My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It is truly appalling that someone who purports to be a public servant would maintain silence in the face of so much corruption going on in the same room, however this review is not about John Bolton, but this book he has written. Bolton's perspective comes with the assumption he is the smartest person in the room. Everyone else is a dummy, inexperienced, or otherwise lacking the ability to perceive the nature of evil in the world. That may be what he is going for, but he just comes off as a monstrous, spiteful, warmongering chickenhawk. All of his choices rely on using sticks, and he has no flexibility at all. Therefore, as a diplomat, he is a useless ass, but there is such a lack of self-awareness that you watch him patting himself on the back with "clever" tactics to avoid responsibility and accountability, dodging here and there, always aiming higher, always just a little bit short, mostly because he is entirely untrustworthy and vile, though he trumpets himself a patriot. Along the way, he takes down a whole group of diplomats who are catty to a fault. In the end I really wonder what any of them are doing in government.
That being said, some come off better than others, but the fact we perceive them through the distorted Bolton lens (where his own image is so blurred) lends them no credence. He did keep good notes, however, which would be terrible news for Trump's team, except the book is also such an overwhelming self-indictment of Bolton and his terrible judgment. Do his opinions matter at all? I don't think so. Trump, fwiw, comes off as you likely expect: a man of no morality who is fixed primarily on the public's perception of himself, without genuine beliefs, malleable to a fault, hilariously disloyal, and astonishingly unintellectual.
I hate what this book says about America, but I cannot one-star the book, despite the narrator's self-absorption. I think it is important people read it, because clearly half of America's voters are brainless too. No matter how you feel about Trump (I abhor him), I strongly feel people like Bolton should never be in government. He is a dangerous man who happily has no power anymore and, I hate to admit it, Bolton being out of government is to Trump's credit. :-( That Trump also hired him (after such a long romance when his defects would be glaring) and thought Bolton's ideas worthy at all tells us much about how empty of brains is the room where it happened.
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