undeclared war on the liberal order internationally or its growing cult of general domestic dickishness is merely a reaction to the US and the West unfairly pressuring China to become more like them, but… giving John Bolton a seat in the sit room isn’t going to do much to convince China’s leaders that the United States sees them as anything other than a threat. This is going to harden positions on both sides of the Pacific. That is bad.

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For Pugsly in Pyongyang, things are about to get interesting after a couple of pretty good months which saw the DPRK win a minor soft power victory at the Pyeongchang Olympics and reports that Donald Trump is ready for a sit-down. Now Kim Jong-un has to be wondering if he should be getting ready to meet the US president and share Swedish porn star stories or begin digging that tunnel to Dandong.

The only positive development? Perhaps I can make back some of the money I lost in the dumpster fire that is my NCAA tournament bracket by betting on whether the facial-hair phobic Trump makes Bolton shave his ‘stache. Would it rob Bolton of his power like Samson? Would the mustache wait on the floor, waiting for another host to inhabit? These are things I want to know. Well, that and whether or not this bizarre and stupid decision – and that’s saying something when you’re talking about Donald Trump – to appoint Bolton as NSA means US foreign policy and the world are about to enter a period of dangerous and bellicose instability.

Jeremiah Jenne
    Jeremiah Jenne is a writer, educator, and historian based in Beijing.

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